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French grammar - Subject repetition

Subject repetition

A common feature of spoken French is subject repetition.

The pattern is to state the subject of a sentence and then follow it with a subject pronoun that refers back to the stated subject.

While technically incorrect it is a very common informal way to put emphasis on the subject.

The same idea can also formulated using qui although with less emphasis.

This kind of repetition can also be used in questions.

Examples:
Lillie, elle est très gentille.
Lillie, she's very nice.
Mon père, il n'est pas patient.
My father, he is not patient.

patient (adj) means 'patient'

Ça, c'est très bien.
That, it is very good.
Mathieu, il adore jouer au tennis.
Mathieu, he loves playing tennis.
La France, elle est belle.
France, she is beautiful.
La France, c'est beau.
France , it is beautiful.

Recall that c'est allows take a masculine adjective

C'est Jean qui n'arrête pas d'appeler.
It is Jean who keeps calling.
Quant à Jean-Paul, il n'est pas encore là.
As for Jean-Paul, he isn't here yet.

quant à means 'as for' or 'regarding'

C'est Paul qui paie les factures.
It is Paul who pays the bills.

payer (verb) means 'to pay'

facture (f) means 'bill'

C'est ton chien qui aboie.
It is your dog who is barking.
Qui est-ce qui n'arrête pas d'appeler ?
Who is it that keeps calling?
Pourquoi ton frère ne vient-il pas ?
Why isn't your brother coming?
Comment son chien s'est-il échappé ?
How did his dog escape?

échapper (verb) means 'to escape'

Cécile, ne mange-t-elle pas des pommes ?
Cécile, doesn't she eat apples?