Difference between subjects, objects and pronouns - Grammar Point

When learning a language, it is important to know a few essential grammatical concepts.

Learn about subjects, objects and pronouns in French 

A verb has a subject (the person or thing doing the verb), and may have an object (the thing being done to).

Languages have a variety of positions for the subject, verb and object. English is mostly a subject-verb-object, or SVO language.

Consider these two sentences:

subject verb object
John throws the ball
Marie studies English


French is also (mostly) SVO. Consider these sentences:

subject verb object
Jean lance la balle
Marie étudie l'anglais


In French, however, when we replace the object noun (la balle or l'anglais, in the above examples) with an object pronoun (la, le, l', les), the object pronoun moves in front of the verb, making the sentence structure SOV:

subject object (pron) verb meaning
Jean  la lance Jean throws it
Marie l' étudie Marie studies it


Also note that the subject can be replaced with a subject pronoun:

Il la lance.He throws it.

Elle l'étudie.She studies it.

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Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Elle l'étudie.She studies it.
Il la lance.He throws it.
Grammar made easy: subjects, verbs and objects explained.
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