Moi, toi, lui, elle, nous, vous, eux, elles (advanced stress pronouns)

In this lesson, you'll see three cases in which stress pronouns (moi, toi, lui, elle, soi, nous, vous, eux, elles) are used in French. 

In sentences, after prepositions (de, à, avec, derrière, pour etc)

Je parle de lui
I speak of him

Il pense à elle
He's thinking of her

Je suis devant eux.
I'm in front of them.

- in comparisons, after que (plus/moins/aussi ....que),

Jean est plus grand que moi.
Jean is taller than me.

Il mange moins de viande que vous.
He eats less meat than you do.

Ma sœur chante aussi bien qu'elles.
My sister sings as well as they do.

See also Making comparisons with adjectives: plus... que, aussi... que, moins... que

- with the restriction ne... que (only), after que.

Paulette n'aime que lui!
Paulette loves only him! 

Je ne veux que toi !
I want only you!

Il ne manque qu'eux.
They're the last ones.
[Lit. It's only missing them.]

 

Case of soi 

Soi is used to represent a universal "one[self]", in general statements or descriptions. It's the stress pronoun matching the general meaning of "on" (we/you/people) or the impersonal "il".

On ne doit pas penser qu'à soi.
One mustn't think only of oneself.

Il faut toujours aider plus petit que soi.
One must always help those smaller than oneself.

On n'aime que soi.
One only loves oneself.

 

See also previous lessons Moi, toi, lui, elle = me, you, him, her (stress pronouns) and Nous, vous, eux, elles = us, you, them (stress pronouns)

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Je pense à mes amis. Je pense à eux.
I'm thinking about my friends. I'm thinking about them. 


Je ne veux que toi !
I want only you!


Laura est derrière nous.
Laura is behind us.


Il pense à elle
He's thinking of her


Ma sœur chante aussi bien qu'elles.
My sister sings as well as they do.


Je suis devant eux.
I'm in front of them.


On n'aime que soi.
One only loves oneself.


Je parle de lui
I speak of him


Il mange moins de viande que vous.
He eats less meat than you do.


Paulette n'aime que lui!
Paulette loves only him! 


Il faut toujours aider plus petit que soi.
One must always help those smaller than oneself.


On ne doit pas penser qu'à soi.
One mustn't think only of oneself.


Jean est plus grand que moi.
Jean is taller than me.


Il ne manque qu'eux.
They're the last ones.
[Lit. It's only missing them.]



Q&A

Daly

Kwiziq community member

12 August 2018

1 reply

soi on its own sounds clumsy, which is unusual in french

Chris

Kwiziq community member

12 August 2018

12/08/18

Is this a question or a statement?

Daly

Kwiziq community member

12 August 2018

1 reply

I thought that when it was 'oneself' one used ....meme

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

15 August 2018

15/08/18

Hi Daly,

'Soi' is the emphatic/stress pronoun that relates to 'on', or an indeterminate entity as in :

Chacun pour soi = Every man for himself 

En travailleur indépendant/freelance, c'est agréable par qu'on travaille pour soi When you work freelance it's great because you work for yourself

You would only add même to emphasise :

On n'est jamais si bien servi que par soi-même If you want something done rightdo it yourself

Hope this helps!

Michael

Kwiziq community member

19 February 2018

1 reply

How to know when to use "soi" or "soi-même" to say "oneself"?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

19 February 2018

19/02/18

Bonjour Michael !

I agree that it's indeed quite a tricky point!
Indeed, after looking into it thoroughly, I can't really come up with a better explanation than "colloquial usage", which I admit is not really satisfying :)

​I would say however that we will tend to use soi rather than soi-même after prepositions (devant, avec...) and with comparisons or after que in general.

Soi-même will more often be used to emphasise that you do the action yourself:

Il faut le faire soi-même.

I hope that's helpful!​
Merci et bonne journée !

Blix

Kwiziq community member

16 February 2018

3 replies

Soi or soi-même?

Blix

Kwiziq community member

16 February 2018

16/02/18

I apologize, here is the question: An A2 question asks the french translation of "One must always look in front of oneself." I responded with "Il faut toujours regarder devant soi-même," and it was marked as incorrect. The correct answer was "Il faut toujours regarder devant soi." I am confused why one would not use "soi-même" for "oneself" in this instance.

Michael

Kwiziq community member

17 February 2018

17/02/18

I think its because you need a stress pronoun after a preposition such as devant rather than stress+même.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

19 February 2018

19/02/18

Aurélie and Laura have answered this very same question asked by a later poster. 

-- Chris. 

Cathy

Kwiziq community member

12 February 2018

3 replies

When to appropriately use soi and soi-même? This lesson didn't address this issue.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

13 February 2018

13/02/18

Hi Cathy,

"soi-même" is "oneself" or "yourself" in English. For example:

"Pour l’apprendre aux autres il faut le savoir soi-même." -- To teach it to others one must knkow it oneself (or: you must know it yourself).

Or, in another example:

 

Il vaut mieux le faire soi-même. --It’s better to do it yourself.Does that help? -- Chris (not a native speaker).

 

Cathy

Kwiziq community member

13 February 2018

13/02/18

Merci bien!  

Chris

Kwiziq community member

19 February 2018

19/02/18

Check the later questions. Aurélie and Laura answered this question there. 

-- Chris. 

harris

Kwiziq community member

20 January 2018

4 replies

I speak of her

I'm confused why "I speak of her" is "Je parle d'elle" as my first instinct would be to say "je l'en parle". What am I missing here? Thanks.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

21 January 2018

21/01/18

Hi harris,

The French verb "parler" can have two pieces of information attached to it: with whom you speak and what you speak of. For example:

Je parle à Marie de son travail. -- I speak with Marie about her work.

You can now proceed to substitute pronouns for each of the two parts and it would go like this:

Je lui en parle. -- I speak with her about it.

The topic you speek about is always "de + (topic)". If you speak about her then it is "d'elle". The person you speak with is always an indirect object in French: "parler À quelqu'un". Therefore it goes like this:

Je te parle -- I speak with you.
Je lui parle -- I speak with him (or her; only context would tell).
Je vous parle -- I speak with them (or you; in a formal setting)

"Je l'en parle" is definitely incorrect.

Greetings, -- Chris (not a native speaker).

Chris

Kwiziq community member

22 January 2018

22/01/18

...sorry, just to correct a typo: Je vous parle -- I speak with you (either a group or a formal "tu")

Joan

Kwiziq community member

13 February 2018

13/02/18

Hi Chris, if I want to say: "I speak with him about them", is it : "Je lui parle d'eux" ?

Thanks



Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

4 September 2018

4/09/18

Hi Joan, 

Indeed,

"Je lui parle d'eux" is correct for "I speak with him about them"...

Jennifer

Kwiziq community member

22 October 2017

2 replies

I find it difficult to know when soi versus soi-même is used.

Sometimes when the english meaning is oneself, I reach for soi-même but the correct choice is sometimes soi. Any hints please?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

22 October 2017

22/10/17

Bonjour Jennifer, Here are a few links that may help differentiate the issue for you. I am providing he links in lieu of copying and pasting the info: https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/soi-m%C3%AAme-lui-m%C3%AAme-elle-m%C3%AAme.331578/ http://www.languefrancaise.net/forum/viewtopic.php?id=6127 http://dictionnaire.reverso.net/francais-definition/soi-m%C3%AAme https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/french-english/soi-m%C3%AAme https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/french-english/soi J'espère que ma réponse vous aiderait. Bonne chance et bonne continuation dans vos études en français, la langue de Molière et qui a été utilisé par le monde français depuis l’époque d’Hugues Capet Ron (a non-native speaker)

Chris

Kwiziq community member

23 October 2017

23/10/17

Take the English sentence "One has to do it by one-self". In French this translates to "On doit le faire soi-même." The emphatic stress pronouns put emphasis on who is responsible for the action. You could say:

On doit le faire. -- One has to do it.
or
On doit le faire soi-même. -- One has to do it oneself.

In this case you always add "-même". "On doit le faire soi" is simply wrong because "soi" by itself is a reflexive pronoun (like "me", "se", etc.). To make it a stress pronoun, add the "-même". Here is an example, where "soi" is used in a pure reflexive sense and not as a stress pronoun (hence sans "-même"): On doit prendre soin de soi. (One has to take care of oneself).

I hope that helps, -- Chris (not a native speaker).

Susan

Kwiziq community member

3 September 2017

5 replies

Stress pronouns lui and elle.

I am still confused about the stress pronouns lui and elle. Is there a reason why lui is used as a stress pronoun with manquer (à), but elle is not?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

3 September 2017

3/09/17

Bonjour Susan, Of all the questions about advanced stress pronouns, this is possibly the most interesting because of the verb «manquer à» Let's look at this example. Jean lui manque. --> She/he misses Jean If you recall, the noun and pronoun orders are reversed with the verb, hence the pronoun is actually the person who feels he/she is missing someone even though literally it would be stated Jean is missing to him. i.e. he misses Jean. Now recalling that «to him» in French becomes à lui. Therefore the phrase becomes Jean lui manque. And from the lesson: Notice that stress pronouns are used in the following 3 cases: - in sentences, after prepositions (de, à, avec, derrière, pour etc), - in comparisons, after que (plus/moins/aussi ....que), - with the restriction ne... que (only), after que. I hope that this is useful and that I have answered and help clarify this for you. Bonne chance.

Susan

Kwiziq community member

3 September 2017

3/09/17

Thank you. That was exactly my understanding. However, in the A2 test that I took, the question said to translate, "She misses Jacques". I wrote "Jacques elle manque." That answer was marked incorrect, and the correct answer was given as, "Jacques lui manque." When I went back to the lesson on manquer (à), I saw that "elle" was not included in the list of stress pronouns to use before manquer. I thought there must be some special exception.

Ron

Kwiziq community member

3 September 2017

3/09/17

Bonjour encore, So here are the pronouns, notice I did not say stress pronouns, the one uses with manquer à, Note that to introduce the person who it lacks to, you either use manquer à + name, or to use pronouns (i.e. I, you, he, we, they... miss), you will use the me/te/lui/nous/vous/leur before manquer. I hope this helps clarify this. Obviously, elle is used as a stress pronoun, not as a regular pronoun, for that it become «lui». Bonne chance.

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

4 September 2017

4/09/17

Bonjour Susan, In "She misses Jacques," the pronoun that replaces "she" is not a stress pronoun, it's an indirect object pronoun, and the feminine indirect object pronoun is the same as the masculine: lui.

Susan

Kwiziq community member

4 September 2017

4/09/17

Merci beaucoup !! I see now that it was my mistake in thinking that a stress pronoun was required in this structure.

David

Kwiziq community member

19 August 2017

2 replies

So - Je pense à lui = I am thinking of him?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

20 August 2017

20/08/17

Bonjour David, Alors, je ne comprends pas de tout en ce qui concerne votre question. Avez-vous eu une question? Je pense à lui est une phrase exacte. Bonne chance.

David

Kwiziq community member

20 August 2017

20/08/17

C'est tout! Merci beaucoup! David

Arash

Kwiziq community member

27 April 2017

1 reply

Should we say "Je lui pense" instead of "Je pense à elle"?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

4 May 2017

4/05/17

Salut Arash, In short, the answer is no. The reason is: je lui pense translates to "I think him", not I think of him. There is also a difference in whether the pronoun is a direct or indirect pronoun. In this case, "je pense à elle" penser à is a transitive verb which always requires a direct object. ***have in one's thoughts) penser à ⇒ What are you thinking? À quoi penses-tu? to think positive thoughts penser à des choses positives I hope this helps. Ron
Let me take a look at that...