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French Language/when to use personal pronouns in French

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Question
Hi Caro,

I am never quite certain how to handle personal pronouns in French, especially since I see so much variation in their use. For example, I just read the following sentence:

   Les gens détournaient le visage, regardaient leurs pieds.

Would it have been as acceptable to write it the following way:

   Les gens détournaient leurs visages, regardaient les pieds.

Are these sentences interchangeable?

Mike

Answer
Hi Mike,

Détourner le visage is a kind of expression. So you can say "les gens détournaient le visage" but also "les gens détournaient leur visage".

Regardaient les pieds, one would ask "which one?"
So you should say "leurs pieds".

I hope this helps

Cheers

Caro  

French Language

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Caro

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Hello! I'm a French native speaker living in France. If you need someone to proof-read your translations and essays or need help on French grammar, pronounciation, French traditions, or cultural aspects do not hesitate to contact me, I'd be glad to help you. I'm in the Top 50 experts of the year in 2011 and 2012. Tank you dear questionners!

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French is my first language (mother tongue). I studied linguistics when I was at university.

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I passed a master of British literature

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