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Personal pronouns in Romanian

In this lesson we will cover all the aspects and forms of the Romanian personal pronouns. Just as a reminder a pronoun is the word that can replace a noun in a sentence (e.g. I, you, we).

The Romanian personal pronouns have different forms for each person, number, case and gender.
If all this Romanian grammar terminology sounds complicated, just check out the examples given below.

We'll start in this lesson with all the forms of the Romanian personal pronouns in the cases:

In the next lesson we'll cover the two remaining cases:

Personal pronouns in the Nominative case

The forms of the personal pronouns in the Nominative case are the following: Eu (I), Tu (you referring to only one person), El (he), Ea (she), Noi (we), Voi (you, plural), Ei (they, men), Ele (they, women).
Here is the pronunciation of the Romanian personal pronouns.

How to pronounce the personal pronouns in the Nominative case

English Romanian
translation
Audio Phonetic
Transcription

I am

Eu sunt

/jew sunt/

You are (where "you" refers to a single person)

Tu ești

/tu jeʃtʲ/

He is

Eeste

/jel 'jes.te/

She is

Ea este

/je̯a 'jes.te/

We are

Noi suntem

/noj 'sun.tem/

You are (where "you" refers to more than one person)

Voi sunteți

/voj 'sun.tet͡sʲ/

They are (where "they" refers to masculine gender nouns e.g. five men)

Ei sunt

/jej sunt/

They are (where "they" refers to feminine gender nouns e.g. five women)

Ele sunt

/'je.le sunt/

In English you can have constructions such as "It's me", "It's us". These are translated in Romanian as "Eu sunt", "Noi suntem". Which leads to the conclusion that the Romanian personal pronouns have a second translation Eu (me), El (him), Ea (her), Noi (us), Ei/Ele (them).
It's important to know that these are rather rare exceptions, and the "normal" translations of the personal pronouns in the Nominative case is the first one mentioned above Eu (I), El (he), Ea (she)...


How to translate "it" in Romanian?

In English "it" refers mainly to inanimate nouns (including animals and in some rare cases people).
Romanian language does not make the animate/inanimate distinction when it comes to pronouns. In Romanian, all nouns (be it animate or inanimate) are either masculine or feminine (or neuter). A feminine noun e.g. masă (table) is replaced by the feminine personal pronoun ea (she). The same goes for masculine nouns that are replaced by el (he).
Please check out our lesson on Romanian nouns gender for more information on this subject.

It is very important to accept the fact that in Romanian objects are not "it" anymore but are referred to by: he/she, him/her, his/her.
This rule involves a change of mindset and you will need to practice it quite a few times before it becomes natural to use it.

English grammar foresees impersonal expressions(impersonal pronoun) such as It's raining or It's me.
Romanian allows for the subject to be omitted especially when the subject is a personal pronoun. This is because the subject can be inferred from the form of the verb.
Here are the translations:

How to pronounce "it" in Romanian?

English Romanian
translation
Audio Phonetic
Transcription

It's raining

Plo

/'plo.wə/

It's one o'clock

Este ora unu

/'jes.te ora 'u.nu/

Is it urgent?

Este urgent?

/'jes.te ur'ʤent/

Thus Romanian does not have a direct equivalent for the English pronoun "it".


Politeness pronouns in Romanian language

The most used politeness pronoun in Romanian is : Dumneavoastră (you).
Dumneavoastră can refer to one person or to two or more persons. However, it is always followed by the second person plural verb form, exactly the same one as for "Voi" (you plural): Voi sunteți, Dumneavoastră sunteți.

There are a few other forms, less used though: Dumnealui (He), Dumneaei (She), Dumnealor (they).

All the politeness personal pronouns have the same form for all cases. For example Dumneavoastră remains unchanged:

Case Romanian politeness pronouns English translation
Nominative Dumneavoastră sunteți inginer You are an engineer
Accusative Am venit săptămâna trecută la dumneavoastră acasă dar nu v-am găsit. I passed by your house last week but you weren't there
Dative O să vă dau dumneavoastră banii mâine I'll give you the money tomorrow
Genitive Mașina dumneavoastră este stricată Your car is broken

This means that Dumnealui can be translated as "he" but also as "him/his". The same goes for Dumneaei translated as "she/her/hers"

There is another pronoun: Dumneata. It also expresses a level of politeness however less than the above forms.

The last form that you should be aware of is a form used in the spoken language, and in informal cases, especially with older persons: Mata. It is the shorter form of Dumneata. As an example, I used to speak to my grandmother using mata, to show a form of respect; Dumneavoastră would have been excessive in this case.

Romanian Exercises: How to pronounce the personal pronouns in the Nominative case

Question 1 / 11

What is the correct translation for:

They are (where "they" refers to masculine gender nouns e.g. five men)

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