Certain(e)s d'entre eux/elles = Some of them (indefinite pronouns)

Look at these sentences:

Certaines d'entre elles avaient un pique-nique
Some of them (all female group) had a packed lunch 

Certains d'entre eux ont refusé d'y aller
Some of them (mixed or male group) refused to go there

As-tu rencontré ces filles?
-Oui, J'ai rencontré certaines d'entre elles.

Did you meet these girls?
-Yes, I met some of them.

Tu vois ces mecs?
-Oui, je connais certains d'entre eux.

Do you see these guys?
-Yes, I know some of them.

To talk about a portion of a group ('some of them'), we use the indefinite pronouns "certains/certaines" followed by "d'entre eux/d'entre elles"


Note that these pronouns agree with the gender of the group they refer to (if it is a mixed group, it will be "certains d'entre eux"

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

As-tu rencontré ces filles?
-Oui, J'ai rencontré certaines d'entre elles.

Did you meet these girls?
-Yes, I met some of them.



Certains d'entre eux ont refusé d'y aller
Some of them (mixed or male group) refused to go there


Certaines d'entre elles avaient un pique-nique
Some of them (all female group) had a packed lunch 


Tu vois ces mecs?
-Oui, je connais certains d'entre eux.

Do you see these guys?
-Yes, I know some of them.


Q&A

Max

Kwiziq community member

30 September 2018

2 replies

Quelqu'un and its derivatives

Why are quelqu'un, quelqu'une, quelques-uns, quelques-unes left out? These indefinite pronouns are more natural IMO than certain, certains, certaine, certaines and mean the same thing. In both cases you carve out a subset of individuals w/o further identification. Per robert online certain is a synonym. Here is modern and absolute meaning of QUELQU'UN..........

 1  Une personne totalement indéterminée. « On dirait que quelqu'un joue du piano quelque part » (Alain-Fournier).➙ on. Le besoin de parler àquelqu'un.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

17 October 2018

17/10/18

Hi Max,

I do agree that in the case of 'certains d'entre eux' you could replace certain by 'quelques-uns' but quelqu'un and certains have different meanings, a few of them and some of them, subtle may it be...

Of the indefinite adjectives , 

certains is the opposite of tous,

quelque is the opposite of beaucoup and

plusieurs is more than one.

Quelqu'un/une = someone 

quelques-uns/unes = a few of them

Just one of the beautiful complexity of the French language...

Max

Kwiziq community member

17 October 2018

17/10/18

Your position, that "certains is the opposite of tous," is not supported by le petit robert, which lists the folllowing opposites (none being tous) for certain(s)

■ CONTRAIRES : 1. Incertain ; contestable, controversé, discutable, douteux, erroné, 1. faux ; aléatoire, improbable ; hésitant, sceptique.
© 2018 Dictionnaires Le Robert - Le Petit Robert de la langue française

While I do agree that certains is a subset of tous, I do not agree that certains is an opposite or antonym of tous. I do agree that that is a certain (pun intended) fuzziness in the idea of an opposite - at least in English. I believe that an opposite is something we agree to call an opposite. We may therefore simply disagree on our conception of opposite.

In Robert I found this definition and examples for certains.

 3  PLUR. Quelques-uns parmi d'autres. Certains peuples. Dans certains pays.➙ quelque. En certaines occasions. À certains moments.

© 2018 Dictionnaires Le Robert - Le Petit Robert de la langue française

Again, the only synonyms of quelque listed by Robert are found in its definition.

 1  AU SING. LITTÉR. Un, certain.

© 2018 Dictionnaires Le Robert - Le Petit Robert de la langue française

Certain and quelque appear to be perfectly synonymous and more or less interchangeable. I speak French every day and do not hear or feel a difference between the two. 

Moving on, Robert does not support your contention that "quelque is the opposite of beaucoup". In fact, le petit robert lists no antonyms whatsover for quelque. Moreover, beaucoup does not appear in robert's definition of quelque. Be that as it may, quelque-uns may be a subset of beaucoup in the way certains can be a subset of tous. While I don't see them as opposites, you may. Here again the problem seems to be the fluid English definition of opposite. And, for what it's worth hear, French contraire and English contrary are classic faux amis. Another issue....

I agree that "plusieurs is more than one."  I don't recall taking an incompatible position 0n plusieurs. Nor do I contest that "Quelqu'un/une = someone" and "quelques-uns/unes = a few of them"

I don't agree that quelque versus certains matter is "Just one of the beautiful complexity (sic) of the French language." I think it fact that the French language is quite clear on the matter, at least according to le petit robert: certain and quelque are synomymous. Furthermore, I find no support for your postions in Word Refernence or Collins - references of IMO lesser quality that the revered Robert. If there is an understood or felt distinction between the two words, I would think some lexicographer would be on top of this - especially in words so commonly used.

I would like to hear from our native French speakers on this matter. I will also appreciate your reponse. I enjoy the debat and am happy to hear oppositing opinions. Whatever transpires, we will all know French a little better as a result.

Donald

Kwiziq community member

15 August 2018

1 reply

Certains d'entre eux voulaient au cinéma.

Bien que j'étudie le français pendant plus que deux ans, j'ai toujours un problème avec l'imparfait et le passé composé. Ma questionne est pourquoi avez-vous utilisé l'imparfait au lieu de le passé composé.  Ou sont-elles tous les deux une possiblité dans cette phrase.  Au fait, <au lieu de le passé composé> ne me paraît pas d'être correct...dans mon avis.

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

15 August 2018

15/08/18

Hi Donald, you may find this discussion helpful:

https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/questions/view/imparfait-vs-passe-compose-1 

Cordialement, Gruff

Lesley

Kwiziq community member

24 July 2017

1 reply

referring to females only from a mixed group?

If you were referring to some females only but within a mixed gender group, could you say 'certaines d'entre eux'?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

24 July 2017

24/07/17

Bonjour Lesley, It seems to me, given the definitions in the lesson that certains d'entre eux would be the correct phrase. In order to differentiate just the women in the group, perhaps the correct phrase would be «certains d'entre eux étaient femmes et elles . . . . . » I am unsure if that is correct or not, but it seems to be a «logical» way to different the women in the group from the group, mixed, as a whole. then the speaker could go forward in speaking about the women only as a separate group. Perhaps Aurélie, Gruff or Laura have a better, more appropriate way of stating the differentiation. By the way, I have followed Laura's French lessons for quite a while beginning with the about.com days. She is spot on and has teamed up with a couple of true French smart people with Gruff and Aurélie. J'espère que cela vous aidera. Bonne chance, Ron

juke

Kwiziq community member

28 January 2017

2 replies

can you say "Je en connais certains" instead of "Je connais certains d'entre eux"?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

3 February 2017

3/02/17

Bonjour Juke ! You could indeed use "en" to replace the group introduced by "de" : "J'en connais certains." There would be a slight nuance: - "Je connais certains d'entre eux." = I know some of them. - "J'en connais certains." = I know some [of them]. In the second case, there is less emphasis on "them". I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !

Max

Kwiziq community member

30 September 2018

30/09/18

It would IMO be more idiomatique and less stuffy to say J'en connais quelques-uns.
Getting that for you now.