Using "plaire" to express liking something / someone

In French, to say that you like [something] or find [someone] attractive ('like' them), you can use the verb plaire.

Look at these sentences with plaire:

Cette veste plaît à Marie.
Marie likes this jacket.

Ces peintures ne plaisent pas à mon frère.
My brother doesn't like these paintings.

As you can see, the structure of the sentence with plaire is quite different than with another verb like aimer. So ...

How to use plaire in a sentence ?

Think of the verb plaire as the verb to be pleasing in English:

Martha likes chocolate   ->   Chocolate pleases Martha.

In French, you actually say plaire à [quelqu'un] (lit. to be pleasing 'to' [someone])

Le chocolat plaît à Martha.

Note that the verb agrees with the thing being liked, not the person who likes it.

Therefore with things you only use the 3rd person of plaire: 3rd person singular - is pleasing (plaît in Le Présent) and 3rd person plural - are pleasing (plaisent in Le Présent).


BUT 

You can also use plaire with people to say to find [someone] attractive: 

In this case, you can use all conjugated forms of plaire:

French English
je plais à Luc Luc likes me
tu plais à Luc Luc likes you
il/elle/on plaît à Luc Luc likes him/her/us
nous plaisons à Luc Luc likes us
vous plaisez à Luc Luc likes you
ils/elles plaisent à Luc Luc likes them

Mateo plaît à Thérèse.
Thérèse finds Mateo attractive.

How to say I/you/he/she/we/they like [something/ someone] with plaire ?

Les fleurs me plaisent
I like the flowers

Le repas te plaît?
Are you enjoying the meal?

Je lui plais.
She likes me.

Elle nous plaît.
We like her.

Nous vous plaisons.
You like us.

Tu leur plais.
They like you.

Note that you're literally saying [this] is pleasing to me, you, him, her..., that's why you use indirect object pronouns me/te/lui/nous/vous/leur, as such:

Object(s) + ind.obj.pron. + plaire 

See also Aimer = to love, like something / someone


ATTENTION:
In French you can also use the expression faire plaisir à [quelqu'un] to say to please [someone]to make [someone] happy.

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Tu leur plais.
They like you.


Nous vous plaisons.
You like us.


Elle nous plaît.
We like her.


Mateo plaît à Thérèse.
Thérèse finds Mateo attractive.


Ces peintures ne plaisent pas à mon frère.
My brother doesn't like these paintings.


Je lui plais.
She likes me.


Cette veste plaît à Marie.
Marie likes this jacket.


Cette fille lui plaît.
He finds this girl attractive.
He likes this girl.


plaire


Marie me plaît
I like Marie. [i.e. more in a romantic sense]


Les fleurs me plaisent
I like the flowers


Le repas te plaît?
Are you enjoying the meal?


Ça me plaît!
I like that


Q&A Forum 11 questions, 28 answers

BillA2Kwiziq community member

wacky pedagogy

Your explanations often are confusing.  You write "Note that the verb agrees with the object"But what you mean is

"The pleasing thing or person is the subject, and as always, subjects and verbs agree.  The person or thing being pleased is placed as an indirect object, either as the object of the preposition à or with an indirect object pronoun.

Asked 5 months ago
GruffKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Bill, thanks for pointing that out. The word 'object' can be the source of a lot of confusion when we want to talk about objects in the traditional sense at the same time as verb objects, especially when their roles are reversed like this.

I've rephrased that sentence to remove the word 'object' entirely.

wacky pedagogy

Your explanations often are confusing.  You write "Note that the verb agrees with the object"But what you mean is

"The pleasing thing or person is the subject, and as always, subjects and verbs agree.  The person or thing being pleased is placed as an indirect object, either as the object of the preposition à or with an indirect object pronoun.

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StuartB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I thought I would see a reference to the phrase everyone would know in this lesson, namely «s’il vous plaît»

Asked 11 months ago
StuartB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Pourquoi pas?

I thought I would see a reference to the phrase everyone would know in this lesson, namely «s’il vous plaît»

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DA2Kwiziq community member

Je confonds. "She likes this book. HINT: Use ''plaire''

Je confonds. Pourquoi  "Ce livre plait a elle" ne vas pas mais "ce livre lui plait" correct? 

Merci

Asked 11 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi D,

Ce livre plaît à elle is not correct French it is,

Ce livre lui plaît .

You could say: Ce livre plaît beaucoup à Elsa.

But if you use a pronoun it will need to be before the verb.

Take a look at the examples in the lesson for further explanation.

Hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Because plaire needs an indirect object and the indirect object of elle is lui. 

Je confonds. "She likes this book. HINT: Use ''plaire''

Je confonds. Pourquoi  "Ce livre plait a elle" ne vas pas mais "ce livre lui plait" correct? 

Merci

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StuartB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Can I use this construction with an infinitive as the "object" of the liking?

I know how to use aimer + infinitive to express liking.  J'aime manger!  Par exemple.  How about Manger me plait?   Probably not, but just wondering.
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Stuart, 

You can do but more in written form although the 'manger me plaît' seems a bit strange to me using this structure.

I think you would say: " J'aime manger"...

You might say, "Danser le tango me plaît énormément" ...

Hope this helps!

StuartB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Comme je crois.  Merci!
StuartB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
J’ai voulu dire que j’ai cru ça.   N’est-ce pas?
OmkaarA1Kwiziq community member
You mean comme j'ai cru...
CécileKwiziq team member

You would probably want to say -

C'est ce que je croyais = That's what I thought

Can I use this construction with an infinitive as the "object" of the liking?

I know how to use aimer + infinitive to express liking.  J'aime manger!  Par exemple.  How about Manger me plait?   Probably not, but just wondering.

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MarnieC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Plaire à vs aimer

Don't know about other people but I would really appreciate a section in the lesson on when to use "aimer" and when to say "plaire à". Great lessons individually on how to use these two expressions but not on when or why one is used instead of the other.  Merçi!

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Marnie,

This is a good point... 

Because 'aimer' signifies to 'love' someone, the French will often steer clear of it or add 'bien' to indicate just a liking for a person .

The verb 'plaire' is widely used in French to indicate a liking for a  thing or a person and some students avoid it as it is a difficult passive construction but that's probably the one you will hear most often.

Here are a few examples to indicate the differences -

Ce cinéma me plaît = I like this cinema ( in other words, you like going there)

as opposed to,

'J'aime le cinéma' which means, you like/love films

The following sentences highlight the differences between the two verbs used to convey very different meanings -

J'aime Michel = I love Michel

J'aime bien Michel I like Michel 

Michel me plaît = I really like/ fancy Michel

which could be awkward !

Hope this helps!

MarnieC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
meant to say "plaire" not "plaire à"!
MarnieC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thank you Cécile.  It does help in more ways than one!  I've been making mistakes in the quizzes because I didn't understand why and when one says "j'aime ..." as opposed to "j'aime bien..." which in English would be "stronger" than "j'aime".  Now I know!

Plaire à vs aimer

Don't know about other people but I would really appreciate a section in the lesson on when to use "aimer" and when to say "plaire à". Great lessons individually on how to use these two expressions but not on when or why one is used instead of the other.  Merçi!

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MaryB2Kwiziq community member

She likes me translates to: "Je lui plais."    Why isn't the pronoun  "elle" ?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Mary,

In 'Je lui plais', for 'She likes me' , lui could replace both a man or a woman. You would know which from the context.

It is an indirect object pronoun which has to be used because the verb is 'plaire à '.

Have a look at the following lesson for more details-

Replacing people with lui, leur = him, her, them (indirect object pronouns)

Hope this helps !

 

 

She likes me translates to: "Je lui plais."    Why isn't the pronoun  "elle" ?

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SandraA2Kwiziq community member

Why is this the correct answer? ‘Les peintures moderns lui plaisent.Why is there not

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer
Take, for example, the sentence "Je parle à Marie." -- I talk to Marie. And now take a look at "Je lui parle." -- I talk to her. You'll notice that the "à" has vanished. It's been absorbed into the pronoun "lui" which replaces an indirect object in a sentence.

"Les peintures plaisent à Pierre." -- Pierre likes the paintings.
"Les peintures lui plaisent." -- He likes the paintings (no "à" in this case).

I hope that helps, -- Chris (not a native speaker)
SandraA2Kwiziq community member
I meant to add ‘Why is there not ‘à’ or an example of why the answer is correct in the lesson?’ Has something gone over my head?
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Les très bons exemples. Merci !
SandraA2Kwiziq community member
Perhaps it would help to put Claus’ examples in the lesson. I’m sure I’m not the only one who found this confusing.
SandraA2Kwiziq community member
Thank you very much Claus. It’s not entirely clear to me yet. However with your explanation I can work on where I am lacking background knowledge such as indirect objects:)
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Sandra, The other verb that uses the subject indirect object reversal is «manquer à». You might possibly find some clarity by taking a look at that verb. Sentence syntax is the same as for «plaire», i.e. the subject is the thing that pleases or is missed by the person represented by the indirect object.
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
To check if it is a direct or indirect object substitute a name for it (e.g., Marie, and don't worry if the sentence doesn't make much sense anymore). And if there is a preposition in front of the name, it is an indirect object. Otherwise it is a direct object. To wit, first in English: Lucy eats an apple. First, substitute Marie for the part in question: Lucy eats Marie. No preposition in front of Marie, hence a direct object. Lucy talks to me. Substitute Marie: Lucy talks to Marie. There is a preposition in front of Marie, hence an jndirect object. In French: Lucie parle à Marie -- indirect object. Lucie mange des pommes : Lucie mange Marie : direct object. -- Chris.
SandraA2Kwiziq community member
Thank you Ron. Manquer à has always confused me to with regard to who is missing whom. So I’ll tackle both together until I wrangle the sense out of them!
SandraA2Kwiziq community member
Thank you for the extra information Chris. I appreciate you taking the time.

Why is this the correct answer? ‘Les peintures moderns lui plaisent.Why is there not

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JamesA2Kwiziq community member

Is this passive voice?

In the sentence, "je plais à Luc", it would seem that "je" would be the subject and "Luc" the object, but in the translation, "Luc likes me", that is turned around and "Luc" is the subject and "me" the object. So the english translation doesn't feel passive but the french does.
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour James, Let me see if I can help answer this one for you or at least provide some insight. In the phrase «je plais à Luc» --> I am pleasing to Luc or I please to Luc (awkward phrase). Here is the lesson explanation in part: In French, you actually say plaire à [quelqu'un] (lit. to be pleasing 'to' [someone]) Le chocolat plaît à Martha. Note that the verb agrees with the object - the person or thing being liked, not the person who likes. One quick story here: When I traveled to Rouen, I had a guide whom I like a lot and she gave us very useful historical information. So at the end of the day trip as I was handing her the tip I told her: Votre présentation me plaît beaucoup, c'était très intéressante et instructive. (actually, I should have stated «m'a plu beaucoup»). The take-away is this, I was telling her that her presentation was pleasing to me a lot. But in French the correct syntax is: Votre présentation me plaît beaucoup --> Your presentation is pleasing to me. This is another example of a verb where the syntax changes like the verb «manquer à» but that is another lesson. J'espère que ma réponse vous aidera bien.
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
"Je plais à Luc" is literally translated as "I please Luc". Je = subject plais = verb (first person singular of plaire) à Luc = indirect object. The problem arises when you translate this sentence into proper English. You would say "Luc likes me" and here the roles of subject and indirect object are reversed. But this is due to the verb "like" which takes these things in opposite order and NOT due to the French being in passive voice. -- Chris (not a native speaker).

Is this passive voice?

In the sentence, "je plais à Luc", it would seem that "je" would be the subject and "Luc" the object, but in the translation, "Luc likes me", that is turned around and "Luc" is the subject and "me" the object. So the english translation doesn't feel passive but the french does.

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StephenC1Kwiziq community member

Ce restaurant plâit à nous . Cette veste plâit à Marie. Please could you explain to

One of these is correct . Please explain.
Asked 2 years ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Stephen,

You cannot say, 

Ce restaurant plaît à nous. , it will be , Ce restaurant nous plaît.

You can however, say-

Ce restaurant plaît à Marie  because it is a named person .

When you use a pronoun it has to go before the verb.

Hope this helps!

StephenC1Kwiziq community member
Sorry I pressed the wrong buttons. I don't understand why one of these statements is incorrect. Can you help please?

Ce restaurant plâit à nous . Cette veste plâit à Marie. Please could you explain to

One of these is correct . Please explain.

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ZsuzsaB1Kwiziq community member

Bonjour,

Asked 2 years ago
ZsuzsaB1Kwiziq community member
I'm sorry, the message sender is playing tricks on me, so I'm sending my question as a Reply... Is it completely incorrect to say for example 'Je plais á mon copain' in the sense that 'My boyfriend likes me'? Merci, bonne journée
Zsuzsa asked:View original

Bonjour,

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DipikaA2Kwiziq community member

Is the sentence correct.. Le repas me plaît.

Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Dipika ! Oui, this sentence is perfectly correct: Bravo !

Is the sentence correct.. Le repas me plaît.

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