French Subject Pronouns
Personal pronouns have different forms to match the different grammatical persons they replace. There are five different kinds of French personal pronouns, in this module we will focus on Subject pronouns.
- Serve as the subject of verbs.
- May be singular or plural, masculine or feminine to agree with the noun (subject) they replace.
A pronoun takes the place of and functions as a noun. This means that a pronoun replaces who or what is being talked about in a sentence. A personal subject pronoun specifically replaces the subject of the sentence. The pronoun will agree in gender and number with the person or the group of people that it replaces.
Alexa plays the violin.
She plays the violin.
Eddie and Blake go for a walk.
They go for a walk.
She and They are the two subject pronouns. Alexa is replaced with “she” because the sentence is referring to one singular female. Eddie and Blake are replaced with “they” because the sentence is referring to more than one person.
In French, there are nine different personal subject pronouns.
|Le pronom sujet||The Subject Pronoun||Label|
|Je||I||first person singular|
|Tu||You||second person singular (informal)|
|Il||He, It||third person singular (masculine)|
|Elle||She, It||third person singular (feminine)|
|On||One||third person singular (neutral)|
|Nous||We||first person plural|
|Vous||You||second person plural (or formal singular)|
|Ils||They|| third person plural|
|Elles||They||third person plural (feminine)|
Tu vs. Vous
Both of these subject pronouns mean “You.” Vous is most commonly used because it is what one uses to be polite. This would include talking to a stranger or a superior (i.e. a person of higher status or older age). You use Tu when you are talking to a close friend or someone in your family.
The personal subject pronoun On has several different meanings . On can translate to the singular and gender neutral pronoun “One” or can mean “We” and refer to a group of people (but still being classified as a singular pronoun).
On aime la plage en ete.
One likes the beach in the summer.
On aime la plage en ete.
We like the beach in the summer.
Just like the singular versions (Il/Elle) Ils and Elles correspond in gender and number with who or what they’re referring to. Ils can refer to a group of all males or a mix between males and females as well as a group of masculine/gender mix of nouns. Elles can only refer to a group of females or a group of female nouns.
Lesson Provided by: Abbey Phillian
Meet one or more times weekly with a dedicated French instructor online at a pace and schedule that custom fits your busy life.
Join an Academy course for course content built on top of leading French curriculum: includes videos, vocabulary, quizzes and certificate.
Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
The CEFR is an international standard used to describe language ability. Here are specific details of the CEFR for this topic.