Subject Pronouns

Subject pronouns in French

The subject of a sentence is the person or thing which performs the action. Subject pronouns can replace persons or things (or a person or a thing). The subject pronoun indicates precisely what ending the verb must take in French.




Je = I  (1st person)


Ex :Je suis le pain de vie (Jean 6.48)

Nous = we (1st person)


Ex: Nous savons que Dieu n’exauce point les pécheurs (Jean 9:31)

Tu = you (2nd person)


Ex: Tu l’as vu… ( Jean 9:37)

Vous = you (2nd person)


Ex: Vous adorez ce que vous ne connaissez pas ( Jean 4.22)

 Il[1]/Elle[2]/on[3]  = He, she, it  (3rd person)



 a) Il y eut un homme envoyé de Dieu: son nom était Jean

b) Elle était au commencement avec Dieu (Jean 1:2)

c) On célébrait à Jérusalem la fête de la Dédicace (Jean 10.22)

Ils[4]/elles[5] =  they (3rd person)

Ex:  Ils suivirent Jésus (Jean 1.37)


[1]  Il is used for masculine nouns

[2] Elle is used for all femine nouns

[3] On is the indefinite pronoun. It is equivalent to English: we, one, they or you.

[4] Ils, a plural subject pronoun and is used for all masculine nouns, referring both to people and things.

[5]  Elles, a 3rd person plural subject pronoun and is used when all of the nouns (both people and things) are femine.

French Verbs: General introduction

Today we introduce the basic elements of French verbs. Generally all French verbs have to be conjugated. The forms (endings) of the verbs are determined by their subject. For example, in English the verb is conjugated mostly in the third person (i.e. I am, you are, he is; I go, you go, she/he goes; I talk, you talk, he/she talks, etc). We can take the liberty to say that the verbs in the English language have only three basic conjugations (i.e. I am, you are, he/she is). Further examples: I am, you are,  he/she is               I go, you go, he/she goes           I dance, you dance, he/she dances


However, verbs in French are classified into groups or categories.  There are three basic groups of verbs in French. Once you know the conjugation pattern for a category you will be able to conjugate the majority of verbs belong to that category. In other words, each group has its conjugation pattern.  As a result, it will be important to learn the basic paradigm for all three categories respectively. That will save a lot of headaches in the future.  The following are the major groups or categories:

  1. er verbs , the verbs belonging to the first category have an “er” ending in the infinitive.   

Envoyer = to send             Habiter = to dwell, to reside                   Donner = to give

  1. ir verbs, second group verbs have an “ir” ending in the infinitive.

Servir = to serve                      Finir = to finish                    Courrir= to run

  1. re verbs, third group verbs have an “re” ending in the infitive.

Mettre = to put             Vendre = to sell                           Rendre= to give back, to return (something)        

Indefinite articles

The French indefinite articles (les articles indefinis) agree both in number and gender.  French has 3 indefinite articles:

un, is used with masculine nouns (ex. un homme, un discipline, un peu..)

une, is used with feminine nouns (ex. une gloire, une personne, une femme…)

des, with plura nouns (ex. des hommes, des femmes, des miracles…)

* Both un and une mean a or an. De translates some in english. When un, une, and des are followed by ne…pas, they change to de (ex.  John 1.27, je ne suis pas digne de delier la courroie de ses souliers)

Definite Articles

French has four definite articles which translate simply as “the” in the english language.  The french definite articles must agree in gender and in number.  Here they are:

Le, is used with masculine nouns ( ex. Le temoignage, le prophete, le maitre…)

La,  is used with feminine nouns (ex.  la bible, la lumiere, la parole…)


L’, is used before a singular noun (ex. L’enfant, l’anglais, l’ange). You also use l’ if the noun begins with a vowel sound.


Les, is always use before plural nouns (ex. les choses,  les siens, les Juifs…)


A good question to ask…?


How does one know which nouns are masculine and which are femine?

This is a difficult question to answer. However, the generally rule is that nouns that refer to males are masculine (le garcon), whereas, those that refer to females are feminine (la fille). For now, you just have to learn the definite article that goes with each one.

John 1:6-8

Today Let’s walk through John 1:6-8.  Here is the translation in French

1.6 Il y eut un homme envoyé de Dieu: son nom était Jean.  
1.7 Il vint pour servir de témoin, pour rendre témoignage à la lumière, afin que tous crussent par lui.
1.8 Il n’était pas la lumière, mais il parut pour rendre témoignage à la lumière.  
était  (was);  it is the past tense [imparfait in French] form of the verb être = to be

vint (to come) ; from “venire.” Passe simple indicative 3rd person singular. This particular tense in French is called “passé simple” and is used in literary works.

servir  (to serve); present indicative infinitive. 2nd group verb with an “ir” ending.

rendre  ( it is best to translate this verb as “to come” in the context of John bearing witness about Jesus)

crussent (to believe), subjunctive mood indicative 3rd person  plural. The little phrase “afin que” (so that…)  tells us the verb is  the  subjunctive mood.

parut (to appear/to bear). Passe simple indicative 3rd person singular. This particular tense in French is called “passé simple” and is used in literary works.  



homme (man/human)

Dieu (God)

Nom (name)

Jean (John)

témoin (witness)

témoignage (testimony)

lumière (light) 

un (a).  Article indéfini (indefinite article)
la (the), the feminin of « le » (definite article)

envoyé ( sent). Here “envoyé”  functions not as a verb per se but as an adjective.  Thus,  

            the phrase “un homme envoyé » is adjectival.

tous (all), the plural form of “tout”

  Adverbs /prepositions/conjunctions 

de (of)

pour (for)

afin que (so that…)

par (by)

mais (but)

à (to)

Additional comments:
son nom (his name). “Son” is a possessive adjective meaning “his”. Its gender is masculin and number is singular  

Back to blogging

I haven’t posted anything for the past two weeks or so due to relocation. Now I am back to blogging. We will continue teaching you french and translate John’s prologue. I hope to do some posting later this afternoon.

A plus tard (See you later)

Blog break!

I will probably not be able to do any useful posting this week due to my recent move. I have to put the house together:)