I have come across many sentences where the author names the subject, and then emphasizes it with eux, although I would see no need for disambiguation.


  • Ses agresseurs ont, eux, écopé de sept ans de prison. context
  • Les volets, eux, se ferment automatiquement. context
  • Les Français prennaient le sexe au sérieux. Les Britanniques, eux, préfèrent en ricaner.
  • Les gros, eux, passent toujours à travers les mailles du filet

Why is eux being used in these cases where the subject seems clear? Is it for emphasis?

1 Answer 1


This emphasizes an opposition. It is especially clear with the 3rd example, where the British are opposed to the French.

For instance, the last example implies that while the big ones go through the cracks, it is not the case of the small ones.

  • Thanks for your help. That does make sense, so one could think of it as equivalent to "however/in contrast" I suppose. If I could bother you once more, would you say the same thing is happening here? What would you say it is contrasting with? "Dans ce dispositif, tout peut être réglé au degré Celsius près : à 6 h 30 du matin, il doit faire 19 °C dans la chambre des parents, ... mais 20 °C à 20 heures dans la chambre des enfants, car ils se couchent plus tôt. Les volets, eux, se ferment automatiquement si quelqu’un éteint la lumière dans le salon à partir de 22 heures."
    – criollo
    Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 2:02
  • It is not exactly equivalent to "however/in contrast", it would be more of a way of suggesting that it might be the case of everyone. In your example it is used as a transition, though. There is a still a kind of implicit opposition, used to make the subject stand out. This way the transition is less brutal. It could be translated by "Concerning the shutter, they close automatically...". However please not that I am just a native speaker, not a linguistic expert, and I could be inexact.
    – DarkBoby
    Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 2:20

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