Apprendre la Langue Française (Part 66): les pronoms tonique


Source: french.about.com

Stressed pronouns, also known as disjunctive pronouns, are used to emphasize a noun or pronoun that refers to a person.

French stressed pronouns correspond in some ways to their English counterparts, but are very different in other ways. Note that the English translations sometimes require different sentence structures altogether.

Stressed pronouns are used in the following ways in French:

1. 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.

2. After c’est and ce sont (accent tonique)

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

3. When a sentence has more than one subject or object

Michel et moi jouons au tennis. Michael 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.

4. To ask and answer questions

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

J’ai faim, et toi? I’m hungry, and you?

5. After prepositions

Vas-tu manger sans moi? Are you going to eat without me?
Louis habite chez elle. Louis lives at her house.

6. After que in comparisons

Elle est plus grande que toi. She is taller than you (are).
Il travaille plus que moi. He works more than I (do).

7. With emphatic words like aussi, seul, and surtout

Lui seul a travaillé hier. He alone worked yesterday.
Eux aussi veulent venir. They want to come too.

8. 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.

9. With the negative adverb ne…que and conjunction ne…ni…ni

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.

10. After the preposition à to indicate possession

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

11. With certain verbs that don’t allow a preceding indirect object pronoun

Je pense à toi. I’m thinking of you.
Fais attention à eux. Pay attention to them.

Soi is used for unspecified persons.

Soi is one of the most often misused French pronouns. It’s the third person indefinite stressed pronoun, which means that it is used only for unspecified persons; i.e., with an indefinite pronoun or impersonal verb. Soi is equivalent to “one” or “oneself,” but in English we usually say “everyone” instead.

On va chez soi. Everyone is going (to his or her respective) home.
Chacun pour soi. Every man for himself.
Il faut avoir confiance en soi. One should have confidence in onself (in him/herself).
Tout le monde doit le faire soi-même. Everyone has to do it him/herself.

Some get confused between soi-même and lui-même. If you remember that soi can only be used for unspecified persons, you should be okay.

Il va le faire lui-même. He’s going to do it himself.
On va le faire soi-même. Everyone is going to do it him/herself.

English French
me moi
you toi
him lui
her elle
oneself soi
us nous
you vous
them (masc) eux
them (fem) elles
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