Tag Archive | French Pronouns

Titles and Modes of Address

All (adult) strangers should be addressed as Monsieur, MadameMademoiselle. This rule applies to both adults and children.

  • Pardon, Madame, vous pourriez m’indiquer la gare ?
  • Excuse me, ma’am, could you show me the way to the station?

People in particular professional positions – priest, mayor, M.P. – should be addressed as:

  • Monsieur le curé
  • Madame le maire
  • Monsieur le deputé

When addressing someone you have already met, you may have to choose between surname and first name. While the younger generation tend to use first names as freely a the English/Americans, with older people, be cautious about dropping courtesy titles unless you are invited to do so. Because of the complexity of the choice between tu and vous, some older people may be reluctant to rush onto first-name terms.

To make a polite reference in the third person to someone, use the following:

  • le monsieur | the gentleman/the man
  • la dame | the lady
  • la jeune femme | the lady/young lady (approximately 18-40 years old)
  • la jeune fille | the young lady (approximately 12-20 years old)

Note: la fille is not a polite way to refer to a girl (roughly translated as “chick”). But groups of young people may be described as les gars (the guys) and les filles (the girls).

For more on this topic, check out my previous post Tu or Vous.


Enjoy your week!

A la prochaine…

Courtney

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Order & Placement of Double Object Pronouns

English doesn’t allow a direct and indirect object pronoun to occur together – the indirect object appears in a prepositional phrase beginning with to or for when a direct object is present. Ex: I gave it to him.

In French, double object pronouns are very common.

When the indirect object pronoun is a first or second person pronoun, the indirect object pronoun precedes the direct object pronoun. Thus, me, te, nous, and vous precede le, la, l’, and les.

  • J’ai besoin du livre de biologie. Tu me le prêtes ? | I need the biology book. Will you lend it to me?
    • Je te le passe demain. | I’ll give it to you tomorrow.
  • On dit que vous avez fait de belles photos pendant votre voyage. Vous pouvez nous les montrer ? | They say you took some beautiful photos during your trip. Can you show them to us?
    • Bien sûr. On va vous les envoyer par e-mail. | Of course. We’ll send them to you by email.

When the indirect object is third-person singular or plural, it follows the direct object pronoun. Thus, le, la, and les precede lui and leur.

  • Ils ne comprenaient pas la leçon, mais le prof la leur a expliquée. | They didn’t understand the lesson, but the teacher explained it to them.
  • Elle voulait voir tes logiciels. Est-ce que tu les lui a envoyés ? | She wanted to see your software packages. Did you send them to her?

Double object pronouns follow the same rules of position as single object pronouns. They precede the conjugated verb unless there is also an infinitive, in which case they occur between the conjugated verb and the infinitive.

Direct object pronouns cause agreement of the past participle when they appear in double object pronoun constructions.

  • Les documents ? Vous ne me les avez pas envoyés. | The documents? You didn’t send them to me.

The pronouns and en also appear in double object pronoun constructions. The pronoun y usually appears with a direct object pronoun, and the direct object pronoun precedes the word y. Possible combinations are as follows:

m’y

nous y

t’y

vous y

l’y

les y

Note the elisions of metele, and la before y.

  • J’étais à la bibliothèque aujourd’hui. | I was at the library today.
    • Je sais. Je t’y ai vue. | I know, I saw you there.
  • Les enfants aiment aller à la piscine. | The children like to go to the pool.
    • Je les y emmène souvent. | I often take them there.

The pronoun en usually appears with an indirect object pronoun, and the indirect object pronoun precedes the word en. Possible combinations are as follows:

m’en

nous en

t’en

vous en

lui en

leur en

Note the elisions of metele, and la before en. The pronouns and en may also occur together. When they do, y precedes en.

  • Tu trouve des occasions dans ce magasin ? | Did you find bargains at that shop?
    • Oui, j’y en trouve toujours. | Yes, I always find some there.

Merci à vous !

Courtney

Object Pronouns with the Imperative

In negative commands, object pronouns have their usual position before the verb.

  • Ce programme antivirus n’est pas bon. Ne le télécharge pas. | That antivirus program is no good. Don’t download it.
  • Cette carte de crédit n’est pas valable. Ne l’accepte pas. | That credit card isn’t valid. Don’t accept it.
  • Ces données sont très importantes. Ne les perdons pas. | This data is very important. Let’s not lose it.

In affirmative commands, however, object pronouns follow the command form and are joined to it in writing by a hyphen.

  • Ce chapeau est jolie. Essaie-le. | This hat is pretty. Try it on.
  • Cette assiette est sale. Lave-la. | This plate is dirty. Wash it.
  • Ces fichiers sont importants. Sauvegardons-les. | These files are important. Let’s save them.
  • Si vous voulez ce meuble, commandez-le. | If you want this piece of furniture, order it.
  • Hélène et Marie veulent rentrer. Raccompagnez-les. | Hélène and Marie want to go home. Walk them home.
  • Dites-lui que nous sommes en retard. | Tell him that we’re late.
  • Il faut les mettre au courant. Téléphonez-leur. | We have to inform them. Phone them.

The object pronouns me and te (as both direct and indirect object pronouns) become moi and toi when they follow affirmative commands.

  • Aide-moi, s’il te plaît. | Help me, please.
  • Envoyez-moi un e-mail pour me tenir au courant. | Send me an email to keep me informed.

Toi as an object pronoun appears only with reflexive verbs.

  • Lave-toi. | Wash up.
  • Brosse-toi les dents. | Brush your teeth.

Have a great week, everyone!

A la prochaine…

Courtney

Double Object Pronouns with Reflexive Verbs

When a reflexive pronoun is an indirect object and the verb also has a direct object, that direct object can be replaced by the corresponding direct object pronoun. The reflexive pronoun always comes first.

  • Je me brosse les dents. | I brush my teeth.
  • Je me les brosse. | I brush them.

  • Il se lave la tête. | He washes his hair.

  • Il se la lave. | He washes it.

  • Elle se lime les ongles. | She files her nails.

  • Elle se les lime. | She files them.

The pronouns and en also appear with reflexive pronouns.

  • Je me suis mêlé à la conversation. | I joined in the conversation.
  • Je m’y suis  mêlé. | I joined in.

  • Ils se sont repentis de leurs actes. | They regretted their actions.

  • Ils s’en sont repentis. | They regretted them.

  • Nous nous sommes habitués à cet appartement. | We got used to that apartment.

  • Nous nous y sommes habitués. | We got used to it.

  • Vous vous doutiez de son incompétence. | You suspected his incompetence.

  • Vous vous en doutiez. | You suspected it.

  • Je me suis fait mal au bras. | I hurt my arm.

  • Je m’y suis fait mal. | I hurt it.

Commands are formed with and en as follows:

  • Arrête-toi au feu rouge. | Stop at the red light.
  • Arrête-t’y. | Stop there.

The direct object pronouns cause agreement of the past participle because they precede the verb.

  • Ils s’est acheté cette voiture. | He bought himself that car.
  • Il se l‘est achetée. | He bought it for himself.

  • Elle s’est cassé la jambe. | She broke her leg.

  • Elle se l‘est cassée. | She broke it.

Have a great week, everyone!

Merci à vous !

Courtney

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