Home > French > Grammar > Introduction
Les Pronoms Indirects Indirect Object Pronouns

When the action is directed ‘toward’, or ‘at’ an object, that object is an indirect object.

  Il parle à sa femme. He speaks to his wife.

 
When the preposition à is followed by le, the two merge to form au. When followed by les the two form aux.
  Jacques ressemble au maire. Jacques looks like the mayor.
  Il faut parler aux enfants. One must speak to the children

The indirect object pronouns are exactly the same as the direct object pronouns except for the third person singular and plural forms.

  Il me parle. He speaks to me.
  Elle te parle. She speaks to you.
  Je lui parle. I speak to him/her.
  Elles nous parlent. She speaks to us.
  Je leur parle. I speak to them.

Following are some other verbs that commonly take indirect objects. Many times, verbs that take direct objects in English take indirect objects in French and vice versa.

  Jacques désobéit à l’enseignante. Jacque disobeys the teacher(female)
  Jacques lui désobéit. Jacques disobeys her.
  La bonne note plaît à ses parents. The good grade pleases his parents.
  La bonne note leur plaît. The good grade pleases them.
  Il ne peut pas résister au diable. He cannot resist the devil.
  Il ne peut pas lui résister. He cannot resist him.
  Il faut téléphoner au président. We must telephone the president.
(The president must be called.)
  Il faut lui téléphoner. We must telephone him.
(He must be called.)

Lui and leur are only employed if the indirect object is a person. If this is not the case, y should be used.

  Vous répondez à la question. You respond to the question.
  Vous y répondez. You respond to it.
  Vous répondez à l'enseignant. You respond to the teacher (male ).
  Vous lui répondez. You respond to him/her.

En is a pronoun that can replace any phrase that begins with de.

  Je reviens d'Allemagne. I'm returning from Germany.
  J'en reviens. I'm returning from there.
  Je suis française et j'en suis fière. I am French and I am proud of it.

 
When the preposition de is followed by le, the two merge to form du. When followed by les the two form des.
  Je suis l'homme le plus fort du monde. I'm the strongest man in the world.
  Il est le moins intelligent des quatres. He is the least intelligent of the four.

We saw an example above of y replacing the phrase à la question. Y can actually replace any prepositional phrase other than the prepositional phrases that begin with de.

  Il y est. He is there.
(y here could be replacing dans la maison, en France, sur la table etc.)
« previous page
next page »