Tag Archive | Pronouns

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

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

Double Object Pronouns

Double object pronouns occur when using direct and indirect object pronouns with the same verb.

When a sentence contains two object pronouns, the pronouns take the following order:

me

te

le, l’

lui

se

before

la, l’

before

leur

before

y

before

en

nous

les

vous

Double object pronouns follow the same rules of position as single object pronouns:

  • Est-ce que ton père te prête la voiture ?
  • Does your father lend you the car?
  • Non, il ne me la prête jamais.
  • No, he never lends it to me.
  • Tu vas donner les cadeaux aux enfants ?
  • Are you going to give the gifts to the children?
  • Oui, je vais les leur donner.
  • Yes, I’m going to give them to them.
  • Sandrine a sa calculatrice ?
  • Does Sandrine have her calculator?
  • Oui, je la lui ai rendue hier.
  • Yes, I returned it to her yesterday.
  • Nos cousins ont besoin d’argent.
  • Our cousins need money.
  • Nous pouvons leur en envoyer.
  • We can send them some.
  • C’est une très belle avenue.
  • This is a very beautiful avenue.
  • Oui, nous nous y promenons souvent.
  • Yes, we often take a walk here.

There are some restrictions on the use of object pronouns. The object pronouns metenousvousluileur cannot follow a reflexive pronoun. The preposition à or de plus a stressed pronoun is used instead. En does not replace de plus animate noun when the de is part of a verbal expression, such as s’approcher de and avoir peur de.

  • Je me fie à ce dictionnaire → Je m’y fie
  • Je me fie à ce médecin → Je me fie à lui
  • J’ai peur des avions → J’en ai peur
  • J’ai peur de nos professeurs → J’ai peur d’eux
  • Nous nous approchons de la ville → Nous nous en approchons
  • Nous nous approchons de notre père → Nous nous approchons de lui

Object pronouns in affirmative commands:

In affirmative commands, object pronouns follow the verb and are joined to it with a hyphen. Me and te become moi and toi after the command.

  • Dites-nous ce qui est arrivé.
  • Tell us what happened.
  • Les journaux ? Mettez-les sur la table.
  • The newspapers? Put them on the table.
  • Aidez-moi !
  • Help me!

Although the final -s of the tu form is usually dropped in the imperative of -er verbs, it is restored (and pronounced) before y and en in affirmative commands.

  • J’ai envie de manger des pommes.
  • I feel like eating apples.
  • Achètes-en.
  • Buy some.
  • J’aime mes vacances en Bretagne.
  • I love my vacation in Brittany.
  • Restes-y plus longtemps.
  • Stay there longer.

When an affirmative command contains two object pronouns, the pronouns take the order shown in the chart below. Moi en becomes m’en and toi en becomes t’en in affirmative commands.

moi

toi

le, l’

lui

la, l’

before

nous

before

y

before

en

les

vous

leur

  • Je viens de recevoir mes photos.
  • I’ve just received my photos.
  • Montre-les-moi.
  • Show them to me.
  • Regarde, j’ai du jus de fruits.
  • Look, I have some fruit juice.
  • Donne-m’en. J’ai très soif.
  • Give me some. I’m very thirsty.
  • Je peux me servir de ton stylo ?
  • May I use your pen?
  • Volontiers. Sers-t’en.
  • Gladly. Use it.

In affirmative commands, y is replaced by  or là-bas after me/moite/toilela if y refers to a place.

  • Tu vas être à la bibliothèque ?
  • Are you going to the library?
  • Oui, attends-moi là-bas.
  • Yes, wait for me there.

I hope you are all having a great week!

À la prochaine,

Courtney

Relative Pronoun ‘dont’

Leçon 34 – Relative Pronoun ‘dont’

The relative pronoun dont replaces the preposition de plus a relative pronoun. Dont immediately follows its antecedent and can refer to either people or things.

Dont is used when the verb or expression in the relative clause requires the preposition de before an object.

  • un professeur dont je me souviens.
  • a professor (whom) I remember (se souvenir de)
  • les affaires dont il s’occupe
  • the business that he’s taking care of (s’occuper de)
  • les employés dont j’ai besoin
  • the employees that I need (avoir besoin de)

Dont is used when de introduces a phrase that modifies another noun. The English equivalent is usually whose or of which.

  • un étudiant dont je connais les parents
  • a student whose parents I know (les parents de l’étudiant)
  • une idée dont on comprend l’importance
  • an idea whose importance/the importance of which we understand (l’importance de l’idée)
  • un auteur dont j’ai lu tous les livres
  • an author, all of whose books I have read (tous les livres de l’auteur)

Notice the word order in the clause introduced by dont. Also notice that when dont is used to express possession, the definite article is used in place of a possessive adjective.


Dont is used with numbers and expressions of quantity.

  • des articles dont j’ai lu quelques-uns
  • articles, some of which I’ve read (quelques-unes des articles)
  • des étudiants dont une dizaine sont français
  • some students, about ten of whom are French (une dizaine des étudiants)
  • trois hommes dont deux médecins
  • three men, of whom two are doctors (deux des trois hommes)

Have an amazing week, everyone!

A la prochaine !

Courtney

Pronouns ‘Y’ and ‘En’

We hear these pronouns used all the time in conversation, and here I will explain how they work. The pronoun y follows the same rules for position as direct and indirect object pronouns.

Pronoun y

This pronoun is a preposition of location (à, en, dans, sur, sous, devant, derrière, etc.) plus a noun referring to a place or thing can be replaced by y.

  • Vous allez tous à Paris ?  –  Are you all going to Paris?
  • Oui, nous y passons nos vacances.  –  Yes, we are spending our vacation there.
  • As-tu répondu à sa lettre ?  –  Have you answered his letter?
  • Oui, j’y ai déjà répondu.  –  Yes, I have already answered it.
  • Tu travailles dans ce bureau ?  –  Do you work in this office?
  • Non, je n’y travaille plus.  –  No, I don’t work there anymore.
  • Où est la monnaie ? Sur la table ?  –  Where’s the change? On the table?
  • Oui, j’y ai laissé l’argent.  –  Yes, I left money there.

Y may refer to an entire phrase, clause, or idea. Sometimes y has no direct English equivalent.

  • Il est difficile de traverser la rue parce qu’il y a tant de voitures.
  • It’s hard to cross the street because there are so many cars.
  • Tu as raison. Il faut y prendre garde. (yaux voitures)
  • You’re right. We have to be careful (of them). (prendre garde à quelque chose) 
  • Alice n’aime pas son travail.
  • Alice doesn’t like her job.
  • Elle doit y renoncer. (son travail)
  • She ought to quit. (renoncer à quelque chose)
  • Les idées de cet auteur sont difficiles.
  • This author’s ideas are difficult.
  • J’y réfléchis beaucoup. (yaux idées)
  • I think about them a lot. (réfléchir à quelque chose)

Pronoun en

An indefinite or partitive article plus a noun can be replaced by the pronoun enEn often means some or any in this context. The pronoun en follows the same rules for position as direct and indirect object pronouns. In compound tenses, the past participle does not agree with en.

  • Tu veux du jus ?  –  Do you want any juice?
  • Non, je n’en veux pas.  –  No, I don’t want any.
  • Connaissez-vous des professeurs ici ?  –  Do you know any professors here?
  • Oui, j’en connais.  –  Yes, I know some.

En may replace nouns used with expressions of quantity or numbers. In such cases, en may have no direct English equivalent.

  • As-tu beaucoup de travail ?
  • Do you have a lot of work?
  • J’en ai trop. (en de travail)
  • I have too much.
  • Robert a des frères ?
  • Does Robert have any brothers?
  • Oui, il en a trois.
  • Yes, he has three (brothers).
  • Tu n’as que trois cent euros ?
  • You only have three hundred Euros?
  • J’en ai perdu deux cents.
  • I lost two hundred (Euros).

En may replace the construction de + noun or infinitive.

  • Sandrine est-elle revenue de France ?
  • Has Sandrine come back from France?
  • Elle en revient jeudi.
  • She’s coming back (from there) Thursday.
  • Les étés passés en Bretagne était merveilleux, n’est-ce pas ?
  • Summers spent in Brittany were wonderful, weren’t they?
  • Oui, je m’en souviens. (en = des étés)
  • Yes, I remember them.
  • Ton fils a-t-il peur de jouer avec mon chien ?
  • Is your son afraid to play with my dog?
  • Oui, il en a peur.
  • Yes, he’s afraid (to do it).

I hope you have a great week, everyone! And to those celebrating Halloween on Monday, I hope you have a safe and fun evening!

Merci à vous !

Courtney