Tag Archive | Y

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

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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