Understanding the Types of French Pronouns (Les Pronoms)

Grammaire: Les Pronoms

little boy pointing to nose
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Pronouns are words that substitute for nouns. There are many different kinds of pronouns, but they can be divided into two main categories: personal and impersonal. This summary will give you an idea of the different kinds of French pronouns; click the links for detailed lessons and examples.

What are personal pronouns? Don't take it personally - "personal" simply means that these pronouns change according to the grammatical person that they represent.

This table summarizes the five different kinds of French personal pronouns; for more information, click the column headings to go to the relevant lesson:

SubjectDirect ObjectIndirect ObjectReflexiveStressed
   je   me*   me*   me*   moi
   tu   te*   te*   te*   toi
   il
   elle
   on
   le
   la
   lui   se   lui
   elle
   soi
   nous   nous   nous   nous   nous
   vous   vous   vous   vous   vous
   ils
   elles
   les   leur   se   eux
   elles
     
*In the imperative, me and te sometimes change to moi and toi - learn more.
 

What are impersonal pronouns?

These aren't as cold as they sound—"impersonal" here simply means that, unlike personal pronouns, these pronouns do not change according to grammatical person. However, some of them change to agree in gender and number with the noun that they replace. For details, click the name to read the lesson on that type of pronoun. 

Adverbials(y, en) replace à + noun or de + noun
Demonstratives (celui, celle, ceux, celles) refer to a previously mentioned noun
Indefinite Demonstratives (ce, ceci, cela, ça) have no specific antecedent
Indefinites(autre, certain, plusieurs...) introduce an unspecific quantity or description
Interrogatives(qui, que, lequel) ask whowhat, or which one
Negatives(ne __ personne, ne __ rien...) negate the noun that they replace
Possessives(mien, tien, sien...) replace possessive adjective + noun
Relatives(qui, que, dont...) link clauses
Indefinite Relatives (ce qui, ce que, ce dont...) link clauses but are unspecific
Subjects(ce, il) introduce impersonal verbs or expressions


French Pronoun Finder

Want to learn more about a particular pronoun but don't know what type it is? Below is an alphabetical list of all the different French pronouns and includes links to the relevant lessons.

autre      indefinite
ça      indefinite demonstrative
ce     indefinite demonstrative
ceci  indefinite demonstrative
ce dont         indefinite relative
cela indefinite demonstrative
celle   demonstrative
celles  demonstrative
celuidemonstrative
ce que indefinite relative
ce qui indefinite relative
certainsindefinite
ceuxdemonstrative
chacunindefinite
d'autresindefinite
dont  relative
elle      stressed subject
ellesstressed subject
enadverbial

eux

stressed
ilsubject
ilssubject
jesubject
ladirect object
ledirect object
lequel     interrogative   relative
lesdirect object
leurindirect object
le leurpossessive
lui indirect object stressed
medirect object indirect object reflexive
le mien  possessive
moistressed
le nôtrepossessive
nous direct object indirect object reflexive stressed subject
on           indefinite subject
   relative
personnenegative
plusieursindefinite
queinterrogative relative
quelque choseindefinite
quelques-unsindefinite
quelqu'un indefinite
qui      interrogative relative
quiconque   indefinite indefinite relative
quoi     indefinite relative
rien      negative
se      reflexive
le sien      possessive
soiindefinite stressed
tedirect object indirect object reflexive
telindefinite
le tienpossessive
toistressed
toutindefinite
tusubject
unindefinite
le vôtrepossessive
vousdirect object indirect object reflexive stressed subject
yadverbial