Pronouns in French

Personal Pronouns

  • French personal pronouns (‘I’, ‘you’, ‘he’, ‘she’, etc in English) are used to replace a noun that has already been mentioned.
  • They take a different form depending on the grammatical perspective (first person for ‘I/we’, second person for ‘you’, third person ‘he/she/it/they’).
  • They also change form depending on whether they are the subject or object of the sentence.
  • Examples: Je mange (I eat), Tu es mon ami (You are my friend)

Direct Object Pronouns

  • French direct object pronouns replace the noun that is directly receiving the action of a verb.
  • These pronouns are placed before the verb they relate to.
  • They change for gender (masculine/feminine) and number (singular/plural).
  • Examples: Je t’aime (I love you), Il me voit (He sees me).

Indirect Object Pronouns

  • French indirect object pronouns replace the noun that is indirectly affected by the action of a verb. It’s usually for what in English would be the recipient of the action.
  • They are generally placed before the verb.
  • The forms change according to the number and gender of the referent.
  • Examples: Je lui parle (I speak to him/her), Ils nous donnent le livre (They give us the book).

Relative Pronouns

  • French relative pronouns (‘who’, ‘which’, ‘that’, etc. in English) link two related ideas into a single sentence, thereby avoiding repetition.
  • They change form depending on whether they are replacing a subject or object, and depending on what they are referring to (people or things).
  • Examples: l’homme qui mange (the man who eats), la voiture que j’aime (the car that I like).

Demonstrative Pronouns

  • French demonstrative pronouns (‘this’, ‘that’, etc in English) replace a specific noun that has been previously mentioned.
  • They agree in gender and number.
  • Examples: J’aime cela (I like that), Ce sont mes livres (These are my books).

Possessive Pronouns

  • French possessive pronouns (‘mine’, ‘yours’, etc. in English) replace a noun preceded by a possessive adjective.
  • They agree in number and gender with the noun they replace.
  • Examples: C’est le mien (It’s mine), Sont-elles les tiennes? (Are they yours?).