https://www.duolingo.com/Remy

Personal pronouns in French

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"Personal pronouns" are words that replace nouns ("pronouns"), and that agree with the grammatical person they replace ("personal").

There are 5 different kinds of personal pronouns in French:

1) Subject:

  • "Je": 1st pers. sing. (ex: "Je mange." means "I eat.")
  • "Tu": 2nd pers. sing. (ex: "Tu manges." means "You eat.")
  • "Il": 3rd pers. sing. masc. (ex: "Il mange." means "He eats.")
  • "Elle": 3rd pers. sing. fem. (ex: "Elle mange." means "She eats.")
  • "On": 3rd pers. sing. neutral. (ex: "On mange." means "One eats.")
  • "Nous": 1st pers. plur. (ex: "Nous mangeons." means "We eat.")
  • "Vous": 2nd pers. plur. (ex: "Vous mangez." means "You eat."), or 2nd pers. sing. formal
  • "Ils": 3rd pers. plur. masc. (ex: "Ils mangent." means "They eat.")
  • "Elles": 3rd pers. plur. fem. (ex: "Elles mangent." means "They eat.")

2) Stressed:

  • "Moi": 1st pers. sing. (ex: "Le chien est avec moi." means "The dog is with me.")
  • "Toi": 2nd pers. sing. (ex: "Le chien est avec toi." means "The dog is with you.")
  • "Lui": 3rd pers. sing. masc. (ex: "Le chien est avec lui." means "The dog is with him.")
  • "Elle": 3rd pers. sing. fem. (ex: "Le chien est avec elle." means "The dog is with her.")
  • "Soi": 3rd pers. sing. neutral. (ex: "Chacun a un chien à soi." means "Each one has his own dog.")
  • "Nous": 1st pers. plur. (ex: "Le chien est avec nous." means "The dog is with us.")
  • "Vous": 2nd pers. plur. (ex: "Le chien est avec vous." means "The dog is with you.")
  • "Eux": 3rd pers. plur. masc. (ex: "Le chien est avec eux." means "The dog is with them.")
  • "Elles": 3rd pers. plur. fem. (ex: "Le chien est avec elles." means "The dog is with them.")

3) Reflexive:

  • "me": 1st pers. sing. (ex: "Je me couche." means "I go to bed.")
  • "te": 2nd pers. sing. (ex: "Tu te couches." means "You go to bed.")
  • "se": 3rd pers. sing. masc. and fem (ex: "Il/Elle se couche." means "He/She goes to bed.")
  • "nous": 1st pers. plur. (ex: "Nous nous couchons." means "We go to bed.")
  • "vous": 2nd pers. plur. (ex: "Vous vous couchez." means "You go to bed."), or 2nd pers. sing. formal
  • "se": 3rd pers. plur. masc. (ex: "Ils/Elles se couchent." means "They go to bed.")

Note: here, the French verb is "se coucher" (to go to bed), which is called a "reflexive verb" as it is preceded by a reflexive pronoun. ("coucher" without the pronoun means "to put to bed/to lay down").

4) Direct object:

  • "me" or "m' " (before vowel or mute "h"): 1st pers. sing. (ex: "L'enfant me voit." means "The child sees me.")
  • "te" or "t' " (before vowel or mute "h"): 2nd pers. sing. (ex: "L'enfant t'a vu." means "The child saw you.")
  • "le" or "l' " (before vowel or mutre "h"): 3rd pers. sing. masc. (ex: "L'enfant le voit." means "The child sees him/it.")
  • "la": 3rd pers. sing. fem (ex: "L'enfant la voit." means "The child sees her/it.")
  • "nous": 1st pers. plur. (ex: "L'enfant nous voit." means "The child sees us.")
  • "vous": 2nd pers. plur. (ex: "L'enfant vous voit." means "The child sees you."), or 2nd pers. sing. formal
  • "les": 3rd pers. plur. masc. (ex: "Les cadeaux, ils/elles les donnent aux enfants." means "The presents, they give them to the children.")

5) Indirect object:

  • "me": 1st pers. sing. (ex: "L'enfant me parle." means "The child talks to me.")
  • "te": 2nd pers. sing. (ex: "L'enfant te parle." means "The child talks to you.")
  • "lui": 3rd pers. sing. masc. and fem. (ex: "L'enfant lui parle." means "The child talks to him/her.")
  • "nous": 1st pers. plur. (ex: "L'enfant nous parle." means "The child talks to us.")
  • "vous": 2nd pers. plur. (ex: "L'enfant vous parle." means "The child talks to you."), or 2nd pers. sing. formal
  • "leur": 3rd pers. plur. masc. and fem. (ex: "L'enfant leur parle." means "The child talks to them.")

Note: here, the French verb is "parler à" (to talk to), which is "intrasitive" as it is followed by the preposition "à". ("parler" without the preposition means "to talk").

4 years ago

18 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Nitram.
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Merci beaucoup pour tes explications à nouveau! :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MultiLinguAlex
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Wonderful! I would like to encourage you to point out the difference between "leur" and "leurs" since it is very difficult differentiate for most foreign speakers.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Remy
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Thanks!

"leur" can have 3 different meanings in French:

1) Personal pronoun (see explanation above).

  • ex: "L'enfant leur parle." means "The child talks to them."

2) Determiner (more precisely: Possessive adjective)

  • ex: "C'est leur chien." means "It is their dog."

3) "leur" can also be part of a possessive pronoun: "le leur" (masc. sing.), "la leur" (fem. sing.), "les leurs" ('masc. and fem. plur.)

  • ex: "Ce chien est le chien de mes voisins. C'est le leur." means "This dog is my neighbors'. It is theirs."
  • ex: "Cette tortue est la tortue de mes voisins. C'est la leur." means "This turtle is my neighbors'. It is theirs."
  • ex: "Ces chiens sont les chiens de mes voisins. Ce sont les leurs." means "These dogs are my neighbors'. They are theirs."
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII
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Great! I've added this conversation to our compendium list here. Merci Rémy !

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Remy
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Hi, the link does not work, can you please check if it works for you?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII
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Oops! There, I fixed it. Thank you for pointing it out!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jolynnedougherty
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Remy, thank you for putting this all together in one place and for making it so clear. It would be lovely to get things like this all in one place on the site as a reference.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Seroxus

It already was in Vocab, but they took it down.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kjusa
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thank you

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AllergicToShrimp

I think you made a mistake, "On mange" means "We eat", not "One eats"! For example, "On mange du chocolat" and "Nous mangeons du chocolat" mean the same thing. "One eats" and "We eat" do not mean the same thing. If I am making a mistake, please explain me why!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII
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No, Rémy is right here. People use on to mean nous when speaking, but the actual meaning is impersonal, just like "one" in English, where the actual person doing the action is unknown and has no importance.

Don't worry though, even some natives have difficulty explaining the real meaning of on. I often hear (native) people say "'on' exclue la personne qui parle", which is even more confusing because it's not true. In fact, since we don't know (and we don't care) who on represents, it might as well be the one speaking.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/englishivy

Remy did not make a mistake. Here's more information on "On": http://french.about.com/od/grammar/ss/subjectpronouns_5.htm

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FrenchAddict7

Merci pour cette information!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/adri.vg.

very good information.......... now i understand jejjejejej thank youuuuu......

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98
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Nice! I've never heard about "soi" before

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GundaWright

very clear and easy to follow

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LeeShipley

Thanks, I am preserving your advice as a Google Keep note so that I can refer to it in future. Have a Lingot!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lotix777
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wow really a good stuff thanks a lot! following u :)

4 years ago
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