French tips: The impersonals pronouns & the personal pronouns

Are you wondering things such: How to translate "it"? When can I use "il"?

First, let's see the French pronouns.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WARNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS IS ONLY A DRAFT, I'll improve it the next days. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • Je = I

  • (Reminder: "Je" is shorten in " J' " when the verb begins with a vowel, or a non-aspirated "h", ex: J'aime - I love/like. J'écris - I write. Je joue - I play. Je hais -aspired "h", I hate,. J'habite - non-aspirated "h", I live.)

  • The possessive is (mon/ma/mes) for "je" has to agree with the gender and the number of the noun.

-Ma voiture (féminin, singulier), my car. -Mon ordinateur (masculin, singulier), my computer. -Mes voitures (féminin, plural), my cars. -Mes ordinateurs (masculin, plural), my computers.

  • In English, the only way to know it's a plural, it's to look at the "s", in French, you can look at the "mes" form, it's always a plural, it's very useful, because "voiture" (singulier) and "voitures" (pluriel) are pronounced the same, since the "s" of the the plural is always mute in French.

  • You notice than both, "mon" and "ma" have the same plural: "mes", so "mes" can be either masculine, or feminine, it depends on the noun it preceeds.

  • An importante exception: Because of the euphonic rule, you have to use "mon" before a noun that begins with a vowel (or a non-aspirated "h"), even if it's a feminine noun!!!

Mon âme = my soul, (feminine, singular), but "ma âme" can't be said, so we use a weird "mon" that is masculine, it's an exception...

  • The object form for "I" is "moi". (= me)

  • In French, to say "It's me", you say "C'est moi", It's = C'est.

  • In French, to say "She and I" you say "Elle et moi" -Here, you use the object form in this case in French , where English would use the personal pronoun.

  • The reflexive form myself=moi-même (litterally "me self/me same") Note: you have to use another pronoun (personal pronoun complement) with "myself", you say: I hate myself = Je ME déteste MOI-MÊME.

The French "me" (personal pronoun complement) is also used with the reflexive vebs. The reflexive verbs are the verbs with an action directed toward yourself, or the person who make the action. Example: Se laver = to wash. I wash myself = Je me lave. (you don't need "moi-même" here.)

So, we have 4 forms. In English: I ; My ; Me and Myself. In French: Je (J') ; Ma/Mon/Mes ; Me/Moi ,Moi-même.


"Tu" is a "you" adressed to only a person, informal. (opposed to "vous")

  • Tu = You You read = Tu lis.

  • Te (contracted form " t' "): You hate yourself = Tu te détestes.

  • Ton/Ta/Tes = your, same thing than "mes", see above.

  • Toi-même = yourself.


  • "Il" (It's I+L) is the masculine singular, in English, it's "he".

  • "Elle" is the femine singular, in English, it's "she".

  • Both "il" and "elle" have the same conjugation.

  • The possessive pronouns are the same for "il" and "Elle". "son"/"sa"/"ses" = his/her.

  • If you really want to be precise, to know if it belongs to a feminine owner, or a masculine owner, you can add "à lui"/"à elle". Ex: Normal form: C'est son chien! (can means "it's her dog" or "it's his dog") "detailed" form: C'est son chien à lui (It's his dog)/ C'est son chien à elle (It's her dog)

  • The object form are "Lui" and "Elle" "Lui" for the masculine (him) "Elle" for the feminine (her), (yes! It's the same form than the subject pronoun, but it's not the same grammar role here!) [I will add the precise rules about "lui" later]

  • The reflexive form are "Lui-même" and "Elle-même".

  • The complement is "se". Il se lave. Elle se lave. -He washes, She washes.


  • We= Nous. Nous sommes heureux = We are happy.

  • "Nous" is always plural. It represents several persons, as the English "we".

  • "Nous" can be feminine (a group of females is speaking), masculine (a group of males is speaking), for mixed groups (males + females), it's considered as masculine.

  • The object form is also "nous". = us. Tu viens avec nous = You come with us.

  • The complement form is also "nous". Nous nous lavons = We wash.

  • The reflexive form is "nous-mêmes" = ourselves.


"Vous" is used in several cases. If you're an English speaker, be very attentive about this section.


  • The unformal "vous"is always plural ! You talk to a group of persons, you use the unformal form, you'll use "vous". It's "you" in English, addressed to a group, for instance, I talk to my children, I say "vous", it's the plural of "tu".


2 possibilities:

  • You talk to only one person, but you are formal, you use "vous". In English, you don't have this formal form.

  • You talk to several persons, and you talk to them formally, you use "vous". It's the plural of the formal singular "vous", the form is the same (unlike Spanish, where 2 different forms exist)

REMARKS - As "nous", the gender of "nous" depends on the group (females, males, mixed...)

  • The number of "nous" depends on the fact you talk to only a person (formal singular "vous") or you talk to several persons (formal or unformal plural "vous)


The "on" pronoun is really weird, pass it if you're a beginner and want only general r

April 12, 2014


On, I think, is pretty easy.

It works similar to Ils and Elles. In translation to English it can be like the word "they" but is used more like the rarely-used "one".

EG: One would never put spinach dip on chocolate cake. / On n'aurait jamais mis trempette aux épinards sur le gâteau au chocolat. Internet trolls suck; one should never read the comments. / Trolls d'Internet puent; on ne devrait jamais lire les commentaries. One hears all kinds of conflicting stories. / On entend toutes sortes d'histoires contradictoires. One might think you'd understand the concept by now. / On pourrait penser que vous comprenez le concept de maintenant.

April 12, 2014

I've always learned it's used like "we"

April 13, 2014

Thanks for this good work and for sharing it!!

April 13, 2014

Thanks, it's unfinished, I will try to make it more complete.

April 13, 2014

Merci. This is really helpful.

April 12, 2014

Merci beaucoup C'est très gentil de nous aider

April 12, 2014

C'est très gentil pour nous aider. :)

April 13, 2014

C'est très gentil DE nous aider. ;-) Ou: C'est très gentil de faire ça POUR nous aider.

April 13, 2014

Merci, C'est corrigé maintenant

April 13, 2014

Great post! Merci beaucoup, for sharing!

April 12, 2014

Thanks. Come back in one or two days, I think I can finish it.

April 12, 2014

"On" can have several different meanings. It can mean "we", it can mean "you", it can mean "they", it can mean "one", it can mean "people in general". I know a lot of French people who use "on" and "nous" interchangeably (much like "a gente" in Portuguese). Personally, I don't use "on" unless it's really obvious that I'm not referring to any specific person or people. For example, "they speak French in France" = "on parle français en France". "You never know" = "On ne sait jamais".

April 13, 2014

Also, if you know any German, "on" = "man"

April 13, 2014

Or Spanish; Se, and Italian; Si

April 13, 2014

This is what duo should have, it is extensive study of the language but DL has almost unlimited potential in this field

April 14, 2014

Merci ! I really like helpful posts like these !

April 14, 2014

I'm only grade 4 and close to finishing a tree. Some is confusing and i really think i should learn both French........France, Quebec.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

April 14, 2014

Congrats for your tree and progress! What's confusing for you? In France and Québec, it's the same French, only some words are different, and the accent, but the language is the same.

April 15, 2014
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