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Use of son/sa

how would a native french speaker tell a story involving various different people? having spoken russian my whole life, i haven't fully gotten used to the fact that the gender of "his/her" changes based on the gender of the item /owned/ by him or her, which leads to the question: how would you mention two things that belong to two different people in one sentence, specifically if the two people are of different gender? for example, how would one say a sentence like "It's a debate between her father and his mother"? "C'est un débat entre son père et sa mère"? how would you differentiate who is whose mother or father, or that the storyteller is even speaking about the parents of two different people?

March 30, 2018



I would add something like "à lui " "à elle " , it's not always very beautiful in a sentence but it's the best way to understand the difference.

"c'est un débat entre son père à elle et sa mère à lui"

Or we would repeat the persons we're talking about :

"c'est un débat entre le père de Sofia et la mère d'Adam "


I have a similar question, based on a small, silly story I have transcribed from a YouTube video (by LinksTheSun). There are so many pronouns involved that I am losing the thread. Specifically, in the second sentence, I assume that "lui-même" refers to the boy's friend, but who does "dont" refer to, the girl or her sister? [Other questions: Have I spelled/punctuated this properly? Shouldn't "amoureux" be feminine? What is the word "donc" (if that's what it is) doing there– is it just a filler word? Do you think the girl has one sister or two?]

C’est une jeune fille qui débarque dans un nouveau collège et qui rencontre un garçon dont elle tombe follement amoureux. Elle ne le dit pas, mais son meilleur ami (à lui) dit à la soeur de l’héroïne, dont lui-même est amoureux, qu’il l’aime en secret. Mais l’héroïne refuse de s’avouer ses sentiments car sa voisine de classe de maths lui a suggéré que l’ex de ce garçon, qui s’avère d’ailleurs être l’ancienne voisine du meilleur ami, donc, de la grande soeur de l’héroïne à l’époque où elle n’était pas encore avec le prof de sport du collège, en avait dit du mal. Heureusement, il finit par lui offrir un chocolat et, comme c’est sa boisson préférée, elle avoue ses sentiments.


rarrrrrrr this is a very complicated story !!! ;)))

  • "lui-même" is the best friend of the boy

  • "dont" is about the sister not the "heroine"

  • "elle tombe follement amoureux" ...weird... I would have said "amoureuse"

  • "donc" = "meaning : " ; it's to explain the previous sentence with an other sentence ( ! )

  • your last question...well I don't want to read the text again and have a brain damage ! ;))


The person that one would be focusing on would have to be specified beforehand, and then one would use "Propre," meaning "own". So let's say that the debate was focused on the female speaker, so one would say " C'est un débat entre son propre père et sa mère. " One would literally be saying "It's a debate between her own mother and his father." It's a bit confusing, and this isn't the best explanation, but I hope that it helps even a bit!


this actually helps a lot; thank you so much! i was just struggling to conceptualize how someone could even begin to tell a proper story, this helps me a lot


Glad I could help!

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