The order of French pronouns: Rules & Examples

Mastering the order of French Pronouns

– A Guide for Beginners with Rules and Examples –

French pronouns, like in any language, play a crucial role in expressing ideas and thoughts.

In French, the order of pronouns in a sentence is important to convey meaning effectively.

In this lesson, we will explore the rules and examples of the correct order of French pronouns.

1. The Basic Order

In a French sentence, the basic order of pronouns is as follows:

  • Subject pronoun
  • Object pronoun (direct or indirect)
  • Reflexive pronoun

For example: Je parle à toi (I speak to you)

In this sentence, “Je” is the subject pronoun, “toi” is the object pronoun, and there is no reflexive pronoun.

2. The Position of Object Pronouns

In French, object pronouns are placed directly before the verb. In a compound tense such as the present perfect, the object pronoun is placed immediately before the auxiliary verb.

For example: Il m’a parlé (He spoke to me)

In this sentence, “m'” is the object pronoun placed directly before the auxiliary verb “a”.

3. The Position of Reflexive Pronouns

Reflexive pronouns are placed immediately before the verb.

In a compound tense, the reflexive pronoun is placed before the auxiliary verb.

For example: Je me suis lavé (I washed myself)

In this sentence, “me” is the reflexive pronoun placed immediately before the auxiliary verb “suis”.

4. Emphasizing Pronouns

If you want to emphasize a pronoun, you can place it at the beginning of the sentence.

For example: Moi, je parle français (Me, I speak French)

In this sentence, “Moi” is placed at the beginning of the sentence for emphasis.

In conclusion, the order of French pronouns is important in conveying meaning effectively.

By following the basic order, placing object pronouns before the verb, reflexive pronouns before the auxiliary verb, and emphasizing pronouns at the beginning of the sentence, you can improve your French speaking and writing skills.


More examples:

  1. Je t’aime (I love you)
  2. Nous vous parlons (We speak to you)
  3. Tu te laves (You wash yourself)
  4. Elle se regarde dans le miroir (She looks at herself in the mirror)
  5. Vous vous promenez (You walk)

Practice with these examples and apply the rules we have covered to improve your understanding of the order of French pronouns.


2 thoughts on “The order of French pronouns: Rules & Examples”

  1. I understand the placement of pronouns with verbs, but am confused in a situations involving both pronouns and objects in the same sentence. For example, “I want to offer it to him”. Is it “je vais le lui offrir” or “je vais lui l’offrir”. Is there a rule for theorder, and does it vary with the verb involved?


    • Bonjour Steven, in French, the correct order of pronouns in a sentence like “I want to offer it to him” is indeed crucial, and there’s a specific sequence that these pronouns should follow.

      The correct form for your example is “Je vais le lui offrir.” This sentence follows the general rule for the order of object pronouns in French, which is:

      – Direct object pronouns (me, te, le, la, nous, vous, les)
      – Indirect object pronouns (lui, leur) without “à”
      – Y (replaces a place or the preposition “à” + thing)
      – En (replaces “de” + thing or introduces a quantity)

      When combining direct and indirect object pronouns in the same sentence, the direct object pronoun (in this case, “le,” referring to “it”) comes before the indirect object pronoun (“lui,” referring to “him”).

      This rule does not vary with the verb involved; what’s important is whether the pronoun is a direct or indirect object, and the pronouns should be placed accordingly.

      So, for your question, “Je vais le lui offrir” is the correct order, translating to “I want to offer it to him” in English. This rule helps ensure clarity and consistency in French sentence structure, especially when dealing with multiple pronouns.


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