A pronoun is a word which replaces a noun. Every pronoun refers to a noun called the antecedent. In French there are a variety of types of pronouns:
- Subject pronouns
- Direct object pronouns
- Indirect object pronouns
- Reflexive pronouns
- Emphatic/Disjunctive pronouns
- Adverbial pronouns
- Demonstrative pronouns
- Indefinite pronouns
- Interrogative pronouns
- Negative pronouns
- Possessive pronouns
- Relative pronouns
This is a dizzying list but we will look at each type in some detail and break down the names!
The subject of a sentence is the noun which performs the verb. An example in English (the subject is highlighted in italics) is "The cat sat on the mat."
A subject pronoun replaces a subject, such as "It sat on the mat." In French, there are personal and impersonal subject pronouns.
The personal subject pronouns are:
- 1st person singular: je (contracting to j')
- 2nd person singular: tu
- 3rd person singular: il, elle, on
- 1st person plural: nous
- 2nd person plural: vous
- 3rd person plural: ils, elles
The impersonal subject pronouns are ce and il. We use all these pronouns in exactly the same way as in English:
- Je joue au foot chaque jour.
- Est-ce que vous irez en centre-ville demain?
- J'espère qu'il fera beau.
Using the impersonal pronouns ce and il is a complicated minefield so we won't worry about the difference here.
Direct object pronouns
The direct object of a sentence is the noun on which the verb is performed, as in "I threw the ball."
Direct objects are replaced by direct object pronouns: "I threw it." Direct objects are not normally accompanied by a preposition. The direct object pronouns are:
- 1st person singular: me (contracting to m')
- 2nd person singular: te (contracting to t')
- 3rd person singular: le, la…