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A pronoun is a word that replaces a longer noun phrase.

Personal pronouns

Tu is singular and vos is plural in all situations, both formal and casual.

El is used to refer to people, and to animals such as mammals and birds. It can be metaphorically applied also to other creatures, robots, the moon, storms, etc.

Lo is used to refer to things, simple creatures, ideas, concepts, etc.

Los is used as the plural of both el and lo.

Elefen does not normally distinguish “he” and “she”. The forms elo (“he”) and ela (“she”) are rare, but can be used to avoid excessive repetition of people’s names when talking about a man and a woman in the same context.

A personal pronoun can be followed by a relative clause. If the meaning remains clear, the pronoun can be omitted, leaving the relative pronoun to do double duty:

On is a general indefinite pronoun, like “on” in French or “man” in German. It means “people in general” or “an arbitrary person” – or, in idiomatic English, “they” or “you”. It often avoids the need for a passive verb:

Se is the reflexive pronoun for the third person, both singular and plural. It refers to the subject of the current verb, but is never the subject itself:

The possessive pronouns (“mine”, “yours”, etc) are the same as the possessive determiners (“my”, “your”, etc), preceded by la:

Determiner pronouns

Just as an adjective can be converted to a noun, so most determiners can be converted to pronouns. The pronouns esta, acel, and otra always add -s when plural. A few other pronouns may also take -s if this makes things clearer.


The cardinal numbers can be used as pronouns denoting groups of a specified size. These pronouns do not normally take the plural -s and do not require determiners:

To indicate indeterminate multiples of numbers such as sento, mil, or milion, the plural -s is added:

La cannot be converted to a pronoun. El, lo, and los are used instead:

No cannot be used as a pronoun, but it does form nun and no cosa. The number zero can also be used as a pronoun.

The idiomatic expression la un la otra (or lunlotra) means “one another” or “each other”. It has variants such as la un o la otra (one or the other), la un pos la otra (or pos lunlotra, one after another), and la un sur la otra (or sur lunlotra, one on top of the other):

In some sentences, a pronoun is immediately followed by a verb and risks being misunderstood as a determiner followed by a a verb reused as a noun. For example, out of context, one can’t be sure whether acel veni de Italia means “that action of coming from Italy” or “that comes from Italy”. In most cases, the context makes the meaning entirely obvious. But beginners in Elefen, and those who wish to avoid all risk of ambiguity, can add a simple noun – such as person or cosa – after the determiner instead of converting it to a pronoun:

In some cases, one wants to make it clear that the verbal noun is not a verb. With words like alga, multe, and poca, one can add de between the determiner and the noun; the determiner then becomes a pronoun, but the noun doesn’t become a verb. With other determiners, such as esta and acel, one can add la before the determiner:

Interrogative pronouns

Elefen has two pronouns that are used to create direct questions:

Ci is only used as a pronoun and should not be used as a determiner.

Cual is primarily a determiner, but it’s often also used as a pronoun, accepting the small risk of expressions such as cual veni de Italia being misunderstood.


Ci and cual are also used in reported questions.

Relative pronouns

Cual and ci also serve as relative pronouns, introducing relative clauses:

The relative pronoun for a person or animal is ci. The relative pronoun for other things is cual:

With some relative clauses, the main sentence omits the noun that the clause relates to. The relative pronoun itself appears in the place of that noun. In such cases, to avoid confusion, cual can be expanded to lo cual, and ci to el ci:

Other pronouns

There are four special pronouns that refer to people. They are only used in the singular:


The equivalents of algun, cualcun, cadun, and nun for things are alga cosa (something), cualce cosa (anything), cada cosa (everything), and no cosa (nothing).

Pronoun phrases

Pronouns are not normally modified by determiners or adjectives, but they can be modified by prepositional phrases:

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