Why is it: je vais leur téléphoner but tu détestes les entendre?

ChristineA2Kwiziq community member

Why is it: je vais leur téléphoner but tu détestes les entendre?

Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member

Bonjour Christine,

It's a question of indirect vs direct objects.

In French, the verb téléphoner requires the preposition à: Je vais téléphoner à mes parents. The preposition makes mes parents the indirect object, so it has to be replaced with the indirect object pronoun leur.

In comparison, the verb détester does not need a preposition: Tu détestes entendre tes parents, so tes parents is the direct object and is replaced by the direct object pronoun les.

Here are some lessons you might find helpful:

Direct objects

Indirect objects

ChristineA2Kwiziq community member
Many thanks, I think I will have to spend some time getting my head round this concept! Christine
CharlesB2Kwiziq community member
Hi Christine -- Spanish has very similar constructions. I find it helpful to think of it as "to", as in "I gave the book to her". You then just have to adjust to each verb because many don't need "to" in French where they do in English - and vice versa. Eg. "I listen to my parents" becomes "I listen my parents" in French. "I'll phone you" becomes "I'll phone to you". Then the direct/indirect object pronouns fall into place without having to think further. It's a simplification and doesn't ALWAYS work, but as you get to know which verbs do or don't take "à", it's generally a good mental shortcut. I hope that helps! Charles.
LucyA1Kwiziq community member
Thanks - that could be the light bulb moment for me!
LucyA1Kwiziq community member
Thanks - that could be the light bulb moment for me!

Why is it: je vais leur téléphoner but tu détestes les entendre?

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