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Personal pronouns (French: les pronoms personnels) in general are used to
Besides that, they have to be classified as Subject pronouns, Stressed pronouns or Object pronouns.
Below you can find a well-structured chart to get a quick overview of all the different kinds of personal pronouns in the French language.
|Person||Subject pronoun||Stressed pronoun||Object pronoun direct||Object pronoun indirect|
Subject pronouns aim to replace a subject noun. As you can see in the chart above the Subject pronouns in French are je, tu, il/elle, nous, vous and ils/elles.
Je changes to J' before a vowel or vowel sound.
Use tu for a familiar form of address and vous for a politer form of you or simply to address more people.
Use elles when you're talking about a group of females and ils when there's a group of males or mixed genders.
J'habite à Strasbourg. (I live in Strasbourg.)
Tu es mon meilleur ami. (You are my best friend.)
Vous pouvez entrer. (You may come in.)
Stressed pronouns (also known as disjunctive or empathic pronouns) are being used instead of a noun to emphasize something, especially in reference to yourself or to other people. They are expressed as moi, toi, lui/elle, vous, nous, eux/elles (me, you, him/her, us, you, them).
Stressed pronouns are placed after: c'est, ce sont (it is), negations like ce n'est pas or ce ne sont pas and prepositions like avec, pour, sans, chez. Also they can be used in a comparison.
C'est pour moi? (Is this for me?)
Il est moins grand que toi. (He is smaller than you.)
Je travaille avec Sandro. Je travaille avec lui. (I work with Sandro. I work with him.)
The direct object pronoun aims to replace a noun and is the object of a sentence. You can ask for it with the questions what? or whom? The French direct objects are me, te, le/la, nous, vous and les.
Whereas in English direct objects always come after the verb, French does it differently and provides to place them in front of the verb (except in orders, instructions and the imperative form).
Don't forget that you have to adjust the pronouns to the gender and number of the noun you're going to replace.
Also keep in mind to use the contracted form (m', t', l') in front of a vowel or a vowel sound.
Je t'aime. (I love you.)
Tu la vois ce soir. (You are seeing her this evening.)
J'aime les fleurs. Je les aime. (I like flowers. I like them.)
Indirect object pronouns (French: Compléments d'objet indirect - COI) are used to replace a noun which refers to a person. You can ask for it with the questions who to/for or to/for what.
Also you can recognize these types of pronouns easily as they're mostly followed by a verb and a preposition. French indirect objects are me, te, lui, nous, vous, leur.
The indirect object pronoun usually comes before the verb. Only in instructions and orders the pronoun has to be placed after the verb.
Il nous écrit tous les jours. (He writes us every day.)
J'écris à Sandra. Je lui écris. (I'm writing to Sandra. I'm writing her.)
Il ne veut pas me répondre. (He won't answer me.)
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