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Les pronoms personnels sujets

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

Some rules for the plural subject pronouns


“Je” is the only subject pronoun that must be shortened to “j’” in front of a vowel or an “h.” The other subject pronouns can’t be shortened.



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


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)

For example:
On parle français en France → They speak French in France.

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

For example:
On sort ce soir → We are going out tonight.
Nous sortons ce soir → We are going out tonight.


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

The plural subject pronouns
Nous We
Vous You
Ils They (masculine plural)
Elles They (feminine plural)


When the plural subject pronouns are followed by a verb starting with a vowel or an “h,” you must use the “z” link.

Some rules for the plural subject pronouns

“Ils” and “elles”

They have the same pronunciation as “il,” and “elle.” “Ils” is also used to refer to a mixed group (male and female) as masculine is stronger than feminine in French.



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


The gender-neutral subject pronouns (non-binary)

In French, the most common gender-neutral (non-binary) subject pronoun seems to be “iel”. It means “they”. It is a contraction between the subject pronouns “il” and “elle.” In the plural form it becomes “iels.” However, it can also be spelled “yel” or “ielle.” In French, many other neutral personal subjects exist like “ul,” “ol,” “ael,” “ele” … The person usually chooses the one they want to be referred as.

For example:
Je vais au restaurant avec iel →
I am going to the restaurant with they.


When to use the subject pronouns

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

For example:
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, even if you repeat the same pronoun.

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

More in the books

Werther you are learning by yourself, with Anais and Co or if you are a FLE teacher find this lesson and many more in a beautiful book.

Discover the books


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