Today we’re going to talk about French subject pronouns! I provide both and explanation video as well as the answers to two quizzes from the video.
A subject pronoun is just a fancy way of saying a noun which replaces the subject of the sentence. The traditional French subject pronouns are as follows:
Je = I (1st person singular)
Tu = You (2nd person singular & for informal contexts)
Il = He (3rd person singular, masculine)
Elle = She (3rd person singular, feminine)
On = We or One (e.g. One should not wish harm upon others)
Nous = We (1st person plural)
Vous = You (2nd person plural & for formal contexts)
Ils = They (3rd person plural, all masculine nouns or masculine + feminine)
Elles = They (3rd person plural, feminine ONLY)
So a quick example sentence would be:
Je suis sympa.
I am nice.
Il est sympa.
He is nice
Here are the answers to the quiz presented in the video:
1. When you are talking about yourself (aka ME or I) you want to use “je”.
2. Tu is the informal “you,” and you would talk to your mother informally.
3. Il denotes “he”, that’s the definition of the word.
4. Nous refers to the speaker and at least one other person. Hence, “you & your sister” would use the subject pronoun “we” when talking.
5. Vous can technically refer to “Vanessa & Marie” if you speak to them directly. However for the purpose of this quiz, it must align to “a customer” that you’re showing respect to because elles is a plural subject pronoun and a customer is a singular subject pronoun.
6. Through process of elimination, elles refers to the group of two girls, Vanessa & Marie. Remember that if the group was Vanessa, Marie & Marc (a guy) then you would use ils.
1. Even though you may talk to your friends informally, since you are talking to more than one person, you must use vous.
2. This is a formal situation: vous, is your best bet.
3. Typically you show respect for a teacher, unless you actually befriend them then vous is the better option.
4. You speak to individual family members informally: tu.
5. To remain professional during business interactions, you should use vous.
6. You want to lack respect in this situation so opt for tu, however keep in mind that if you’re cursing out more than one person you’ll need to use vous.
If you need more help with when to use tu versus vous, I have a full article on that matter.