How to us Tonic Pronouns in French: moi, toi, soi, lui, elle, nous, vous, eux, elles

The tonic pronouns (les pronoms toniques), also known as disjunctive pronouns (les pronoms disjonctifs), are used in French for a couple of purposes, primarily to add emphasis. In this article, we will look at all of the rules for tonic pronouns and how to use them in French.

The Tonic Pronouns

Below are all of the tonic pronouns and their meanings. Note that, normally, il/elle are used for it (as well as he and she). With the tonic pronouns, lui and elle are only for animate objects (he, she). If you need to say it normally, we will use cela, ceci, ça.

Français English
moi me
toi you
(informal, singular)
lui him
elle she
soi oneself
nous us
vous you
formal or plural
eux them (m)
elles them (f)

These pronouns are often accompanied by -seul(e)(s) -même(s), aussi, autres*, tous/toutes*, deux (or other numbers)*. For instance:

Je vais lui en parler moi-même.
I’m going to talk to him about it myself.

Lui-seul, il entre dans la montagne.
He, alone, enters into the mountain.

Elle s’appelle Maddy. Nous aussi.
She’s named Maddy. Us too.

Elles autres, les étudiantes, étudient pour l’examen.
They, the students, study for the exam.

Vous toutes, écoutez !
All of you, listen!

Nous deux sommes heureux.
Us two are happy.

*can only be used with nous, vous, eux, elles

The Tonic Pronouns with Prepositions and Conjunctions

Unstressed direct object pronouns (me, te, le, la, nous, vous, les) are used without prepositions. Unstressed indirect object pronouns (me, te, lui, nous, vous, leur) have à and pour built into them (elle parle à Sarah = elle lui parle).

Any preposition can be used with the tonic pronouns (stressed), whereas indirect object pronouns which are unstressed.

Non, parlez avec elle.

C’est à côté de lui.

Tu es entre moi et eux.

Qui, que, comme can also be used with the tonic pronouns.

C’est moi qui le lui ai dit.
It’s me who told him that.

Kevin danse comme son frère.
Kevin dances like his brother.

Ma sœur est plus grande que lui.
My sister is bigger than him.

Lone Pronouns

If you ever need to say me, you, we, us, without a verb or without a preposition, simply by itself, you will use tonic pronouns.

Qui est dans la salle de classe ? Moi.
Who’s in the classroom? Me

Qui a utilisé le shampooing ? Eux.
Who used the shampoo? He did.

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