- 1.What is a pronoun ?
- 2.Personal pronouns
- 2.1.Subject pronouns
- 2.2.Object pronouns
- 3.Possessive pronouns
- 4.Relative pronouns
- 5.Demonstrative pronouns
- 6.Indefinite pronouns
- 7.Interrogative pronouns
- 8.Reflexive pronouns
- 9.Adverbial pronouns
What is a pronoun ?
Pronouns (French: les pronoms) are words which you can use to replace a noun or a noun phrase. They are commonly used to avoid naming someone or something directly. Also, they save you from repeating nouns constantly.
In general you have to distinguish between 8 different types of pronouns in the French language.
- Personal pronouns
- Possessive pronouns
- Reflexive pronouns
- Demonstrative pronouns
- Relative pronouns
- Indefinite pronouns
- Interrogative pronouns
- Adverbial pronouns
The personal pronoun (French: le pronom personel) is one of the most important pronouns when it comes to learning the French language. You can use it to talk about yourself, but also to talk about others or to refer to objects or animals.
Similar to the English language they can be either subjective or objective.
They are the equivalent of the English personal pronouns:
- je (I)
- tu (you)
- il (he)
- elle (she)
- on (we familiar)
- nous (we)
- vous (you)
- ils (they: males)
- elles (they: females)
|il est souvent en retard||(He is always late)|
|Nous pensions que vous devrez faire la paix||(We think you should make peace)|
Those pronouns are used to replace the subject in a COI sentence:
|Marie m'a donné le stylo||(Marie gave me the pen)|
|Théo lui a acheté des bonbons||(Theo bought him candies)|
Le mien, le tien, le sien are examples of possessive pronouns (French: le pronom possessif). They indicate possessions and demonstrate that one thing belongs to another.
|Ma passion, c’est la musique. Et la tienne Marie ?||(Music is my passion. What’s yours, Marie ?)|
|Tes parents sont américains ? Les miens sont français.||(Your parents are americans ? Mine are French.)|
- ce dont / ce que / ce qui
|L’homme qui parle français, est mon copain.||(The man who is speaking is my friend.)|
|Les amis que je vois le plus sont Anna et Nicole||(The friends that I see the most are Anna and Nicole)|
|C'est la maison où habite ma grand-mère||(This is the house where my grand mother lives)|
|Tu te souviens de l'histoire dont tu m'as parlé ?||(Do you remember the story you told me about ?)|
You can use demonstrative pronouns (French: le pronom démonstratif) to emphasize or highlight certain people and things. Also, they can refer to something nearby or far away.
Demonstrative pronouns are
- ceux, celles
- ceci, ca, cela, ce
- celui, celui-ci, celui-là
- celle, celle-ci, celle-là
|Je veux parler de celles que tu m'as donné||(I am talking about the ones you gave me)||refer to dresses|
|Ceci est une preuve suffisante pour te renvoyer||(This is a sufficient evidence to expel you)||refer to an evidence|
|Celui-là, je le mangerai après||(I will eat this one after)||refer to this cake|
|Celle de ton père est toujours en panne||(Your father's is still broken down)||refer to his car|
Indefinite pronouns (French: le pronom indéfini) are used to speak about something unspecified or unidentified. They also aim to describe people or things in a general way.
Some of the indefinite pronouns are for example tout, personne, rien, chaque, chacun and quelque chose.
|Tout le monde s'est amusé.||(Everyone had fun.)|
|Je n’ai vu personne.||(I didn’t see anyone).|
The interrogative pronouns (French: les pronoms interrogatifs) are pronouns like qui, que, quoi, lequel and quel which are being used to introduce a question.
They aim to replace a noun that we’re asking about.
|Que cherches-tu ?||(What are you looking for?)|
|Qu’est-ce qui se passe ?||(What’s happening ?)|
Reflexive pronouns (French: le pronom réfléchi) such as me, te, se, nous, vous, se are being used exclusively with pronominal verbs.
They are always placed in front of the reflexive verb.
|Je me prépare||(I prepare myself.)|
|Michel se lave les mains.||(Michel washes his hands.)|
In the French language we have two different kinds of adverbial pronouns: en and y.
Like adverbs they aim to replace words in a phrase which are used to imply quantities, qualities, properties and relations.
|Je n’en sais rien||(I’m leaving)|
|J’y vais||(I don’t know anything about that.)|
Check our subpages to learn more about these types of pronouns !
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