Why is it: je vais leur téléphoner but tu détestes les entendre?

Christine

Kwiziq community member

26 March 2016

5 replies

Why is it: je vais leur téléphoner but tu détestes les entendre?

This question relates to:
French lesson "Position of object pronouns with infinitives"

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

26 March 2016

26/03/16

Bonjour Christine,

It's a question of indirect vs direct objects.

In French, the verb téléphoner requires the preposition à: Je vais téléphoner à mes parents. The preposition makes mes parents the indirect object, so it has to be replaced with the indirect object pronoun leur.

In comparison, the verb détester does not need a preposition: Tu détestes entendre tes parents, so tes parents is the direct object and is replaced by the direct object pronoun les.

Here are some lessons you might find helpful:

Direct objects

Indirect objects

Christine

Kwiziq community member

26 March 2016

26/03/16

Many thanks, I think I will have to spend some time getting my head round this concept! Christine

Charles

Kwiziq community member

8 April 2016

8/04/16

Hi Christine -- Spanish has very similar constructions. I find it helpful to think of it as "to", as in "I gave the book to her". You then just have to adjust to each verb because many don't need "to" in French where they do in English - and vice versa. Eg. "I listen to my parents" becomes "I listen my parents" in French. "I'll phone you" becomes "I'll phone to you". Then the direct/indirect object pronouns fall into place without having to think further. It's a simplification and doesn't ALWAYS work, but as you get to know which verbs do or don't take "à", it's generally a good mental shortcut. I hope that helps! Charles.

Lucy

Kwiziq community member

9 April 2016

9/04/16

Thanks - that could be the light bulb moment for me!

Lucy

Kwiziq community member

9 April 2016

9/04/16

Thanks - that could be the light bulb moment for me!

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