Apprendre la langue Française (Part Dix) – french pronouns

Source: French Language Guide

Me revoilà!

Sorry for the long hiatsus.   I’ve been busy with other things, but my passion to learn French hasn’t gone with the wind, my love. I’m not even at an acceptable calibre yet, so I still ought to know a lot more.   And poor me, I’m still stuck at learning grammar.

A pronoun can replace a noun or another pronoun.

In French, pronouns are inflected to indicate their role in the sentence. Pronouns are words that substitute for nouns. French draws them in many places where English does not; as a result, there are many more pronouns in French than there are in English.

There are 5 kinds of pronouns.

Subject pronouns replaces the subject (a person or thing) of the sentence.  It is important to understand subject pronouns before conjugating verbs since the forms of verbs change for each pronoun.

il, elle, on
(you familiar)
(he, she)
ils, elles
(you people)

j’ (I) is only used when followed by a vowel or mute h.

Since all nouns are either masculine or feminine, they use the 3rd person subject pronouns which correspond to their gender. So…
il, ils ->       male he or masculine noun it; male or masculine noun they
elle, elles ->       female she or feminine noun it; female or feminine noun they

Direct object pronouns replace the direct object.   Direct object pronouns take the place of the direct object nouns.  While the direct object noun follows the verb, the pronoun is placed in front of it.

le (l’), la (l’)
(you familiar)
(you formal)
(him, her)
(you people)

Me, te, and le/la change to m, t’, and l’ in front of a vowel or mute h.

Je le mange.
I’m eating it.
Il la voit.
He sees her.
Je t’aime.
I love you.
Tu m’aimes.
You love me.

When deciding between direct and indirect objects, the general rule is that if the person or thing is preceded by a preposition, that person/thing is an indirect object. If it is not preceded by a preposition, it is a direct object.

To confuse us more, indirect object pronouns replaces indirect objects which are the people or things in a sentence to/for whom/what or the action of the verb occurs.



(you familiar)
(you formal)
(him, her)


(you people)

Je lui parle.
I’m talking to him.
Il leur achète des livres.
He buys books for them.
Je vous donne le pain.
I’m giving the bread to you.
Elle m’a écrit.
She wrote to me.

Je le lui donne.
I give it to him.

Here, the first pronoun is subject (Je), the second pronoun is direct object (le), the third one is indirect object (lui) because it is the one to which the action is occurring.

Reflexive verbs express an action that acts upon the subject, and with the reflexive verbs you will find reflexive pronouns, which are placed in front of the conjugated verb.





(yourself familiar)

(yourself formal)

(himself, herself)






Nous nous parlons.
We’re talking to each other.
Ils ne s’habillent pas.
They aren’t getting dressed.

French disjunctive pronouns (also known as stressed pronouns) are used to emphasize a noun or pronoun that refers to a person. A disjunctive pronoun is widely used (after prepositions, to emphasize nouns or pronouns, after c’est and ce sont, to answer questions).




lui, soi, elle


(you familiar)

(you formal)

(him, himself, her)


eux, elles


(you people)


To emphasize nouns or pronouns (accent tonique)

Je pense qu’il a raison.
I think he’s right.
Moi, je pense qu’il a tort.
I think he’s wrong.
Je ne sais pas, moi.
I don’t know.

After c’est and ce sont (accent tonique)

Ce sont elles qui aiment Machupicchu.
They love Machupicchu.
C’est toi qui étudies l’art.
You’re the one who’s studying art.

When a sentence has more than one subject or object…

Carlos et moi jouons au tennis.
Carlos and I are playing tennis.
Toi et lui, vous êtes très gentils.
You and he are very kind.
Je les ai vus, lui et elle.
I saw him and her.

To answer questions…

Qui va à la plage?
Who is going to the beach?
He is.

After prepositions (indirect object)…

Vas-tu manger sans moi ?
Are you going to eat without me?
Louis habite chez elle.
Louis lives at her house.
Ce livre est à toi.
This is your book.

After que in comparisons…

Elle est plus grande que toi.
She is taller than you (are).

With words like aussi, seul, and surtout…

Elle aussi veut venir.
She wants to come too.
Lui seul a travaillé hier.
He alone worked yesterday.

With –même(s) for emphasis…

Prépare-t-il le dîner lui-même ?
Is he making dinner himself?
Nous le ferons nous-mêmes.
We’ll do it ourselves.

With the negative adverb neque and conjunction nenini

Je ne connais que lui ici.
He’s the only one I know here.
Ni toi ni moi ne le comprenons.
Neither you nor I understand it.

After the preposition à to indicate possession…

Quel livre est à toi ?
Which book is yours?
Ce stylo est à moi.
This pen is mine.


One Response to Apprendre la langue Française (Part Dix) – french pronouns

  1. Pingback: Apprendre la langue Française (Part Quinze) – les pronoms subjet « coffeechat with perkyperps

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