Archive | August 2016

Lesson 29 – Indefinite Pronouns

Leçon 29 – Les Pronoms Indéfinis

Indefinite pronouns are pronouns that do not refer to any person, amount, or thing in particular. (Ex: anything, something, anyone, everyone)

  • d’autres – (masculine, plural) – others
    • D’autres can be used of people or things, and always take a plural verb.
      • Certains clients se disent très contents, mais d’autres se plaignent.
      • Some customers say that they are very happy, but others are complaining.
  • autre chose – (masculine) – something else
    • Autre chose implies “something else, not this”.
      • Il veut changer de métier pour faire autre chose.
      • He wants to change his profession and do something else.
  • chacun – everyone
    • The masculine form chacun is used, unless the context specifically applies to women, in which case chacune is used. Chacun(e) takes a singular verb.
      • Chacun a contribué selon ses moyens.
      • Everyone contributed according to their means.
  • grand-chose – (masculine) much/ a lot
    • Grand-chose is only used after a negative, as the direct object, or after a preposition.
      • Ils n’ont pas gagné grand-chose aujourd’hui.
      • They haven’t earned much today.
  • plusieurs – (masculine, plural) some/several
    • Plusieurs can be used of people or things. It can stand as the subject or object of the verb, but if it is the object, either the pronoun en (of them) should be included before the verb or plusieurs should be qualified by de/parmi + noun.
      • Cette question a dérouté plusieurs de mes élèves.
      • This question tripped up several/some of my students.
      • Quant aux restaurants chinois, j’en connais plusieurs.
      • As for Chinese restaurants, I know several.
  • quelques-uns – (masculine, plural) some/a few
    • The forms quelques-uns/unes can stand as subject or object of a verb or after a preposition. If they are the object, either the pronoun en (of them) should be included before the verb or quelques-uns/unes should be qualified by de/parmi + noun.
      • Beaucoup d’enterprises ont visité la foire. Quelques-unes ont demandé des brochures.
      • Lots of firms visited the fair. Some asked for brochures.
      • Il y a trois cents personnes qui travaillent ici, mais je n’en connais que quelques-unes / je ne connais que quelques-unes parmi elles.
      • There are 300 people who work here, but I know only a few of them.

Have a great week, everyone!

À bientôt !

Courtney

All About ‘Bon’

Today’s post is all about colloquialisms with the word Bon. We all know that “bon” is an adjective that means “good” or “nice”, but it is also used in different ways in conversation.

Bon can be used to begin a conversation or end a thought before beginning another. It’s used the same way that “ok” is used in English.

  • Bon, tu tournes à gauche au coin de la rue, puis tu continues tout droit.
  • Ok, You turn left at the corner, then continue straight ahead.
  • Après avoir cherché un hôtel pendant une heure, j’en ai trouvé un. Bon, je suis prête pour le voyage.
  • After having looked for a hotel for an hour, I found one. Ok, I am ready for my trip.

Bon can be used to express anger or resentment. In cases like this, it would be the equivalent to the English word “fine”.

  • Vous voulez pas m’augmenter? Bon, je vous quitte!
  • You don’t want to give me a raise? Fine, I quit!

Bon + ben

Often, bon ben is used at the end of a statement when the speaker has nothing more to say.

  • Bon ben, je m’en vais. Au revoir!
  • Alright, I’m out of here. Bye!

Ah + bon = Ah, bon?

When used as a question, bon takes on the meaning of “really?” when preceded by “Ah”.*

  • La semaine prochaine, je vais aller en France.
  • Ah, bon?
  • Next week I’m going to France.
  • Really?

*When used in question form, ah bon does not mean “ah, good” even though that is the literal translation. Therefore it is correct to use Ah, bon when receiving bad news.

  • Mon grand-père est très malade.
  • Ah, bon?
  • My grandfather is very sick.
  • Really?
  • Hier, j’ai eu un accident sérieux.
  • Ah bon?
  • Yesterday I had a bad accident.
  • Really?

I hope this helps any questions you may have had regarding this word and these phrases in which it is used. As always, let me know if you have any questions.

Merci à vous !

Courtney

Lesson 28 – Conjunctive Personal Pronouns

Leçon 28 – Les Pronoms Conjonctifs

In my last post I had touched a bit on conjunctive personal pronouns. There are two types of personal pronouns : disjunctive and conjunctive. Conjunctive pronouns are the subject, object, or indirect object of a verb. Their placement is directly before the verb.

Conjunctive pronouns can act as the subject, direct object, or indirect object of a verb.

  • Il va arriver. – Il is the subject of the verb.
  • Je vous verrai ce soir. – Vous is the direct object of the verb.
  • Elle doit leur parler. – Leur is the indirect object of the verb (to them).

The form of the subject pronouns is different from that of the object pronoun in all persons except nous and vous. The forms of the direct & indirect object pronouns differ only in the third person singular and plural.

Subject

Direct Object

Indirect Object

je – I

me – me

me – to me

tu – you

te – you

te – to you

il – he/it

le – him/it

lui – to him/to it

elle – she/it

la – her/it

lui – to her/to it

nous – we

nous – us

nous – to us

vous – you

vous – you

vous – to you

ils – they

les – them

leur – to them

elles – they

les – them

leur – to them

*Remember that me, te, le, la before a verb beginning with a vowel, or a muted ‘h’, are contracted to m’, t’, l’.

**Also remember that indirect object pronoun leur (to them) never ends in -s. Leurs only occurs with the plural possessive adjective.


When referring to objects or abstract nouns, English uses the pronoun ‘it’, but in French, il or elle is used according to the gender of the noun.

  • Où est le livre? Il est sur la table.
  • Where is the book? It is on the table.
  • J’ai besoin de la voiture. Je la prendrai jusqu’à demain.
  • I need the car. I’ll take it until tomorrow.

If ‘it’ is the subject of être + article + noun, use the demonstrative pronoun ce.

  • Je travaille à Lille. C’est une belle ville.
  • I work in Lille. It‘s a beautiful city.

Conjunctive subject pronouns always precede the verb, except in the case of inversion/interrogative sentences.

  • Nous connaissons ton frère. – We know your brother.
  • Connaissez-vous mon frère? – Do you know my brother?

That is all for this lesson. If you would like for me to continue with pronoun posts, please let me know. Or if you have any other suggestions for future posts, I’m open to anything.

Have a great week!

Merci à vous!

Courtney

Lesson 27 – Disjunctive Pronouns

Leçon 27 – Les Pronoms Disjoints

My last post I touched a little bit on the subject of disjunctive pronouns, and then I realised that I never actually made a full post on the subject. So here we are!

So what’s a disjunctive pronoun exactly? It’s a stressed form of a pronoun that emphasizes a noun or pronoun that refers to a person.

There is one form of the disjunctive pronoun corresponding to each subject pronoun:

Subject Pronoun

Disjunctive Pronoun

je

moi

tu

toi

il

lui

elle

elle

on

soi

nous

nous

vous

vous

ils

eux

elles

elles

The disjunctive pronoun soi also corresponds to the indefinite subject pronouns chacun, tout le monde, and personne.

The main circumstances in which the disjunctive pronouns are used to emphasize the subject of the verb (noun or conjunctive subject pronoun).

  • Moi, j’aime bien voyager, mais mon frère, lui, préfère rester à la maison.
  • Personally, I love travelling, but my brother prefers to stay at home.

It may occur for emphasis:

  • Immediately before the subject
  • Immediately after the subject if the subject is a noun
  • At the end of the clause if the subject is a pronoun
    • Tu vas souvent, toi?
    • Do you go there often?

The third person disjunctive forms – lui, elle, eux, elles – may stand before the verb in place of the conjunctive subject pronoun for emphasis. However, in the first and second person, the conjunctive pronoun must also be included.

  • Eux sont partis.
  • They’ve left
  • Vous, vous restez?
  • Are you staying?

The disjunctive pronoun must be used after a preposition, and after comme or que in a comparison.

  • Je suis parti avant eux.
  • I left before them.
  • Comme toi, je n’aurais pas pu le faire sans elle.
  • Like you, I couldn’t have done it without her.
  • Philippe est plus grand que lui.
  • Philippe is bigger than him.

When a pronoun is required to replace the prepositions à/de + noun, the conjunctive pronouns lui, leur, y, en should be used if possible. However, the construction de + animate noun (ex: person) is replaced by de + disjunctive pronoun.

  • Tu dois te méfier de Philippe / de lui.
  • You should beware of Philippe / of him.

The construction à + animate noun (ex: person) is replaced by à + disjunctive pronoun after a reflexive verb.

  • Vous pouvez faire appel à eux pour la musique.
  • You can call on them for the music.
  • On ne peut pas se fier à toi.
  • We can’t trust you. / You cannot be trusted.

The disjunctive pronoun is used when either two pronouns or a noun and a pronoun are the subject of a verb.

  • Lui et elle sont partis.
  • He and she have left.
  • Lui et ma sœur se connaissent déjà.
  • He and my sister already know each other.

The disjunctive pronoun is joined to même(s) by a hyphen to give the forms “myself”, “yourself”, etc.

  • moi-même – myself
  • toi-même – yourself
  • soi-même – oneself
  • nous-mêmes – ourselves
  • vous-mêmes – yourselves
  • eux-mêmes – themselves
  • elles-mêmes – themselves

Ils l’ont fait eux-mêmes – They did it to themselves.


Next week I will cover a topic I touched a bit in this lesson. So if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to comment and ask.

Have a great week, everyone!

À bientôt !

Courtney