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Learn the difference between the French words "chaque" and "chacun, chacune"

Chaque or chacun, chacune: what is the difference?

by | 5 Nov 2016 | French Language

 

The difference between chaque and chacun, chacune is not necessarily obvious if you are learning French as a foreign language.

Let’s say to start with that chaque, chacun and chacune represent an isolated item within a whole or a set. That’s why they only exist in the singular form and you will never have to add a final s.

Chaque only has one form while chacun has a feminine form: chacune.

Chaque is a determiner. This means it is always in front of a noun and that you can replace it with another determiner, e.g. un, une, or quel, quelle:

  • Chaque membre du club doit avoir sa carte (Each member of the club must have a card) Quel membre du club doit avoir sa carte
  • J’ai cherché mes clés dans chaque pièce (I’ve been looking for my keys in each room) → J’ai cherché mes clés dans une pièce
  • Elle va à son cours de français chaque mardi (She goes to her French class every Tuesday) → Elle va à son cours de français un/quel mardi

 

Chacun and chacune are pronouns. This means you can always replace them with other pronouns such as il, lui, tout, tous, aucun etc.

  • Chacun devra être présent à la réunion (Everyone will have to attend the meeting) → Il devra être présent à la réunion
  • Ils auront chacun une place (Each of them will have a ticket) → ils auront tous une place
  • Chacune des pièces a été fouillée (Each room was searched) → toutes les pièces ont été fouillées.

You may also see the words chaque, chacun and chacune placed right at the end of a sentence. Here are a couple of examples:

You are at the market and you want some tomatoes. The producer sells several sorts. In this situation, you can ask:

  • Trois de chaque, s’il vous plaît. (Three of each, please)

In this case, the French word for “sort” is not uttered but is inferred. Thus, chaque has the same role and meaning as in the examples above and is in front of a noun, though not uttered.

Now, you’re back home from the market and your kids love tomatoes so they all want some. That’s when you can tell them:

  • Vous en aurez une chacun (You’ll get one each)

Here, “chacun d’entre vous”, i.e. tous is inferred: Vous en aurez tous une.

There you are ! These are the keys you needed to know the difference between chaque and chacun or chacune. You can now use these French words correctly. Congratulations! 🙂

 

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