French indefinite pronouns - tout, chacun
Indefinite pronouns (French: les pronoms indéfinis) are used to refer to people or things in a general way but without saying exactly who or what they are in particular. This group of pronouns can be compared to the English forms someone or something.
In French we can differ between:
- Indefinite adjectives which are placed in front of a noun.
- Indefinite pronouns which stand alone and therfore do not accompany a noun.
- 1.The indefinite pronoun - chacun/chacune
- 2.The indefinite pronoun - personne
- 3.The indefinite pronoun - quelque chose
- 4.The indefinite pronoun - quelqu'un
- 5.The indefinite pronoun - rien
- 6.The indefinite pronouns - tout, toute, tous, toutes
The indefinite pronoun - chacun/chacune
The masculine form chacun and the feminine form chacune can be translated into English with each one or everyone.
- Chacun à son goût. (Each to his own taste.)
- Chacun des garçons apportera un cadeau. (Each one of the boys will bring a gift.)
The indefinite pronoun - personne
The indefinite pronoun personne can be used for expressing the English words nobody/no one or anybody/anyone. You can also use personne on its own to answer a question.
Please note that if the sentence contains a verb you have to use ne with it.
- Il n'y a personne à la maison. (There's no one home.)
- Oui sait la réponse? Personne. (Who knows the answer? No one.)
The indefinite pronoun - quelque chose
The indefinite pronoun quelque chose can be used for expressing the English words something or anything.
- J'ai quelque chose pour toi. (I got something for you.)
- Voulez-vous quelque chose? (Do you want something?)
The indefinite pronoun - quelqu'un
The indefinite pronoun quelqu'un can be used for expressing the English words somebody or someone. It doesn't have a feminine form.
- Quelqu'un frappe á la porte. (Someone is knocking at the door.)
- Il y a quelqu'un à la porte. (There's someone at the door.)
The indefinite pronoun - rien
The indefinite pronoun rien can be used for expressing the English words nothing or anything. You can also use rien on its own to answer a question.
- Qu'est-ce tu as acheté? Rien. (What did you buy? Nothing.)
- Je ne vois rien. (I don't see anything.)
The indefinite pronouns - tout, toute, tous, toutes
The indefinite pronouns tout, toute, tous (masculine plural) or toutes (feminine plural) can be used for expressing the English words all or everything.
Please note that de is never used with tout, although we use to say all of them or all in English. Also mind that the pronoun tout precedes the past participle in compound tenses.
- Tout es bien ici. (Everything is fine here.)
- Je les connais tous. (I know them all.)
You can use quelque chose de/rien de and quelqu'un de/personne de with adjectives if you want to say nothing interesting, something new and so on.
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