1. Education

French Subject Pronouns - Pronoms sujets

By

7 of 7

French subject pronouns: ils, elles = they
French has two third person plural subject pronouns, ils (listen) and elles (listen), and they both mean "they."

Ils is used for groups of men as well as mixed-gender groups.

   Je ne vois pas mes frères. Sont-ils déjà partis ?
   I don't see my brothers. Did they already leave?

   Paul et Anne viennent, mais ils sont en retard.
   Paul and Anne are coming, but they're running late.

Ils is also used for groups of all masculine nouns and groups of mixed masculine-feminine nouns.

   J'ai trouvé tes livres - ils sont sur la table.
   I found your books - they're on the table.

   Le stylo et la plume ? Ils sont tombés par terre.
   The pen and pencil? They fell on the floor.


Elles can be used only when every single person or thing you're referring to is female or feminine.

   Où sont Annette et Marie ? Elles arrivent.
   Where are Annette and Marie? They're on their way.

   J'ai acheté des pommes - elles sont dans la cuisine.
   I bought some apples - they're in the kitchen.


Notes
  • Even when talking about a room full of a hundred women and one man, you have to use ils.
     
  • Ils and elles are pronounced exactly like il and elle, respectively, except in a liaison.
 
Also see il / elle
  1. About.com
  2. Education
  3. French Language
  4. French Grammar
  5. Pronouns
  6. Ils - Elles - French Subject Pronouns

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.