Direct object pronouns


Subject pronouns are used to say who people are:

Je = I

Tu = you

Il = he/ it

Elle = she/ it

On = we/you/they

Nous = we

Vous = you

Ils = they

Elles = they (f)

Direct object pronouns

Direct object pronouns are words that replace nouns, avoiding the need for repetition. Let’s look at them in more detail. The first category is probably the most common in both French & English and are as follows : (these are known as direct pronouns)

English: it, her, him & them, French : le, la, les & l’

e.g. I see it > je le/la vois I know them > je les connais I want her > je la veux

There are 2 differences between pronouns in French & English. Firstly, in French they have to refer back to the original word (Feminine, masculine or plural) of the noun and secondly, the word order is different to English

le = it or him la = it or her les = them __l’ __= it, him or her (singular) starting with a vowel

So : je__ l’aime could be : I like __it, him or her

Note that pronouns in French are placed before the verb :

Je les prends > I take them, je l’__ai acheté > I bought it, je __les veux > I want them, Il ne le veut pas > he doesn’t want it

However, if there are 2 verbs, the pronoun goes before the second verb :

Je voudrais le voir > I’d like to see it j’aimerais __l’__acheter > I’d like to buy it

Elle ne veut pas __la __prendre > she doesn’t want to take it

Translate: I, you, he, she, we, you (pl), they (masculine, feminine)
Your answer should include: je / tu / il / elle / nous / vous / ils / elles
Translate: we saw it (the dog)
nous l'avons vu

Indirect object pronouns

Indirect object pronouns

The second type of pronouns are known as an indirect object pronouns* and are as follows :

[*If you have learnt Latin or German, you would known them as Dative]

(to/for**) him (to/for**) her: __lui __

(to/for**) them: leur

Verbs in French that are followed by à will take this type of pronoun

**You have to be a bit careful, as we in English can sometimes drop the to/for!

This time strangely enough, the French make NO distinction between Feminine or Masculine

As before, they are placed in front of the verb but this time, there is NO agreement in the perfect tense.

Je lui donne une mauvaise note > I give (to)him/her a bad grade

I bought chocolates for them > je leur ai acheté des chocolats [NO agreement !]

What is the the difference between ‘lui’ and ‘leur’?
Your answer should include: lui is for him/her / leur is for them
Translate: I gave her a car
je lui ai donné une voiture