Direct Object Pronouns

Direct Object Pronouns

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Added by May 23, 2022

Pronoms d’objet direct: me, te, le, la, l’, nous, vous, les

Learn what direct object pronouns are with this French video lesson, and practice using them.

BONJOUR !

J’ESPÈRE QUE VOUS ÊTES EN FORME. Because today, we’re going to work on an important grammatical point : direct object pronouns, LES PRONOMS D’OBJET DIRECT. I’ll try to keep it as light as possible. 

First of all, you need to know that all object pronouns are placed before the verbs they relate to.

Next, we call them DIRECT object pronouns, because they replace a nominal group that would come directly after the verb, no preposition in between. 

Let me give you an example : 

Je goûte cette boisson aphrodisiaque.  – cette boisson aphrodisiaque comes directly after the verb, it is a direct object complement.  JE GOÛTE QUOI ? – CETTE BOISSON APHRODISIAQUE.

On a vu le mec/la nana canon. – ON A VU QUOI ? – le mec canon OR la nana canon. Direct object complement.

As opposed to IL PARLE À SA MAÎTRESSE where we have the preposition À between PARLER and  SA MAÎTRESSE, which indicates that we have an indirect object pronoun here.

But today’s focus is on direct object pronouns only so let’s stick with these. 

List of Direct Object Pronouns in French

me/m’ – me

te/t’ – you (familiar)

Le, la, l’ – him/her/it

Nous – us

Vous – you (plural or formal)

Les – them

Note that direct object pronouns can replace both PEOPLE and THINGS.

Let’s have a look at some examples.

J’ACHÈTE CETTE VOITURE DE SPORT. We’re going to replace CETTE VOITURE DE SPORT with a pronoun. We want to say « I’m buying it ». 

« It »  could be either le, la or l’, right ? What’s the gender of VOITURE ? It’s feminine. Therefore, we’ll use the pronoun LA, and we place it before the verb. Oh but wait ! Our verb starts with a vowel, therefore we’ll use L’ instead of LA, and we’ll end up with : JE L’ACHÈTE.

Let’s do another one.  ON VOIT LE MEC CANON. If we let go of LE MEC CANON – it’s hard, I know – and use the corresponding pronoun « him », we’ll end up with : ON LE VOIT.

Ok ? VOUS ME COMPRENEZ ? How can you answer my question here? Two options: OUI, ON TE COMPREND. or, NON, ON NE TE COMPREND PAS.

Again, keep the object pronoun right before the verb.  And in the negative, add NE before the pronoun and the verb, and PAS after the verb.

Direct Object Pronouns with two verbs in a sentence

Now, if you have two verbs in a sentence, the first one conjugated and the second one in the infinitive form as in : 

JE VAIS PRENDRE LA BOISSON APHRODISIAQUE. 

The pronoun replacing LA BOISSON APHRODISIAQUE, will go right before the verb it relates to directly, here the verb PRENDRE and not the verb ALLER, which indicates the near future. 

So we’ll have : JE VAIS LA PRENDRE.

Same situation if we have a structure like : TU DOIS QUITTER LE MEC CANON.  Heart ache…. If we let go of LE MEC CANON, we’ll have : TU DOIS LE QUITTER.

Another example : IL VEUT INVITER CETTE JOLIE FILLE. If we replace CETTE JOLIE FILLE with a pronoun, we end up with: IL VEUT L’INVITER.

What’s the negative form of all those sentences ? Well, always apply the negative structure to the conjugated verb. NE before your verb, PAS after your verb. 

JE VAIS LA PRENDRE.  Becomes: Je NE vais PAS la prendre.

Another example: ON DOIT LE QUITTER becomes ? On NE doit PAS le quitter.

And : IL VEUT L’INVITER  becomes… ? Il NE veut PAS l’inviter.

Notice that pronoun is always right before the verb it relates to.

Direct Object Pronouns in the Passé Composé

Ok, now let’s look at direct object pronouns before a verb in the passé composé. 

TU AS VU LE MEC CANON ? – OUI, JE L’AI VU.

The pronoun is placed before the whole verbal group, before AVOIR and its past participle. Also, when you place a direct object pronoun before a verb in the passe compose, the past participle of that verb agrees in gender and number with the direct object pronoun. Which means you always need to know what or who the pronoun replaces and whether it is feminine, masculine, singular or plural. 

If the pronoun replaces a masculine noun, the past participle will remain unchanged as in : 

TU AS VU LE MEC CANON ?

– OUI, JE L’AI VU.

But if your pronoun replaces a feminine noun, you need to add an -E at the end of the past participle.

TU AS BU LA BOISSON APHRODISIAQUE?  – OUI, JE L’AI BUE.

If the pronoun replaces a masculine plural noun, add an -S :

VOUS AVEZ VU CES FOUS ? – OUI, ON LES A VUS

And if the pronoun replaces a feminine plural noun, add -ES : 

IL A INVITÉ LES JOLIES FILLES FINALEMENT ?OUI, IL LES AS INVITÉES.

ALORS, VOUS M’AVEZ BIEN COMPRISE ? How can you answer  my question here?

Two options again: OUI, ON T’A BIEN COMPRISE. 

T’ replaces me, a woman, it is feminine, therefore add -E at the end of COMPRISE.

What if you hadn’t understood me ? Impossible, but, let’s still have a look at the negative: NON, ON NE T’A PAS BIEN COMPRISE.

NE comes before the pronoun and the verbal group, and PAS comes between AVOIR and the past participle. If you also have an adverb, like BIEN here, most of them will go right after the PAS and before the past participle, PAS BIEN, PAS BEAUCOUP etc.

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