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Indirect object + en (double pronouns)

Some sentences can contain two object pronouns:
- an indirect object pronoun [See Me, te, nous, vous = Me, you, us, you (direct and indirect object pronouns) and Replacing people with lui, leur = him, her, them (indirect object pronouns)]
and
- the adverbial pronoun "en"  [See also En can replace de + phrase (adverbial pronoun) and En with quantities = Of them (adverbial pronoun)]

Have a look at these examples:

Pierre m'en a offert.
Pierre offered me some of them.

Nous t'en avons vendu.
We sold you some.

Il lui en a donné dix.
He gave him/her ten (of them).

Elle nous en a montré trois.
She showed us three (of them).

Ils vous en ont parlé.
They told you about it.

Elle leur en a parlé.
She told them about it.

There are two important patterns to notice in these sentences that are different to English. 

1) the two pronouns both go before the verb:
 
Je donne du pain à Maurice -> Je lui en donne.
I'm giving Maurice some bread. -> I'm giving him some.
 
2) The order is ALWAYS:
 
    me/te/lui/nous/vous/leur  (before)  en

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Elle leur en a parlé.
She told them about it.


Elle nous en a montré trois.
She showed us three (of them).


Pierre m'en a offert.
Pierre offered me some of them.


Il lui en a donné dix.
He gave him/her ten (of them).


Nous t'en avons vendu.
We sold you some.


Ils vous en ont parlé.
They told you about it.


Micro kwiz: Indirect object + en (double pronouns)
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Q&A

Ramsay

Kwiziq community member

7 January 2018

2 replies

Use of "en" rather than "y"

In "she gives me four every week," shouldn't it be "elle m'y donne" rather than "elle m'en donne"? Isn't "en" only used where the article is "de"? As far as I know, it's "donner à," not "donner de."

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

9 February 2018

9/02/18

Hi  Ramsay,


The pronoun en in this case refers to quantities  and replaces the noun it refers to.


e.g. Vous avez des enfants? oui, j'en ai deux  or je n'en ai pas ( en replaces the noun enfants )


Do you have children ? yes, I have two (of them) or I don't have any ( of them) .


Je voudrais des pommes . Vous en voulez combien ? j'en voudrais un kilo svp.en replaces the noun pommes)


I'd like some apples.  How many would you like? I'd like a kilo ( of them ) please .


Hope this helps!

Chris

Kwiziq community member

8 January 2018

8/01/18

Good question, Ramsey, but look at this sentence:


Elle donne quatre œufs à Anne.
She gives four eggs to Anne.


Elle en donne quatre à Anne.
She gives four of them to Anne.


The "en" in this sentence refers to the collections of eggs, of which she gives four to Ann. It does not refer to "à Anne". And even then you couldn't replace "à Anne" by "y" because Anne is a person and "y" shouldn't be used to refer to persons.


But:


Elle met quatre œufs sur la table.
She puts four eggs on the table.


Elle y en met quatre.
She puts four of them there.


Hope that helps,


-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Andrew

Kwiziq community member

20 December 2016

3 replies

She gives me four every week

Why cant "She gives me four every week" be translated as Elle ME donne quatre toutes les semaines. Why does it have to be: Elle M'EN donne quatre toutes les semaines.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

20 December 2016

20/12/16

Bonjour Andrew !

Because here when you say "She gives me four" in English, you imply "four (of what)", and in French you need to repeat in some capacity the thing that you have four of, which is done with the pronoun "en".
Have a look at our related lesson:
https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/revision/grammar/the-adverbial-pronoun-en-means-of-them-with-quantities

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

Andrew

Kwiziq community member

20 December 2016

20/12/16

Wow thanks for your quick response and link to more of your excellent notes (they are really helping me a lot!! - I've spent 2 years on duolingo and only now are things starting to fall into place)

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

20 December 2016

20/12/16

I'm very happy that Kwiziq is helping you improve !

Joyeuses Fêtes à vous !

Charles

Kwiziq community member

25 September 2016

2 replies

Use of "en" to indicate "it" - one of something.

I've become comfortable thinking of "en" as "some" or "some of them" as in your example "Il m'en a offert." But it's use as "it" in "Elle leur en a parlé" is throwing me. Why "en" and not "Elle la/le leur a parlé" ?

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

27 September 2016

27/09/16

In addition to "some," en has a separate meaning: it replaces de + something.


For example, Elle leur a parlé de son idée --> Elle leur en a parlé: lesson.

Charles

Kwiziq community member

28 September 2016

28/09/16

Of course! I remember that lesson now. I had not grasped that en, as a pronoun, has two distinct meanings. Many thanks for reinforcing this.
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