Replacing nouns with le, la, l', les = it, him, her, them (direct object pronouns)

Tip: If the words "direct object pronoun" strike horror and panic into your heart, scroll to the cartoon video in the examples explaining them. They're actually pretty easy to figure out.

Or, just learn by example:

Je la déteste   
I hate her/it

Je le casse
I break it/him

Tu les vois      
You see them

Je l'utilise     
I'm using it/him/her 

Je l'appelle.
I call her/him.

Je les appelle.
I call them.

These sentences show how to replace specified persons or things by pronouns (le, la, l', les) to avoid repetition:

Je déteste Marie  ->  Je la déteste
I hate Marie  ->  I hate her

Je casse le verre  ->  Je le casse
I break the glass  ->  I break it

Tu vois Paul et Léa  -> Tu les vois    
You see Paul and Léa  ->  You see them

J'utilise la règle  ->  Je l'utilise  
I'm using the ruler  ->  I'm using it 

Notice that you use the pronouns "le/la/l'/les", which agree in gender and number with the person or thing they replace.
Remember that in French, things have gender.

Note also that you put le, la, l', les before the verb!

N.B.:  l'  is used for feminine or masculine when in front of a vowel or a silent h.

Compare these cases with:

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

Me, te, nous, vous = Me, you, us, you (direct and indirect object pronouns) 

 

And see also Position of direct and indirect object pronouns with negation 

 

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Je l'utilise     
I'm using it/him/her 


Il la touche
He's touching it/her


Je l'adore    
I adore him/her/it


Tu les vois      
You see them



Je le casse
I break it/him


Je les appelle.
I call them.


Elle le déteste  
She hates him/it


Je l'appelle.
I call her/him.


Je la déteste   
I hate her/it


Q&A Forum 11 questions, 31 answers

EmmaB2

Bonjour, Is it Remercier à qqn or Remercier qqn?

Asked 5 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Emma,

It is ‘remercier quelqu’un’ ....

EmmaB2

Merci Cécile. This has been a long time question in my head and now I finally know the answer :)

Merci cécile. Ça fait longetemps de cette question et finalment je connais le réponse

Bonjour, Is it Remercier à qqn or Remercier qqn?

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"Qui l'a invité" is correct in the answers. isnt it INVITER À qn?? Isn't it an INDIRECT pronoun??

Asked 8 months ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star

Bonjour Michael !

Non, in French, you say inviter [quelqu'un]  :)

Bonne journée !

Not according to the French-English Dictionary on the Internet, which is usually pretty darned good!

inviter Verb, transitive to invite, ask (à, to)

It is inviter quelqu'un à quelque chose. -- To invite someone (direct object) to something (indirect object).

Anne? Je l'ai invitée à la fête. -- Anne? I invited her tonthe party. 

TomC1

Michael,

I believe your confusion may lie in the understanding of the terms transitve/intransitive in relation to verbs.

A transitive verb takes a direct object, i.e. there is no preposition between the verb and its object, so in this case 'I invite Anne'. The dictionary entry goes on the mention 'à' but this is subsequent to the direct object, e.g.I invite Anne to the party.

Intransitive verbs either take no object (e.g. I exist) or they take an indirect object, i.e. an object coupled to the verb by a preposition (e.g. I sit on the floor).

The key in dictionary entries is whether the verb is marked transitive (vt) or intransitive (vi) or both!

Hope this helps and I apologise if you already know this stuff

Thanks, Tom but how does this theory fit with DIRE (Verb TRANSITIVE) and an example like je LUI ai dit que c'était trop tard I told him (that) it was too late?????

TomC1

This can be explained by using slightly different terminology.

Verbs can be 1. Transitive direct (take a direct object) 2. Transitive indirect (take an indirect object) 3. Intransitive (take no object). This terminology is probably clearer than that used in my previous reply.

Examples:

Transitive direct - J'ai attrapé le ballon;  Transitive indirect - J'ai télephoné à Jean;  Intransitive -J'existe

Some verbs such as DIRE are both Transitive direct and Transitive indirect

Transitive direct - Je dis la vérité;  Transitive Indirect - J'ai dit à Jean: "Ferme la porte"

Hope this makes things clearer.

Tom

Tahnks for your response, again.

I do "get it", but wonder if there is a list of which verbs are which???

No list that I know of. Many verbs can belong to more than one group. So it's best to learn this with every new verb you acquire. Remember, learning a language is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself and find ways to continue to enjoy the process. It all falls into place eventually. 

"Qui l'a invité" is correct in the answers. isnt it INVITER À qn?? Isn't it an INDIRECT pronoun??

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Chercher à?

Isn't it understood structure "chercher à," thus an indirect object would be used? I put "Il lui cherche" on a kwizz and got it wrong. 
Asked 10 months ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

Hi Claire,

the verb "chercher" takes a direct object and means "to look for".

Je cherche mes clés. -- I am looking for my keys. 

There is a version of chercher which uses an indirect object "chercher à" and it means "to have the intention". 

Je cherche à faire mes devoirs. -- I intend to do my homework. 

But this is more of a special case. When chercher is used in the sense of "to look for", it uses a direct object.

Chercher à?

Isn't it understood structure "chercher à," thus an indirect object would be used? I put "Il lui cherche" on a kwizz and got it wrong. 

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direct object pronouns

hi can you please help me with this example

J'ai encore des cadeaux à acheter - Marie les a déjà tous achetés.

Why is this not Marie en a déjà......

I thought that if it is a partitive then you use en.

thank you for your help

Cordialement

Krissa

Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Bonjour Krissa !

You can only use "en" when you're replacing a group introduced by de, du, de la or des.


See also https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/the-adverbial-pronoun-en-can-replace-a-phrase-introduced-by-de


In this sentence - Marie les a déjà tous achetés. - the presence of "tous" means that the original sentence would be :
Marie a déjà acheté tous les cadeaux.
So no "des" here, therefore "en" is not an option in this sentence, only the direct object pronoun les is correct here.  

Bonne journée !

direct object pronouns

hi can you please help me with this example

J'ai encore des cadeaux à acheter - Marie les a déjà tous achetés.

Why is this not Marie en a déjà......

I thought that if it is a partitive then you use en.

thank you for your help

Cordialement

Krissa

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J'ai encore des cadeaux à acheter

Shouldn't this be:

Marie "EN" a déjà tous achetés.  

Since the article here is "des" and not "les"... We just know there are "some" presents to buy, not any specific ones.

Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Bonjour Jonathan !

You can only use "en" when you're replacing a group introduced by de, du, de la or des.

See also https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/the-adverbial-pronoun-en-can-replace-a-phrase-introduced-by-de

In this sentence - Marie les a déjà tous achetés. - the presence of "tous" means that the original sentence would be :
Marie a déjà acheté tous les cadeaux.
So no "des" here, therefore "en" is not an option in this sentence, only the direct object pronoun les is correct here.  

 

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

 

I Jonathan,

Grammatically, both possibilities are correct, although they have different connotations:

Marie en a déjà tous achetés. Versus: Marie les a déjà tous achetés.

The first one (with "en") implies that there is a certain fixed set of presents of which Marie bought all. The second one makes no such implication. I guess you would account for that in English like this, somehow:

Marie en a déjà achetés. -- Marie already bought all of them.
Marie les a déjà achetés. -- Marie bought them all.

I hope that helps, -- Chris (not a native speaker).

J'ai encore des cadeaux à acheter

Shouldn't this be:

Marie "EN" a déjà tous achetés.  

Since the article here is "des" and not "les"... We just know there are "some" presents to buy, not any specific ones.

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Il écrit souvant à ses parents? Non,il ne———(ne jamais écrire).

Please help me to fill the blank
Asked 3 years ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

Hi Shruti,

Il écrit souvent à ses parents? - Non, il ne leur écrit jamais.

In this sentence you are replacing the indirect object "ses parents". Since it is 3rd person plural, the pronoun to use is "leur". In case of a direct object it is "les":

Tu as vu mes amis? - Oui, je les ai vu.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

AurélieKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

@Chris : Don't forget that when using direct object pronouns with auxiliary avoir, you need to agree with it, as it's placed before the auxiliary:

Tu les as vus.  or  Tu les as vues.

@Shruti: Have a look at our lesson on indirect object pronouns:
https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/when-to-use-lui-and-leur-to-replace-specific-people-with-him-her-and-them-indirect-object-pronouns

Bonne journée !

Thank you Aurélie. :))

-- Chris.

Il écrit souvant à ses parents? Non,il ne———(ne jamais écrire).

Please help me to fill the blank

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Where would you put le la les if there are two verbs in a sentence

Asked 5 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Bonjour Khush !

The position of object pronoun in sentences with a conjugated verb + infinitive is:

conjugated verb + le, la, l', les + infinitive

See our related lesson:
https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/position-of-object-pronouns-in-sentences-with-infinitives

If you mean a verb conjugated in a coumpound tense, it will be:

le, la, l', les + auxiliary verb + past participle

See our related lesson : 
https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/position-of-object-pronouns-with-verbs-in-compound-tenses

Bonne journée !

plz help
GruffKwiziq language super star
Hi Khush - can you give an example of the sort of sentence with two verbs you mean? There are lots of ways multiple verbs can appear in a sentence, so I'm not clear what you're asking.

Where would you put le la les if there are two verbs in a sentence

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Would this be correct usage?

Le, la, l'=direct object; leur=indirect object; eux=pronoun with prepositions (and what is that called?)
Asked 9 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Stuart, Yes, yes, and yes - eux is what's known as a stressed pronoun.
Merci. (Et je m'appelle Susan.)

Would this be correct usage?

Le, la, l'=direct object; leur=indirect object; eux=pronoun with prepositions (and what is that called?)

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why " j'achète un ppantalon." become "je l'achète" ?

Asked 4 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Bonjour Ashraf,

Actually it's a bit more complicated!

Here 'un pantalon' means 'a pair of trousers'. Depending on context, you could use l' or en :

J'achète un pantalon. J'en achète un.
(I'm buying a pair of trousers. I'm buying one.)

J'ai acheté un pantalon. Je l'adore !  
(I bought a pair of trousers. I love it!)

J'achète des pantalons. J'en achète. 
(I'm buying some pairs of trousers. I'm buying some.)

You can only use en on its own when talking about a vague or uncountable quantity (some).

I hope that's helpful!

LauraKwiziq language super star

Bonjour Ashraf,

It doesn't; j'achète un pantalon should become j'en achète.

Could you please give me the link where you saw this?

I saw it here in this site
I saw it here in this site

why " j'achète un ppantalon." become "je l'achète" ?

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When am i going to use en or le le l' and les

Asked 4 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Bonjour Naime,

You use le, la, l', or les when replacing a direct object (a noun with no preposition in front). You need en when the noun is preceded by de.

See lesson https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/the-adverbial-pronoun-en-can-replace-a-phrase-introduced-by-de

For example,

J'ai vu le chat = Je l'ai vu.
J'ai parlé du chat = J'en ai parlé.

When am i going to use en or le le l' and les

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when is les used and when is leur used

Asked 5 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Bonjour Priscilla,

Les is the plural French direct object, so it's used as explained in this lesson.

Leur is the indirect object, which you can read about here: https://www.french-test.com/my-languages/french/view/710

 

I've seen that explanation in many places. But it's not so easy to figure out when a verb will take a direct object or an indirect object, particularly when French verbs take prepositions in situations when English verbs won't (and vice versa). I guess it is something you just have to get a feel for after seeing many examples and situations.
AurélieKwiziq language super star

Indeed Stuart, if most of the verbs are quite similar to English structure - voir [quelqu'un]to see [someone] - there are several cases that simply need to be learned as different from English - téléphoner à [quelqu'un]to phone [someone]   

:)

when is les used and when is leur used

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