Reflexive Pronouns

Introduction

The reflexive pronouns are me, te, se, nous, vous, se. We use them with reflexive verbs. Reflexive pronouns always refer to the subject. Moi, toi, lui/elle, nous, vous, eux/elles and soi are strong form reflexive pronouns and they are used differently.

jetuil/elle/onnousvousils
reflexive pronoun: weak form me/m’ te/t’ se/s’ nous vous se/s’
reflexive pronoun: strong form moi toi soi/lui/elle nous vous ils

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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Usage

Reflexive verbs use the reflexive pronoun in the sense of “oneself”. (see also Reflexive Verbs)

Example:
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.

French differentiates between weak forms and strong forms of reflexive pronouns. A weak form reflexive pronoun is one that is associated with a verb and cannot stand alone.

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

A strong form reflexive pronoun stands alone without an associated verb. It is used after an imperative verb.

Example:
Prépare-toi.Prepare yourself!

We use the strong form 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.