Indirect Object Pronouns

Les pronoms objets indirects

Introduction Introduction
Indirect objects are the nouns in a phrase for whom or to whom the action of the verb happens. In the sentence “I brought him an apple” the indirect object is “him”. “An apple” is the direct object and “I” is the subject.

Like with direct objects in French, when the indirect object is a personal pronoun - such as him or her - it can often be different from the personal subject pronoun. For instance il (he) becomes le (him) and elle (she) becomes la (her).

While most of the indirect object pronouns are the same as the direct object pronouns, they are different for the third-person masculine singular and third-person plural:

   lui
   le
   him; her; it (people)

   les
   leur
   them (people)

When a sentence contains both direct and indirect objects the words are positioned in the order described in the chart below in nearly all tenses and moods:
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
me
te
se
nous
vous
le
la
les
lui
leur
y en (verb)

In the case of the affirmative imperative tense, they are using the following order and are connected with hyphens:
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
(verb)- le
la
les
moi/m’
toi/t’
lui
nous
vous
leur
y en

In this lesson we also include three special case object pronouns:

en

The word en in French can be translated in a variety of ways. The most common is “of it” or “of them”. Elle en a peur most means “She is scared of it”. However the “it” in that sentence can not be a person. It’s best to think of some en as de + something.

y

Similar to en, the word y in French translated in multitude of ways, but the best of thinking of it is like “to it” to “to them” where “it” and “them” are only things, not people. For example, Nous y allons means “we are going to it”. As you can see, this could just as easily translate as “we are going there” too, but it’s best to think of it as à + something or place.

se

You may have already encountered some reflexive verbs while studying. The se and s’ that these employ are actually an object pronouns. They simply means “oneself, herself or himself” when the action of a verb applies to a person. Usually se is used as a direct object, but can sometimes be an indirect object too.
Vocabulary Vocabulaire
Play en
of it of them about it about them any some
Play y
to it to them there there it
Play se
himself herself itself oneself
Play lui
him her it
Play leur
them
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