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Les pronoms personnel sujets

This video is part of our course beginners 3

What are they?

They are pronouns such as “I” or “you,” used instead of a noun as the subject of a sentence.

The singular subject pronouns

French English
Je I
Tu You
Il He or it
Elle She or it
On One or you or they or people

“Tu” is also used to address someone informally, and “il” is also the impersonal subject for the weather and the time.

“Je” becomes “j’” in front of a vowel or an “h.” The other subject pronouns can’t be shortened.

The pronoun “on”

This pronoun is an indefinite pronoun, and it doesn’t have a gender. It is used for two different things.

When the subject is generalised, unclear or unimportant (indefinite pronoun)

On parle français en France They speak French in France.

In an informal situation, to replace “nous” in spoken language (subject pronoun)

On sort ce soir We are going out tonight.

Nous sortons ce soir We are going out tonight.

The ending of “on” is more regular than the one for “nous” for the irregular verbs, so sometimes it is easier to use “on” rather than “nous” in informal situations. “on” has the same ending as “il,” and “elle.”

The plural subject pronouns

French English
Nous We
Vous You
Ils They (masculine plural)
Elles They (feminine plural)

“Ils,” and “elles” have the same pronunciation as “il,” and “elle.”

“Vous” is used to address someone formally. It is also the plural of “tu” for informal.

“Ils” is also used to refer to a mixed group (male and female) as masculine is stronger than feminine in French.

When to use them

At the beginning of a sentence or in front of a conjugated verb.

Elle lit She reads

Aujourd’hui, elle lit le journal Today, she reads the newspaper.

When “et” is followed by a conjugated verb, in French, the conjugated verb must be preceded by a subject pronoun.

Elle lit des livres et elle joue au foot She reads books and (she) plays football.

When “nous,” “vous,” “ils, or “elles” are followed by a verb starting with a vowel or an “h,” you must use the “z” link.

Vous êtes Vous (z)êtes.

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