French Grammar: Disjunctive Pronouns

French Grammar: Disjunctive Pronouns

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French Grammar: Disjunctive Pronouns
la grammaire française: les pronoms disjoints

Disjunctive pronouns (les pronoms disjoints) – also known as stressed pronouns or emphatic pronouns – are used to refer to people whose names have already been mentioned or whose identity is obvious from context. They are used in several different types of situations, most often to add emphasis to nouns or pronouns.

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Disjunctive pronouns (les pronoms disjoints) – also known as stressed pronouns or emphatic pronouns – are used to refer to people whose names have already been mentioned or whose identity is obvious from context. They are used in several different types of situations, most often to add emphasis to nouns or pronouns.

There are nine (9) disjunctive pronouns in French:

(je )  MOI : me

(tu)  TOI : you (informal)

(il)  LUI : him

(elle)  ELLE : her

(on)  SOI : oneself

(nous)  NOUS : us

(vous)  VOUS : you (singular formal, or plural formal and informal)

(ils)  EUX : them (masculine)

(elles)  ELLES : them (feminine)

Disjunctive pronouns are used in the following situations:

1. To ask or answer questions when no verb is used.

J’ai soif, et toi?
I’m thirsty, and you?

Qui va au supermarché?  Moi.
Who is going to the supermarket?  Me. (I am.)

2. To add emphasis to a noun or another pronoun. (In English, we tend to add this emphasis by using voice inflection when saying the noun or pronoun.)

Pierre, lui, n’est pas encore arrivé.
Pierre has not arrived yet.

Je la connais, elle.
I recognize her.

3. After c’est or ce sont. (Note that either c’est or ce sont may be used before eux or elles; however, c’est is more commonly used.)

C’est vous qui habitez ici?
You (formal) live here?

C’est eux qui jouent au foot. / Ce sont eux qui jouent au foot.
They
(masculine) play soccer.

4. After a preposition to refer to people or to indicate possession.

Il vient avec moi.
He is coming with me.

Nous ne voulons pas partir sans lui.
We do not want to leave without him.

D’après elles, le film est intéressant.
According to them (feminine), the film is interesting.

Cette voiture est à nous.
This is our car.

NOTE: When the object of the preposition is a thing (and not a person), then you must use either the Adverbial Pronoun [EN] or the Adverbial Pronoun [Y].

5. When a sentence contains more than one subject or object. (Note that if one of the disjunctive pronouns is moi, the verb is conjugated in the first person plural (nous) form and the nous may be used or dropped. If one of the disjunctive pronouns is toi, the verb is conjugated in the second person plural (vous) form and the vous may be used or dropped. If the disjunctive pronouns moi and toi are both used in the same sentence, the verb is conjugated in the first person plural (nous) form.

Robert et lui travaillent le week-end.
He and Robert work on the weekend.

Marise et eux vont au théâtre.
They (masculine) and Marise are going to the theater.

Louise et moi, (nous) étudions ensemble.
Louise and I are studying together.

Tes soeurs et toi, (vous) êtes très proches.
You (informal) and your sisters are very close.

Toi et moi, (nous) avons de la chance.
You and I are very lucky.

6. After que in a comparison.

Elle est plus âgée que toi.
She is older than you (are).

Vous avez moins de devoirs que lui.
You all have less homework than him (he does).

Il mange plus que moi.
He eats more than me (I do).

7. Disjunctive pronouns may be made even more emphatic by adding -même(s).

Je l’ai fait moi-même!
I did it myself!

Elles vont la réparer elles-mêmes.
They (feminine) are going to fix it themselves.

NOTE: The disjunctive pronoun soi (or soi-même) is used with unspecified subjects like on, chacun, and tout le monde to make generalized statements.  Although soi and soi-même mean “oneself”, they are often translated as “everyone”.

On rentre chez soi.
Everyone is returning (to his or her respective) home.

Chacun pour soi.
Every man for himself.

Tout le monde doit l’essayer soi-même.
Everyone should try it for himself/herself.

Il faut avoir la maîtrise de soi.
It is necessary to have self-control.

Adapt:

J’ai faim. Et toi?
I’m hungry. And you?

Oui, j’ai beaucoup faim aussi, moi.
Yes, I am very hungry, too.

Qui sont déjà partis?
Who all has already left?

Jean-Luc et Annelise, eux, sont déjà partis.
Jean-Luc and Annelise already left.

C’est elle qui prépare le dîner?
Is she preparing dinner?

Non, ce sont eux qui préparent le dîner.
No, they (masculine) are preparing dinner.

Ce livre est à toi?
Is this book yours (informal)?

Non, ce livre n’est pas à moi. C’est à lui.
No, this book is not mine.  It’s his.

Ils sont plus intelligents que nous?
Are they (masculine) smarter than us?

Mais non! Nous sommes plus intelligents qu’eux!
Of course not! We are smarter than them (masculine)!

Charlotte y est allée elle-même?
Did Charlotte go there herself?

Oui, Charlotte y est allée elle-même.
Yes, Charlotte went there herself.

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