TNs, U59a: Pronouns 2(Direct, Indirect, Disjunctive Objects, Quelque)

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French has three sets of personal object pronouns: direct object pronouns (from "Pronouns 1"), indirect object pronouns, and disjunctive pronouns.

English Direct Object Indirect Object Disjunctive
Example "je le vois" "je lui parle" "je vais avec eux"
me me me moi
you (sing.) te te toi
him le lui lui
her la lui elle
self soi
us nous nous nous
you (plur.) vous vous vous
them (masc.) les leur eux
them (fem.) les leur elles

You may notice that only the third-person pronouns differ between direct and indirect objects.

Please note that soi is the disjunctive pronoun with the impersonal “il, on, chacun/e, personne, and nul/le” as a subject.

  • Il faut être sûr de soi. — One must be confident in oneself.

Indirect Objects

As you learned in "Verbs: Present 2", indirect objects are nouns that are indirectly affected by a verb; they are usually introduced by a preposition.

  • Il écrit une lettre à Mireille. — He is writing a letter to Mireille.
  • Vous pouvez parler aux juges. — You can talk to the judges.
  • Elle parle de son amie. — She is talking about her friend.

A personal indirect object pronoun can replace à + indirect object. For instance, the first two examples above could be changed to the following:

  • Il lui écrit une lettre. — He is writing a letter to her.
  • Vous pouvez leur parler. — You can talk to them.

Remember that il faut alone cannot mean or translate to “he must/needs to/has to. The insertion of an indirect pronoun between il and faut* determines who must/needs to/has to perform the action.

  • Il lui faut manger. — He has to eat. / She has to eat.
  • Il nous faut le croire. — We have to believe it/him. / It is necessary for us to believe it/him.

Disjunctive Pronouns

Disjunctive pronouns (a.k.a. stressed or tonic pronouns) must be used in certain situations. For instance, only disjunctive pronouns can follow prepositions.

  • Il parle avec toi. — He speaks with you.
  • Ils sont rentrés chez eux. — They returned home.
  • C'est pour lui. — This is for him.

Note that lui can be masculine or feminine when it's an indirect object, but it can only be masculine when it's disjunctive.

  • Je lui parle. (indirect object) — I am talking to him/her.
  • Je parle de lui. (disjunctive) — I am talking about him.
  • Je parle d'elle. (disjunctive) — I am talking about her.

The construction être + à + disjunctive pronoun indicates possession.

  • Le livre est à moi. — The book is mine.
  • Celui-ci est à toi. — This one is yours.
  • Ceux-là sont à eux. — Those are theirs.

However, using à + pronoun is incorrect when a verb can accept a preceding pronoun.

  • Incorrect: Je parle à lui.
  • Correct: Je lui parle.

Disjunctive pronouns are also used for emphasis, for multiple subjects, or in sentence fragments without a verb.

  • Moi ? Je l'aime. — Me? I love him.
  • Lui et elle mangent. — He and she are eating.
  • Toi aussi. — You, too.

As mentioned before, there is also a disjunctive, impersonal pronoun you can use to represent an unidentified subject.

  • Chacun pour soi et Dieu pour tous. — Everyone for himself and God for us all.
  • On a souvent besoin d’un plus petit que soi (Jean de la Fontaine). — One often needs someone smaller than oneself.
  • Le sport améliore l’estime de soi. — Sports improve self-esteem.


The indefinite adjective quelque ("some") can be combined with pronouns or nouns to create indefinite pronouns. For instance, chose means "thing", so quelque chose means "something".

  • Nous écrivons quelque chose. — We are writing something.
  • Je veux manger quelque chose. — I want to eat something.

Quelque can combine and elide with un ("one") to give quelqu'un ("someone"), which is singular.

  • Quelqu'un est ici. — Someone is here.
  • Je connais quelqu'un au restaurant. — I know someone at the restaurant.

For multiple people or things, use the plural forms quelques-uns (masc) and quelques-unes (fem), which are normally translated as "a few", or perhaps "some".

  • Ce sont quelques-uns de nos meilleurs amis. — These are a few of our best friends.
  • Quelques-unes de ces questions sont difficiles. — Some of these questions are difficult.

While quelqu'un only refers to an indefinite person (there is no feminine quelqu’une) quelques-un(e)s can refer to anything.

Important: If you find any errors in the Tips and Notes, have questions related to the grammar points above, or would like to discuss the topic in depth, please feel free to comment below. We ask that you keep your comments on topic so that this post stays educational and everyone can benefit from them. Any spam or unrelated comments will be deleted.

For more Tips and Notes, click HERE

1 month ago

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Thank you!

not yet any contents for "y"?

1 week ago
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Quite right, the title had an error. Sorry for the mishap.

The information on "y" is here, in the "Pronouns" Tips&Notes:

There is also a reminder in the next chapter U59b "Pronouns 2":

1 week ago
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