Le, la, les vs lui, leur in affirmative commands (L'Impératif)

Look at these sentences in L'Impératif:  

Appelle-les !
Call them!

Verse-le dans un verre.
Pour it in a glass.

Envoie-lui un paquet !
Send him/her a package!

Parlez-leur !
Speak to them!

 

Note that in L'Impératif, the direct object pronouns le, la, l', les and the indirect object pronouns lui, leur are placed after the verb with an hyphen in between.


ATTENTION:
It's often very confusing for students to know which pronoun to use in affirmative commands.

Look at these two examples:

Nous écrivons à notre tante -> Nous lui écrivons -> Écrivons-lui !
We're writing to our aunt -> We write to her -> Let's write to her!

BUT

Tu arrêtes Paul -> Tu l'arrêtes -> Arrête-le !
You're stopping Paul -> You're stopping him -> Stop him!

Here is the rule:

- If the verb is normally followed by à + person in French (i.e. followed by an indirect object pronoun), such as in écrire à [quelqu'un] (to write to [someone]) or montrer à [quelqu'un] (to show [someone]), then you use lui or leur.

- If the verb isn't followed by any preposition (i.e. followed by a direct object pronoun), such as arrêter [X] [quelqu'un] (to stop [someone]), you use le/la or les.

See also Replacing nouns with le, la, l', les = it, him, her, them (direct object pronouns) and Replacing people with lui, leur = him, her, them (indirect object pronouns) 

Special cases 
Look at these examples:

Attends-le !
Wait for him/it!

Regarde-les !
Look at them!

Regarde-la !
Look at her/it!

Téléphone-lui !
Phone him/her!

Note that quite a few verbs, such as regarder and attendre, are used without prepositions in French, i.e. regarder [x] [quelqu'un]; attendre [x] [quelqu'un], whereas they have one in English (i.e to look at [someone], to wait for [someone]).

On the other hand, some English verbs without prepositions will be followed by à in French, i.e. to phone [someone] = téléphoner à [quelqu'un].

When in doubt, check with a dictionary.

 

See also  Conjugate regular verbs in L'Impératif (imperative)  and Conjugate être, avoir, savoir in L'Impératif (imperative) 

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Envoie-lui un paquet !
Send him/her a package!


Parlez-leur !
Speak to them!


Verse-le dans un verre.
Pour it in a glass.


Écris-leur !
Write to them!


Appelle-les !
Call them!


Regarde-les !
Look at them!


Écrivons-lui !
Let's write to her / to him!


Téléphone-lui !
Phone him/her!


Attends-le !
Wait for him/it!


Regarde-la !
Look at her/it!


Q&A Forum 14 questions, 31 answers

GwenB2Kwiziq community member

confusion

ahah, I see that a lot of people are having some trouble understanding the difference, as well as i.

I went a bit more simple, here are the sentences I'm confused with:

j'ai encore écris lui, mon prof codagej'ai de la chance parce que il a [le répondu]/[répondu lui] il y a deux jour

in the first sentence, I understand that I have to use indirect pronouns as I'm writing *to* [person]. However, this makes it kind of similar in the second sentence as he responded *to* it, but it can be easily confused with lui as I've already mentioned someone with the same type of subject? I'm just confused overall aaaa. 

Asked 8 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Je lui ai encore écris. -- I already wrote him/her.

Il y a répondu. -- He replied to it.

The word order is such that lui appears before the first conjugated verb, which is different from English. In the second sentence you use the pronoun y to replace an indirect object after à. Since it is "répondre à qc", the à qc is replaced by y.

GwenB2Kwiziq community member

Woah, thanks! That's useful to know

confusion

ahah, I see that a lot of people are having some trouble understanding the difference, as well as i.

I went a bit more simple, here are the sentences I'm confused with:

j'ai encore écris lui, mon prof codagej'ai de la chance parce que il a [le répondu]/[répondu lui] il y a deux jour

in the first sentence, I understand that I have to use indirect pronouns as I'm writing *to* [person]. However, this makes it kind of similar in the second sentence as he responded *to* it, but it can be easily confused with lui as I've already mentioned someone with the same type of subject? I'm just confused overall aaaa. 

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JohannaA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Verb form

In the following example, why does Arrête drop the s in the imperative? I’m blanking out on the rule

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Johanna,

This is just the rule for regular verbs of the first group ending in ER , no rhyme or reason , it's just how it is ....

Take a look at the following lesson which will give you lots of examples -

https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/revision/grammar/conjugate-regular-verbs-in-l-imperatif-imperative

Hope this helps!

JohannaA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
i never knew that. Thanks!

Verb form

In the following example, why does Arrête drop the s in the imperative? I’m blanking out on the rule

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CHARLOTTEB2Kwiziq community member

which is correct regarde-me or regarde-moi. I see examples of regarde-la in the lesson so it would be a do pronoun but I have seen regarde-moi as well

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Charlotte,

Regarde-me ! is incorrect but look at the following lesson for more examples:

https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/revision/grammar/how-the-object-pronoun-me-becomes-moi-in-affirmative-commands-imperatif

Regarde-moi! = Look at me!

Attends-moi! = Wait for me!

Aide-moi! Help me! 

Rappelle-moi! Remind me!/ Call me back!

Me will be me in the negative commands like in the following examples :

Ne me regarde pas! Don't look at me!

Ne m'attends pas! Don't wait for me!

Ne m'aide pas! Don't help me!

Ne me rappelle pas! = Don't remind me!

The following lesson will give you more examples  -

https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/revision/grammar/how-object-and-stress-pronouns-behave-in-negative-commands-imperatif

Hope this helps!

 

 

 

SteveB2 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Charlotte,

In short, regarde-moi (look at me) is correct.

Regarde-la is also correct (look at it/her).

Check this lesson regarding the change from me to moi in the imperative: https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/my-languages/french/view/718.

CHARLOTTEB2Kwiziq community member
Hi Steve, Thanks for your answer but regarde-moi is with a stress pronoun but regarde-la is with a do pronoun. I am still confused as to why it wouldn't be regarde-me since me is the do pronoun. Thanks for any help
SteveB2 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

I understand the rule to be:

"When the pronouns me (me/to me) and te (you/to you) are after the verb (in the affirmative), they are replaced by the equivalent stress pronouns moi and toi.

In the negative (there is another lesson for this) me and te are used and appear before the verb."

It is what it is - just another part of the rich tapestry which is the French language.

Don't sweat it.

which is correct regarde-me or regarde-moi. I see examples of regarde-la in the lesson so it would be a do pronoun but I have seen regarde-moi as well

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DaphneB1Kwiziq community member

Pronunciation of the final e in some words

For regarde-les I think I hear a liaison which sounds, to an English person something like regar-delay. 

Similarly for verse-les I think I hear a liaison which sounds like ver-selay.

However I don't hear a similar liaison for téléphone-lui or appelle-les.

Is there a rule for when to  liase the final part of a word ending in the letter e?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Daphne,

Normally the  'e' at the end of a word is not pronounced ( unless it has an accent) and it is called 'mute'.

You are hearing the examples you cite correctly, the 'e' is still mute , but what you hear is the last consonant.

Sometimes you will hear an extra syllable as some people like to pronounce very precisely but in general, in spoken French particularly in the top half of France you are more likely to swallow up 'e' 's and contract syllables.

e.g.

'Regarde-les' can be four syllables (re-gar-de-les)or three( re-garde-les) depending on who says it.

This can be subject to regional differences so no steadfast rule -

In the case of 'Téléphone-lui' ,  you will normally hear four syllables (té-lé-phone-lui) but in the South of France you will probably hear five of them (té-lé-pho-ne-lui) as they like to pronounce all the possible syllables.

Hope this helps!

Pronunciation of the final e in some words

For regarde-les I think I hear a liaison which sounds, to an English person something like regar-delay. 

Similarly for verse-les I think I hear a liaison which sounds like ver-selay.

However I don't hear a similar liaison for téléphone-lui or appelle-les.

Is there a rule for when to  liase the final part of a word ending in the letter e?

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SuzanneB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Hello, would there be a list on Kwiziq of all the that need to add the preposition (montrer à) & all the verbs with the preposition built in?

Asked 1 year ago
SuzanneB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
we have mentioned several here - but there must be a list? I got a message that some where on this list there is an answer to this question but I don't see it. Thank you, Suzanne
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

I don't know of such a list ib kwiziq. An online dictionary is useful for this, such as this:

https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english-french

SuzanneB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Just to push this a bit further, what phrase would you use to find this list on Collins? I haven't found the right one yet. 

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Maybe this will help:

https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/verbs-with-prepositions/

SuzanneB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Merci beaucoup!!! 

Hello, would there be a list on Kwiziq of all the that need to add the preposition (montrer à) & all the verbs with the preposition built in?

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FionaB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

If I can say 'telephone-lui, why can I not say "regarde-lui? I cannot see the difference.

Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

That's because the verb "téléphoner" in French requires an indirect object

-> téléphoner à [quelqu'un]  -  to phone [someone]

FionaB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Oh okay merci Aurelie- Sorry my accents are not working I do not know why but thank you for that clarification.

If I can say 'telephone-lui, why can I not say "regarde-lui? I cannot see the difference.

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FionaB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Je ne comprend pas pourqoui "regarde-la est correct mais "regarde-lui ne pas correct?ect

Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Fiona !

In "Regarde-la", la is a direct object pronoun  -> regarder [quelqu'un]

However, lui is an indirect object pronoun, so cannot be used here.

If you wanted to use the masculine direct object pronoun, it would be "Regarde-le"   :)

Here are links to the relevant lessons: 

https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/revision/grammar/when-to-use-le-la-l-or-les-to-replace-nouns-direct-object-pronouns

https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/revision/grammar/when-to-use-lui-and-leur-to-replace-specific-people-with-him-her-and-them-indirect-object-pronouns

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

Je ne comprend pas pourqoui "regarde-la est correct mais "regarde-lui ne pas correct?ect

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FionaB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Bonsoir Aurélie,

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer
Bonjour Fiona, vous avez une question?
FionaB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Bonjour Cecile (my accents are not working anymore on my key board I do not know why).

Oui, mais Aurelie me aide

Bonsoir Aurélie,

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OlegC1Kwiziq community member

Good day! What about regarder? I have seen regarde-moi several times. Is it correct?

Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq team member

Bonjour Oleg !

Unfortunately, I don't know what question or example you're referring to.

If it's a specific question, please use the "Report it" button next to it in your Correction Dashboard :)

Bonne journée !

Good day! What about regarder? I have seen regarde-moi several times. Is it correct?

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OlegC1Kwiziq community member

Good day!

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team member
Do you have a question, Oleg?

Good day!

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LoreenA1Kwiziq community member

I get a reward 5quizes in single day while I am superquizer, how can I beneficiate from my reward?!!

Asked 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonsoir Loreen, I am unsure exactly what type of benefit you are looking for from the reward. The various awards are given based on achievements such as 5 quizzes a day, first quiz, multiples of 50 or 100 quizzes taken, etc. These are milestones that indicate a users level of participation in taking quizzes. There are also FOUNDATION AWARDS, Level foundation trophies earned for mastering foundations. All of this is explained on your dashboard under «achievements». To me, it is a very nice way to keep track of accomplishments on Kwiziq and Progress with Lawless French. J'espère que ma réponse vous aiderait. Bonne chance et bonne continuation dans vos études en français, la langue de Molière et qui a été utilisé par le monde français depuis l’époque d’Hugues Capet

I get a reward 5quizes in single day while I am superquizer, how can I beneficiate from my reward?!!

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GayleC1Kwiziq community member

How about aider? Would one say Aidez-lui or Aidez-le? I've seen it both ways.

Asked 2 years ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Gayle,

You cannot say 'Aidez- lui! ' as it is just 'aider quelqu'un' which takes a direct object.

So it will be:

Aidez-le!

RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Gayle, Let's take a look at the rule mentioned above in this lesson: Here is the rule: - If the verb is normally followed by à + person in French (i.e. followed by an indirect object pronoun), such as in écrire à [quelqu'un] (to write to [someone]) or montrer à [quelqu'un] (to show [someone]), then you use lui or leur. - If the verb isn't followed by any preposition (i.e. followed by a direct object pronoun), such as arrêter [X] [quelqu'un] (to stop [someone]), you use le/la or les. It seems that it would be the same. Bonne chance

How about aider? Would one say Aidez-lui or Aidez-le? I've seen it both ways.

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FaridC1Kwiziq community member

Pronunciation examples

In "Écris-leur" and "Parlez-leur", I believe the "s" and the "z" (preceding leur) should be silent, right? The audio version doesn't reflect this. Similarly, I believe "Appelle-les" and "Regarde-les" sound incorrect. Merci pour verification!
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Merci Farid ! Ces exemples ont été corrigés :) À bientôt !

Pronunciation examples

In "Écris-leur" and "Parlez-leur", I believe the "s" and the "z" (preceding leur) should be silent, right? The audio version doesn't reflect this. Similarly, I believe "Appelle-les" and "Regarde-les" sound incorrect. Merci pour verification!

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JaneC1Kwiziq community member

what other verbs have the prep. already built in, eg attendre, regarder

Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Jane, Great question. The other common ones are écouter and chercher.
JaneC1Kwiziq community member
Merci Beaucoup, Laura: I was confused and thought descendre fell into that category. Is there a way I can take the final placement test before I decide if I want to join. I didn't realize I could only take 10. My mistake, but I continued to correct my few errors without realizing the number was reaching ten. BTW, I love your website and don't know what I would do without it. You offer so many ways to learn grammar plus interesting topics. Don't ever stop!!
LauraKwiziq team member
Descendre has several meanings - to descend, to go downstairs, to go down. So yes, the last one falls into the "preposition is included" category.
StuartC1Kwiziq community member
You can take a placement test before you decide to join.
MichaelC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Aussi parler, telephoner, et peut etre descendre a l'hotel? (desolee, pas de clavier francais)
DavidB2Kwiziq community member
it helps me as an english speaker to think of some of the verbs as having the preposition 'built in' thanks for the idea, now its a matter of remembering which ones:)

what other verbs have the prep. already built in, eg attendre, regarder

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Getting that for you now.