The Pronoun ‘En’

We’re going to dig a bit deeper into the pronoun ‘en’ this week. I touched on the subject awhile ago.

The basic function of the French pronoun ‘en’ is to replace complements that consist of de + noun. In most cases (but not all) en can replace complements consisting of de + either an animate object or inanimate noun.

En can can replace de + any noun when de + the article is a partitive article or a plural indefinite article. En is often translated as some or any in English, but in many cases it has no English equivalent.

Vous avez des livres ? | Do you have (any) books?

Vous en avez ? | Do you have any?

Tu veux des frites ? | Do you want any fries/chips?

Tu en veux ? | Do you want any?

Elle a des cousines en Californie. | She has cousins in California.

Elle en a en Californie. | She has some in California.

Ce magasin ne cherche pas d’employées. | This shop isn’t looking for employees.

Cette magasin n’en cherche pas. | This shop is not looking for any.

En can replace both animate and inanimate nouns that follow a quantity word (most of which contain de) or a numeral.

J’ai beaucoup de travail. | I have a lot of work.

J’en ai beaucoup. | I have a lot.

Elle fait tant de voyages. | She takes so many trips.

Elle en fait tant. | She takes so many.

Nous avons résolu la plupart des problèmes. | We have solved most of the problems.

Nous en avons résolu la plupart. | We have solved most of them.

Ce prof enseigne cinq cours. | This prof teaches five classes.

Ce prof en enseigne cinq. | This prof teaches five.

When a noun following quelques is replaced by enquelques becomes quelques-uns or quelques-unes.

Nous avons lu quelques articles. | We read some articles.

Nous en avons lu quelques-uns. | We read some.

Je peux te donner quelques fleures. | I can give you some flowers.

Je peux t’en donner quelques-unes. | I can give you some.

En also replaces inanimate nouns when de means from.

Elle est revenue de la campagne. | She came back from the country.

Elle en est revenue. | She came back (from there).

Cheers, everyone!

A la prochaine…



5 thoughts on “The Pronoun ‘En’

      • I understand basic terms-subject, object, noun, verb, adjective , adverb, direct , indirect etc but every so often you throw in something like “partitive” which I don’t know?
        You have probably already covered the building blocks of a sentence but I would really like a comprehensive post with all the terms I might come across?

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