Impersonal pronoun – pronom impersonnel
Let's Define It!
What's an *impersonal pronoun*?
Generally speaking, pronouns stand for (i.e. replace) specific nouns (and thus help us avoid repeating these same words over and over again).
An impersonal pronoun, however, doesn't work that way.
In French, a pronom impersonnel doesn't take the place of a specific noun. It refers instead to something implied through context (for example the weather or something mentioned previously)
- Impersonnel pronouns occur often next to meterological or time-related verbs
Il fait beau (The weather is nice)
il est onze heures (It is eleven o'clock)
- They also appear next to verbs describing how things are at a particular moment or place.
Ça chauffe en ce moment. Things are bad/worrying/hectic at the moment.
Ça travaille dur ici. People work had here. It's a tough workplace.
- They occur in expressions where an opinion or advice is given.
Il est nécessaire que vous fassiez vos devoirs. (It is necessary for you to do your homework.)
Il est important que tu viennes avec moi. (You must come with me)
There are a few more instances where impersonal pronouns can be used in French. The examples mentioned above should give you a solid start into the subject.
Let's Pronounce It!
What does it sound like in French?
Let's Have an Example or Two!
Can a little reinforcement do the trick?
Some sentences including an impersonal pronoun.
- Ça neige dehors. It's snowing outside
- Il pleut. It's raining
- Il faut manger pour vivre. One must eat to stay alive.
- Il est préférable d'attendre ici. It's better to wait here.
- Il se passe de drôles de choses ici. Strange things are happening around here.