Reflexive pronouns in French

What are reflexive pronouns?

We use reflexive pronouns (les pronoms réfléchis) with reflexive verbs. The French reflexive pronouns are me, te, se, nous, vous, and se. They always agree with the subject they refer to and correspond to the English words myself, yourself etc. There are also stressed reflexive pronouns (moi, toi, soi, lui, elle, nous, vous, eux, elles) that are used to form the imperative with reflexive verbs.

Master the use of reflexive pronouns with Lingolia’s quick and easy examples, then put your knowledge to the test in the free exercises.

Example

Je me regarde dans le miroir.

Je me demande si je suis bien habillé.

Je me suis préparé pour le dîner au restaurant.

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The reflexive pronouns in French

The table below presents an overview of the reflexive pronouns in French.

je tu il/elle/on nous vous ils
Reflexive Pronouns me/me’ te/t’ se/s’ nous vous se/s’
Stressed Reflexive Pronouns moi toi soi/lui/elle nous vous eux/elles/soi

How to use reflexive pronouns in French

We use reflexive pronouns with reflexive verbs in the sense of oneself. They come after the subject pronoun and before the verb, and they always agree with the subject they refer to in number and gender.

Examples:
Je me regarde dans le miroir.I look at myself in the mirror.
Je me demande si je suis bien habillé.I ask myself if I’m well dressed.

What is a stressed reflexive pronoun?

There are two types of reflexive pronouns in French: normal reflexive pronouns and stressed or strong reflexive pronouns. Normal reflexive pronouns always appear together with a verb; they cannot stand alone.

Examples:
Je me prépare.I prepare myself.
Je me suis préparé.I’ve prepared myself.
Ne te prépare pas.Don’t prepare yourself.

Stressed reflexive pronouns are used in the positive imperative of reflexive verbs. In this case, the reflexive pronouns moi, toi and lui come after the verb and are connected with a hyphen.

Example:
Prépare-toi.Prepare yourself!

Remember: when we use the negative imperative we place normal reflexive pronouns (me, te, se…) before the verb without a hyphen.

Example:
Ne te prépare pas.Don’t prepare yourself.

We use the stressed reflexive pronoun soi:

  • when the subject is undefined or neutral
    Example:
    Il est important de prendre du temps pour soi.It’s important to take some time for oneself.
  • with on, chacun, tout le monde, personne, celui qui
    Example:
    Chacun reste chez soi.Everyone stays at home.