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French grammar - Object pronouns

Object pronouns

We saw that the personal adjectives (je, tu, il etc.) refer to the a person or people who are the subject of a sentence.

When referring to a person, animal or thing that is the object of a sentence, we use a (direct) object pronoun.

The French direct object pronouns are:

je me: 'me'

tu te : 'you' (familiar)

il & on le : 'him' or 'it'

elle la : 'her' or 'it'

nous nous : 'us'

vous vous : 'you' (formal & plural)

ils & elle les : 'them'

Those that end in a vowel all contract with an apostrophe when followed by a word beginning with a vowel. So me m' etc.

For inanimate things ('it'), whether we use le or la depends on the gender of said object.

The object pronoun comes immediately before the verb that acts upon it.

-- This is unlike in English where the pronoun comes after the verb.

Je vous aime bien.
I like you (formal).

aimer bien means 'to like'

Tu m'aimes ?
Do you (familiar) love me?

Used in this way aimer implies 'love'

Pouvez-vous nous voir ?
Can you (formal) see us?
Oui, je vous vois.
Yes, I see you (plural).
Où est Christine ? Qui peut la voir ?
Where is Christine? Who can see her?

The object pronoun la comes before the verb that acts upon it (voir) and not the auxiliary verb (pouvoir)

Je la vois.
I see her.
Où sont les clés ? Qui ​les voit ?
Where are the keys? Who sees them?
Je les vois là-bas.
I see them over there.
Maman, papa, vous nous regardez ?
Mom, Dad, are you (formal) watching us?
Oui, nous vous regardons.
Yes, we are watching you (plural).
Les Français sont sympathiques. Je ​les aime bien.
The French are friendly. I like them.
C'est un raisin. Je peux le manger ?
It's a grape. Can I eat it?

The object pronoun le comes before the verb that acts upon it (manger) and not the auxiliary verb (pouvoir)

Ce croissant - je peux le manger ?
That croissant - can I eat it?
Tu veux le manger ?
Do you (familiar) want to eat it?
Désolé, je le mange.
Sorry - I am eating it.
Qui porte la valise lourde ? Il ​la porte.
Who is carrying the heavy suitcase? He is carrying it.
Est-ce qu'il la porte ?
Is he carrying it (female)?
Pourquoi le portez-vous ?
Why are you (formal) carrying it?
Son numéro de téléphone - l'avez-vous ?
His telephone number - do you (formal) have it?

numéro de téléphone (m) means 'telephone number'

Je l'écris dans le cahier.
I write it in the notebook.
Il l'invite à la fête.
He is inviting her to the party.

inviter (verb) means 'to invite'

Ces chaussures - je les achète.
These shoes - I am buying them.

acheter (verb) means 'to buy'

Je regarde ce film. Bénédicte le regarde aussi.
I am watching this movie. Bénédicte is watching it too.