When I translate “toi” and “tu”, I find that both mean “you”. What is the difference between them? When do we use each?

  • I know you can say: 'Toi et Alex, (est-ce que) vous avez visité Paris?'(= Have you and Alex visited Paris?), in a question with 2 subjects, but can you say 'Est-ce que tu et Alex avez visité Paris?' OR 'Est-ce que toi et Alex avez visité Paris?'
    – King
    Commented Sep 6, 2020 at 2:40

2 Answers 2


In English you is used as subject and object personal pronoun but in French we use different words accordingly.

Tu is always subject:

Tu parles. Où vas-tu ?
Que manges-tu ?

Te is always object:

  • Direct object:

    Je te vois.
    Je t'aime. (note the elision in front of the vowel)

  • Or indirect object:

    Je te donne un livre.
    Je te pose une question. Te plaît-il ?

Toi can be:

  • Indirect object when the object is placed after the verb:

    Je donne un bonbon à toi et un gâteau à ton frère.
    Je viens vers toi.
    Je commence par toi.

  • Subject in specific constructions when we want to emphasize on the subject:

    Je prends le croissant et toi la brioche.
    Toi, tu as l'air fatigué.
    J'ai faim, et toi?
    Toi, viens ici !
    C'est toi.

  • It must be used after an imperative, with reflexive verbs:


  • 2
    Wouldn't "te" in "Te plaît-il?" be an indirect object, since we would say "Il plaît À la fille" (whereas you would still say "Il voit la fille"). I think the "Te plaît-il?" construction is analogous to the German "Gefällt er dir?"
    – Pertinax
    Commented Feb 24, 2015 at 11:07
  • @TheThunderChimp Yes you're quite right - I did not put it in the right paragraph. Well spotted.Thanks.
    – None
    Commented Feb 24, 2015 at 13:24
  • il manque l'élision. "Je donne un bonbon à toi" est incorrecte. Commented Sep 6, 2020 at 7:02

I am french so I hope my English won't be bad. Well, in french "toi" is used when you refer directly to the person you are talking to, whereas "tu" is always followed by a verb. Voilà!

  • 2
    Followed (suivre) n'est pas le mot qui convient ici. Dans une question tu peut-être après le verbe !
    – None
    Commented Aug 5, 2014 at 18:40
  • Followed ici est bien utilisé.Certes, mais ce que @user5491 voulait probablement dire c'est qu'il y a forcément un verbe non loin du sujet "tu".
    – Jules
    Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 14:54

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