1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. What is the difference betwee…


What is the difference between elles and Ils when saying "They" in French?

Salut, does anyone know when to use "Elles" and when to use "Ils" when saying "they" in French? I just need some help!

Merci beaucoup,


May 20, 2020



French has "grammatical gender" (feminine and masculine).

elles = they (when referring to females, or when referring to "feminine grammatical gender" nouns)

ils = they (when referring to males, or to a group of males and females, or when referring to "masculine grammatical gender" nouns)


Thank you! I know French is masculine/feminine, I just didn't realize that it would apply to "they" too! This was super helpful, thank you so much!


my pleasure, de rien


The Tips will tell you that elles is used for feminine gender. Please read them before starting an exercise; without that you will stay in trouble.


Maybe I missed them, but I'll be sure to keep a look out!


I think it depends on the gender. Elles is feminine and Ils is masculine .(at least I think so. Ella in Spanish is feminine and they seem the same) I hope I'm right and I hope this helps. :)


Super helpful! You're right, Spanish and French are very similar! :)


Ils is used for men, masculine nouns and groups of both sexes. elles is used only for women and feminine nouns. you really only know it once you've studied it long enough and memorized it..i'm sure if you googled. you could probably find a wide range of ways to remember which ones are which. I'm native in both french and english, and even i mix them up sometimes.


Thank you! I'm glad I'm not the only one :)


You are a native french speaker and you mix elles and ils ?


Take note: Even though "elles" and "ils" both refer to groups, if even one male is in a group where all the rest afe females, the term changes to be masculine


Thank you! I didn't know that.


It basically depends on the gender of whom you're referring to.

"Ils", meaning they, refers to male or male grammatical nouns. On the other hand, "Elles", meaning they, are used to refer to female or feminine grammatical nouns.



Merci beaucoup!

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.