Using le or l' to refer to previously mentioned ideas (direct object pronoun)

To avoid repeating the same statement, idea or opinion more than once, you usually use an object pronoun to refer to it in both English and French.

Ideas, opinions and statements introduced by que

Look at these examples:

Je veux tellement qu'ils finissent ensemble. Je le souhaite de tout mon cœur.I want them to end up together so much. I wish it with all my heart.

Je pense que c'est le meilleur candidat. Je le pense sincèrement.I think that he's the best candidate. I sincerely think that. 

Je pense qu'elle est parfaite. Je l'ai toujours pensé et je le penserai toujours.I think that she's perfect. I've always thought so and I always will.

- Est-ce que tu savais qu'ils se connaissaient ? - Non, je ne le savais pas !- Did you know that they knew each other? - No, I didn't know that!

To refer to previously mentioned ideas, opinions and statements introduced by que, you use the neuter pronoun le (or l' in front of a vowel or mute h).

ATTENTION:

You always use the masculine singular form le or l', even if the idea contains a feminine noun, as it's the whole idea that is considered here.

Actions, ideas and statements introduced by an infinitive

Si nous pouvions partir en vacances, nous le ferions tout de suite. If we could go on holiday [US:vacation], we would do it straight away.

Je veux courir dans les champs. Je veux le faire tout le temps.I want to run in the fields. I want to do it all the time.

Est-ce que tu sais marcher sur les mains ? - Non, je ne sais pas le faire.Do you know how to walk on your hands ? - No, I don't [know how to do that].

- Voulez-vous prendre pour épouse Marie Lise Anaïs Lambert ? - Oui, je le veux.- Do you want to marry Marie Lise Anaïs Lambert? - Yes, I do.

To refer to previously mentioned actions, ideas and statements introduced by an infinitive, you use the neuter pronoun le.
Note that in many cases, you add the neutral verb faire to refer to an action.

 

When ideas are introduced by the preposition à, then you use the adverbial pronoun y! See also Y can replace à + thing / object / location (adverbial pronoun)

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Examples and resources

- Est-ce que tu savais qu'ils se connaissaient ? - Non, je ne le savais pas !- Did you know that they knew each other? - No, I didn't know that!
Tu penses qu'il est bon pour elle ? - Non je ne le pense pas.Do you think he's good for her? - No, I don't think so.
- Voulez-vous prendre pour épouse Marie Lise Anaïs Lambert ? - Oui, je le veux.- Do you want to marry Marie Lise Anaïs Lambert? - Yes, I do.
Je pense qu'elle est parfaite. Je l'ai toujours pensé et je le penserai toujours.I think that she's perfect. I've always thought so and I always will.
Est-ce que tu sais marcher sur les mains ? - Non, je ne sais pas le faire.Do you know how to walk on your hands ? - No, I don't [know how to do that].
- Crois-tu qu'on puisse éradiquer la COVID-19 un jour ? - Je veux le croire.- Do you believe that we could eradicate COVID-19 one day? - I want to believe it.
Je pense que c'est le meilleur candidat. Je le pense sincèrement.I think that he's the best candidate. I sincerely think that. 
Si nous pouvions partir en vacances, nous le ferions tout de suite. If we could go on holiday [US:vacation], we would do it straight away.
Je veux tellement qu'ils finissent ensemble. Je le souhaite de tout mon cœur.I want them to end up together so much. I wish it with all my heart.
Je veux courir dans les champs. Je veux le faire tout le temps.I want to run in the fields. I want to do it all the time.
Pauline pense vraiment que c'est bien de faire des études ? - Oui, Pauline le pense vraiment.Pauline really thinks that it's good to study? -Yes, Pauline really thinks so.
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