French Indefinite Pronouns: Pronoms indéfinis

Introduction to French Indefinite Pronouns

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French indefinite pronouns, sometimes called affirmative indefinite pronouns, are unspecific and are used in place of nouns. They can be the subject of a sentence, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition.

   Tout le monde est ici.
   Everyone is here.

   Il a acheté quelque chose.
   He bought something.

   J'ai un cadeau pour quelqu'un.
   I have a gift for someone.

Please see the list of French indefinite pronouns at the bottom of the page. The numbers in the final column refer to these notes:

1) Some French indefinite pronouns must always have an antecedent.

   J'ai perdu mon stylo, donc j'ai dû acheter un autre.
   I lost my pen, so I had to buy another one.

   Tu vois les chocolats ? Oui, je veux goûter chacun.
   Do you see the chocolates? Yes, I want to taste each one.

2) These pronouns express a quantity. Therefore, when they are the object of the verb and the noun is dropped, they must be preceded by the pronoun en.

   J'ai vu plusieurs films => J'en ai vu plusieurs.
   I saw several films => I saw several of them.

   Tu as les valises ? J'en ai quelques-unes.
   Do you have the suitcases? I have some of them.

3) These pronouns can be modified with d'entre + eux, elles, nous, or vous, or with de + a noun; either way, they still take the third person conjugation (learn more).

   Quelques-uns d'entre vous sont prêts.
   Some of you are ready.

   Plusieurs de vos étudiants sont ici.
   Several of your students are here.

4) These pronouns always take the third person singular form of the verb.

   Tout va bien?
   Is everything ok?

   Chacun d'entre vous doit venir.
   Each (one) of you has to come.

5) On is the indefinite subject pronoun.

   À quelle heure va-t-on partir?
   What time are we leaving?

   On ne sait jamais.
   You never know.

6) When followed by a modifier (like an adjective), the preposition de must be used between the pronoun and the modifier.

   J'ai quelque chose d'intéressant à vous dire.
   I have something interesting to tell you.

   Il y a quelqu'un de bizarre dans votre bureau.
   There is someone strange in your office.

7) Soi is the indefinite stressed pronoun.

   Il est bon de rester chez soi de temps en temps.
   It's good to stay at home once in a while.

   Il faut avoir confiance en soi.
   One must / It's necessary to have faith in oneself.

Try this test on French indefinite pronouns.

French Indefinite Pronouns

un(e) autre another one 1, 2
d'autres others 1, 2
certain(e)s certain ones 1, 2
chacun(e) each one 1, 3, 4
on one 5
plusieurs several 1, 2, 3
quelque chose something 4, 6
quelqu'un someone 4, 6
quelques-uns some, a few 1, 2, 3
quiconque anyone 4
soi oneself 7
tel one, someone
tout everything 4
tout le monde everyone 4
un, l'un one 3
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Team, ThoughtCo. "French Indefinite Pronouns: Pronoms indéfinis." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). French Indefinite Pronouns: Pronoms indéfinis. Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "French Indefinite Pronouns: Pronoms indéfinis." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 29, 2023).