When to use which structure?

DanielleA1Kwiziq community member

When to use which structure?

This is the first lesson I can't work out the difference between the two structures something + "plaît à..." versus the reflexive something + "me plaisent."

Both descriptions say they are to like something, I can't work out when to use which structure.  I've re-read the lesson about 3 times, so I'm looking for additional clarification..

Asked 9 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

If you use the English verb "to appeal" for the French plaire, you'll get a better feel for the French construction:

Cette veste me plaît. -- This vest appeals to me.

In this sentence, me, is not a reflexive pronoun but the indirect object pronoun of the 1st person singular. You can see this better, if you substitute a name and then replace the name with its pronoun:

Cette veste plaît à Marie. -- This vest appeals to Marie.
Cette veste lui plaît. -- This vest appeals to her.

The subject of the sentence is cette veste, and the verb needs to match it:

Cette veste plaît à Marie.
Ces vestes plaisent à Marie.

JeffA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

From what I can tell, the difference is simply whether you want to name the thing liked or use a pronoun.  In which case it doesn't seem to be any different from using inderect object pronouns with parler, demander, etc.

Examples: --

Je parle à Marie -- I speak to Marie.

Je lui parle -- I speak to her. 

When to use which structure?

This is the first lesson I can't work out the difference between the two structures something + "plaît à..." versus the reflexive something + "me plaisent."

Both descriptions say they are to like something, I can't work out when to use which structure.  I've re-read the lesson about 3 times, so I'm looking for additional clarification..

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Ask a question

Find your French level for FREE

Test your French to the CEFR standard

Find your French level
Let me take a look at that...