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

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!


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!


Q&A

Daphne

Kwiziq community member

6 October 2018

1 reply

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?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

8 October 2018

8/10/18

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!

Suzanne

Kwiziq community member

16 September 2018

5 replies

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?

Suzanne

Kwiziq community member

16 September 2018

16/09/18

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

Chris

Kwiziq community member

16 September 2018

16/09/18

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

Suzanne

Kwiziq community member

17 September 2018

17/09/18

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. 

Alan

Kwiziq community member

17 September 2018

17/09/18

Maybe this will help:

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

Suzanne

Kwiziq community member

17 September 2018

17/09/18

Merci beaucoup!!! 

fiona

Kwiziq community member

25 June 2018

2 replies

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

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

25 June 2018

25/06/18

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

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

fiona

Kwiziq community member

26 June 2018

26/06/18

Oh okay merci Aurelie- Sorry my accents are not working I do not know why but thank you for that clarification.

fiona

Kwiziq community member

25 June 2018

1 reply

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

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

25 June 2018

25/06/18

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 !

fiona

Kwiziq community member

25 June 2018

2 replies

Bonsoir Aurélie,

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

26 June 2018

26/06/18

Bonjour Fiona, vous avez une question?

fiona

Kwiziq community member

26 June 2018

26/06/18

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

Oui, mais Aurelie me aide

Oleg

Kwiziq community member

15 June 2018

1 reply

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

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

15 June 2018

15/06/18

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 !

Oleg

Kwiziq community member

15 June 2018

1 reply

Good day!

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

18 June 2018

18/06/18

Do you have a question, Oleg?

loreen

Kwiziq community member

9 October 2017

1 reply

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

Ron

Kwiziq community member

11 October 2017

11/10/17

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

Gayle

Kwiziq community member

19 August 2017

1 reply

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

Ron

Kwiziq community member

19 August 2017

19/08/17

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

Farid

Kwiziq community member

27 October 2016

1 reply

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!

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

2 November 2016

2/11/16

Merci Farid ! Ces exemples ont été corrigés :) À bientôt !
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