Archives

Object Pronouns – Indirect Object Pronouns

Welcome back to part two of object pronouns! You can find part one here.

An indirect object is the person to whom or for whom an action is done. It is connected to its verb by the preposition à.

J’écris à Jean. | I write (toJean.


Les élèves parlent au professeur. | The students talk to the professor.


Nous donnons des cadeaux à nos amis. | We give gifts to our friends.


The French indirect object pronouns refer only to people. Lui may mean either to/for him or to/for her, depending on the context.

 

Indirect Object Pronouns

 
 

singular

plural

first person

me

nous

second person

te

vous

third person

lui

leur

The indirect object pronouns follow the same rules for position as the direct object pronouns.

Ce chapeau vous va très bien. | That hat looks very good on you.

Il vous plaît ? | Do you like it?


Et Marion ? Elle a faim ? | What about Marion? Is she hungry?

Oui, je lui prépare un sandwich. | Yes, I’m making a sandwich for her.


Je vais leur téléphoner ce soir. | I’m going to call them this evening.

S’ils ne sont pas là, te peux leur laisser un message au répondeur. | If they’re not there, you can leave them a message on the answering machine.


I hope everyone is having a good week!

Merci à vous !

Courtney

Object Pronouns – Direct Object Pronouns

A direct object is the person or thing that receives the action of a verb.

Je vois Camille. | I see Camille.


Nous ne voyons pas le magasin. | We don’t see the store.


Je lis mon livre. | I read my book.


Elle porte ses lunettes. | She’s wearing her glasses.

In order to prevent unnecessary repetition, direct object nouns are often replaced by direct object pronouns.

Direct Object Pronouns

Singular

Plural

First Person

me, m’  me

nous  us

Second Person

te, t’  you

vous  you

Third Person

le, l’  him, it

la, l’  her, it

les  them


Direct object pronouns precede the conjugated verb. Note that before a verb beginning with a vowel or muted hmetelela becomes m’t’l’.

Est-ce que tu achètes ce livre ? | Are you buying that book?

Non, je le regarde tout simplement. | No, I’m just looking at it.


Me retrouvez-vous en ville ? | Will you meet me in town?

Oui, nous t’attendons au café. | Yes, we’ll wait for you at the café.


Tu aimes ces nouvelles chansons ? | Do you lie these new song?

Pas du tout. Je les déteste. | Not at all. I hate them.


Direct object pronouns precede the auxiliary verb in compound tenses. Remember that the past participle agrees in gender and number with a direct object noun or pronoun that precedes it.

As-tu vu Michel ? | Have you seen Michel?

Je l’ai cherché, mais je ne l’ai pas trouvé. | I looked for him, but didn’t find him.


Je t’ai appelé, mais tu ne m’as pas entendu. | I called you, but you didn’t hear me.

Si, je t’ai salué, mais tu ne m’as pas vu. | Yes I did, I waved to you, but you didn’t see me.


Et les lettres ? Où est-ce que vous les avez mises ? | What about the letters? Where did you put them?

Je les ai jetées à la poubelle. Je croyais que vous les avez déjà lues. | I threw them in the garbage. I thought that you had already read them.


When a verb is followed by an infinitive, the direct object pronoun comes before the verb of which it is the direct object… usually the infinitive.

Vous pouvez nous déposer en ville ? | Can you drop us off downtown?

Je regrette, mais je ne peux pas vous prendre. | I’m sorry, but I can’t take you (give you a lift.)


Je peux t’aider ? | Can I help you?

Oui, merci. Tu vois cette chaise ? Tu peux la monter au deuxième étage. | Yes, thank you. Do you see this chair? You can take it up to the third floor.


Be sure to come back next week for part 2 of this post. I hope you all are having a great week!

A la prochaine…

Courtney

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…

Courtney

Declarative & Interrogative Sentences

A declarative sentence makes a statement, and consist of a subject and a predicate. They can be simple or compound, and end with a period. (So basically, a declarative sentence is everything but a question or an exclamation.) The structure of a declarative sentence is standard: subject, verb, object.

Nous avons passé un bon séjour. | We had a pleasant stay.

An interrogative sentence asks a question. A declarative sentence may be turned into a question in three simple ways in French.

🔵  The word order of the declarative sentence may be retained, but with the voice raised at the end of the sentence to mark a question. This form of interrogation is common in colloquial speech.

Tu as déjà invité Charles pour demain ? |Have you already invited Charles for tomorrow?

🔵  The declarative sentence may be prefaced by est-ce que. This form is more common in spoken than written French.

Est-ce que vous avez vu ce film ? | Have you seen that movie?

🔵  Inversion – this form is more characteristic of formal spoken or written French, and may sound unnatural in normal conversation. It is rare to use inversion with the subject je and a verb in the present tense, with the exception of puis-je and suis-je.

When the subject of a verb is a pronoun, the inversion is straightforward:

Savez-vous si le train sera à l’heure ? | Do you know if the train will be on time?

With verbs ending in a vowel, -t- must be placed between the inverted verb and the subject pronouns il/elle/on. This is for pronunciation reasons:

A-t-il répondu ? | Has he responded?


Apprécie-t-on jamais les richesses de la vie ? | Does one ever appreciate the treasures of life?

When the subject of a verb is a noun, simple inversion cannot be used. Instead, the noun stands at the start of the phrase, followed by the verb + the pronoun corresponding to the subject:

L’étudiant savait-it qu’il est défendu de fumer dans les salle de classe ? | Did the student know that it is forbidden to smoke in the classroom?


Have a great week, everyone!

Merci à vous !

Courtney

The Passive Voice

What is the passive voice? It is the manner of constructing a sentence in such a way that the receiver of the action becomes the subject, instead of the one doing the action. The passive in French is usually formed with the auxiliary verb être + past participle. This construction occurs most frequently in the passé composé (use passé composé of être + past participle) and future (use future of être + past participle).

Ces lettres ont été écrites* par mon frère.

These letters were written by my brother.


Un grand édifice sera construit ici par le gouvernement.

A tall building will be constructed here by the government.

*The past participle of verbs conjugated with the auxiliary verb être agrees in gender and number with the subject of the sentence.


The English passive voice sometimes expresses an indefinite idea, such as “it is said”, meaning “people say”; “one says” meaning, “they say”. In such cases, French does not use the passive construction, but rather the pronoun on (one) and the active form of the verb.

On dit qu’il est riche.

One says that he is rich. / It is said that he is rich.


On parle anglais ici.

One speaks English here. / English is spoken here.

Occasionally the English passive is translated by a reflexive in French:

Cela ne se fais pas.

That does not do itself. / That is not  done.


As you guy can see, I’m trying something different with the posts. I’ve eliminated the bullet points and opted for something else. Let me know which you prefer. Also, would anyone be interested in me adding pages to the menu at the top of the blog? If so, what would you like to see there?

I hope everyone is having a good week!

A la prochaine…

Courtney

Comparative Forms of Adjectives

In French, the comparative form of adjectives requires plus/moins before the regular form.

  • Cette rue est plus longue que l’autre.
  • This road is longer than the other.
  • Cette ville est moins propre que la nôtre.
  • This city is less clean/not as clean as ours.

If the comparison uses “so much more/less (adjective)… than”, use tellement plus/moins (adjective)… que.

  • Ce nouveau bâtiment est tellement plus joli que l’ancien.
  • This new building is so much prettier than the old one.
  • Mon jardin est tellement moins bien organisé que le tien.
  • My garden is so much less well organised than yours.

There are several adjectives that have irregular comparatives.

The comparative form of bon is irregular: meilleur.

  • Ce vin est meilleur que celui de l’année dernière.
  • This wine is better than last year’s.

The adjective mauvais has the regular comparative form plus mauvais, and also an irregular form: pire.

  • Cet album est plus mauvais que le dernier.
  • This album is worse than the last.
  • Le comportement du nouvel élève était encore pire.
  • The new student’s behaviour was even worse.
  • Vous avez entendu la dernière nouvelle ? C’est pire.
  • Did you hear the latest news? It’s worse.

Petit has the regular comparative form plus petit, which is always used for references to physical size.

  • Anne est plus petite qu’Estelle.
  • Anne is smaller than Estelle.

There is also the irregular comparative form moindre, which is rarely used, used normally  in literary style.

  • Ce détail est d’un moindre intérêt.
  • This detail is of less interest.

I hope everyone is well. Stay safe!

Merci à vous !

Courtney

Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns are pronouns that mean “this (one)”, “that (one)”, “these (ones)”, “those (ones)”. These pronouns can act as the subject or object of verbs, or stand after prepositions in place of a noun.

There are three groups of French demonstrative pronouns:

  1. ce
  2. ceci/cela/ça
  3. celui/celle/ceux/celles

Uses of “ce”

The pronouns ce can act as the subject of être, or of devoir/pouvoirêtre.

  • C’est mon frère.
  • It’s my brother.
  • Ce doit être lui qui arrive.
  • It must be him arriving.
  • Ce pouvait être le bruit d’une moto.
  • It could have been the noise of a motorcycle.

Ce can be inserted before être to emphasize the subject of a sentence, even though English does not include “it” in such cases. This use of ce to refer to a noun or pronoun, or to an infinitive use as a noun is optional:

  • Sa défaite, c’était inévitable.
  • His defeat was inevitable.
  • Quitter un bon ami, c’est toujours pénible.
  • Leaving a good friend is always painful.

The insertion of ce to refer back to the subject is almost always necessary when a relative or subordinate clause provides the subject of être:

  • Tout ce que je peux vous dire, c’est que la décision sera annoncée bientôt.
  • All I can tell you is that the decision will be announced soon.
  • Qu’il refuse (subject) de nous aider, ce n’est pas ce qui me choque.
  • That he should refuse to help us is not what shocks me.

Uses of ceci/cela and ça

Ceci and cela (or colloquially ça) mean “this” and “that”. They can be used to refer to a statement or idea, or to an object which has not been specifically named. Since ceci and cela/ça are non-specific, they only occur in the “one” (masculine singular) form, whatever the statement, object, or idea referred to:

  • Il a promis d’arriver avant midi, mais cela m’étonnerait.
  • Il a promis d’arriver avant midi, mais ça m’étonnerait.
  • (cela/ça = qu’il arrive avant midi)
  • He promised to arrive before noon, but that/it would surprise me.
  • Si tu veux porter ceci, je prendrai la valise.
  • If you can carry this, I’ll take the suitcase.
  • Ne fais pas cela, c’est dangereux.
  • Ne fais pas ça, c’est dangereux.
  • Don’t do that, it’s dangerous.

Cela/ça translates the indefinite use of “it” (not referring back to a specific noun) when “it” is the subject of a verb other than être:

  • Nous ne lui écrirons plus. Cela ne servira à rien.
  • We shouldn’t write to him/her anymore. It won’t achieve anything.
  • Quand tu essaies de danser, ça me fait rire.
  • When you try to dance, it makes me laugh.

Uses of celui/celle/ceux/celles

The demonstrative pronouns celui (masculine singular, celle (feminine singular), ceux (masculine plural), celles (feminine plural) are used to refer to a specific noun or nouns already mentioned. The form of this demonstrative pronoun corresponds to the number and gender of the noun referred to. Celuicelle, etc. are commonly followed by a relative pronoun (i.e.: celui qui/que/dont… meaning “the one who/whom/whose”).

  • J’ai vu tes deux voisines. Celle qui est la plus jeune travaille à l’hôpital.
  • I’ve seen your two neighbours. The one who is younger works at the hospital.
  • Parmi tous les projets, ceux que nous avons retenus sont les deux suivants.
  • Of all the projects, those which we have accepted are the following two.

Celui, celle, etc. are also commonly followed by de, meaning “that of”/”those of”.

  • C’est ton appareil ? -Non, c’est celui de mon frère.
  • Is this your camera? -No, it’s my brother’s.

The forms celui qui, celle qui, etc. can be used as indefinite pronouns meaning “he who”/”whoever”/”she who”, etc.

  • Celui qui vous a dit cela ne connaît pas les règles.
  • The person who/Whoever told you that does not know the rules.
  • Ceux qui n’ont pas reconfirmé leurs billets doivent se présenter au guichet.
  • Those who have not reconfirmed their tickets should go to the counter.

The endings -ci and -là can be added to celui, celle, etc. to mean “this one” and “that one”.

  • Voici les deux photos. Celle-ci est plus floue que celle-là.
  • here are the two photos. This one is less sharp than that one.

I hope this post wasn’t too long! Happy reading, everyone!

A bientôt !

Courtney