Understanding the Types of French Pronouns (Les Pronoms)

Grammaire: Les Pronoms

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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:

Subject Direct Object Indirect Object Reflexive Stressed
je me* me* me* moi
tu te* te* te* toi
lui se lui
nous nous nous nous nous
vous vous vous vous vous
les leur se eux

*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 who, what, 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.

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Team, ThoughtCo. "Understanding the Types of French Pronouns (Les Pronoms)." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/french-pronouns-1368927. Team, ThoughtCo. (2023, April 5). Understanding the Types of French Pronouns (Les Pronoms). Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/french-pronouns-1368927 Team, ThoughtCo. "Understanding the Types of French Pronouns (Les Pronoms)." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/french-pronouns-1368927 (accessed June 7, 2023).