Indirect object + en (double pronouns)

Some sentences can contain two object pronouns:
- an indirect object pronoun [See Me, te, nous, vous = Me, you, us, you (direct and indirect object pronouns) and Replacing people with lui, leur = him, her, them (indirect object pronouns)]
and
- the adverbial pronoun "en"  [See also En can replace de + phrase (adverbial pronoun) and En with quantities = Of them (adverbial pronoun)]

Have a look at these examples:

Pierre m'en a offert.
Pierre offered me some of them.

Nous t'en avons vendu.
We sold you some.

Il lui en a donné dix.
He gave him/her ten (of them).

Elle nous en a montré trois.
She showed us three (of them).

Ils vous en ont parlé.
They told you about it.

Elle leur en a parlé.
She told them about it.

There are two important patterns to notice in these sentences that are different to English. 

1) the two pronouns both go before the verb:
 
Je donne du pain à Maurice -> Je lui en donne.
I'm giving Maurice some bread. -> I'm giving him some.
 
2) The order is ALWAYS:
 
    me/te/lui/nous/vous/leur  (before)  en

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Elle nous en a montré trois.
She showed us three (of them).


Pierre m'en a offert.
Pierre offered me some of them.


Il lui en a donné dix.
He gave him/her ten (of them).


Nous t'en avons vendu.
We sold you some.


Ils vous en ont parlé.
They told you about it.


Elle leur en a parlé.
She told them about it.


Q&A Forum 7 questions, 10 answers

AnitaC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Memory game

This subject prompted a memory game taught to me at school regarding the “pronoun” order before the verb : me , te, se, nous, vous / le, la, les / lui, leur / y, en   -   before verb

We learned it like parrots and it has been useful.

Asked 6 days ago

Memory game

This subject prompted a memory game taught to me at school regarding the “pronoun” order before the verb : me , te, se, nous, vous / le, la, les / lui, leur / y, en   -   before verb

We learned it like parrots and it has been useful.

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ScottC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

En with y in a sentence

I can say, "I am bringing two bottles of wine there" I believe like this:
J'y apporte deux bouteilles de vin.

Can I say, "I am bringing two of them there" like this?
J'y en apporte deux.

Or would it be:
J'en y apporte deux.

Or would you use a completely different construction?

thanks, Scott

Asked 11 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer
The rule is y before en, as, e.g., in il y en a deux (there are two of them).

En with y in a sentence

I can say, "I am bringing two bottles of wine there" I believe like this:
J'y apporte deux bouteilles de vin.

Can I say, "I am bringing two of them there" like this?
J'y en apporte deux.

Or would it be:
J'en y apporte deux.

Or would you use a completely different construction?

thanks, Scott

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MintooC1Kwiziq community member

Hi, The question might not be completely relevant to this topic. While using direct and indirect object pronouns for them (les/leur) .

We check whether a preposition is used to seperate the object to decide whether it's direct or indirect. But how do we know when to use a preposition (for eg- "a parle" (so we use leur), for "conduire" we don't use a preposition (so it becomes les)). 
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

There's no rule I'd be aware of. Just learn it by heart and by speaking/listening/reading often. 

-- Chris. 

Hi, The question might not be completely relevant to this topic. While using direct and indirect object pronouns for them (les/leur) .

We check whether a preposition is used to seperate the object to decide whether it's direct or indirect. But how do we know when to use a preposition (for eg- "a parle" (so we use leur), for "conduire" we don't use a preposition (so it becomes les)). 

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PaulC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

en = it and en = them

Hi, I am confused about en meaninng both it and them. In some examples en is translated as it (Elle leur en a parlé She told them about it) and sometimes as them (Pierre m'en a offert Pierre offered me some of them.) Are it and them interchangeable in these sentences?
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Paul,

en can be translated in many ways, so don't go at it from the English side but from the French. As the corresponding lesson states, "en" as a pronoun replaces "de + object".

J'ai aceté une douzaine d'oeufs. -- I bought a dozen eggs.
J'en ai acheté une douzaine. -- I bought a dozen of them.

Je lui parle de son problème. -- I talked with her about her problem.
Je lui en parle. -- I talk with her about it.

Pierre m'a offert un morceau du gâteau. -- Pierre offered me a piece of the cake.
Pierre m'en a offert un morceau. -- Pierre offered me a piece of it.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

en = it and en = them

Hi, I am confused about en meaninng both it and them. In some examples en is translated as it (Elle leur en a parlé She told them about it) and sometimes as them (Pierre m'en a offert Pierre offered me some of them.) Are it and them interchangeable in these sentences?

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RamsayC1Kwiziq community member

Use of "en" rather than "y"

In "she gives me four every week," shouldn't it be "elle m'y donne" rather than "elle m'en donne"? Isn't "en" only used where the article is "de"? As far as I know, it's "donner à," not "donner de."
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi  Ramsay,

The pronoun en in this case refers to quantities  and replaces the noun it refers to.

e.g. Vous avez des enfants? oui, j'en ai deux  or je n'en ai pas ( en replaces the noun enfants )

Do you have children ? yes, I have two (of them) or I don't have any ( of them) .

Je voudrais des pommes . Vous en voulez combien ? j'en voudrais un kilo svp.en replaces the noun pommes)

I'd like some apples.  How many would you like? I'd like a kilo ( of them ) please .

Hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Good question, Ramsey, but look at this sentence:

Elle donne quatre œufs à Anne.
She gives four eggs to Anne.

Elle en donne quatre à Anne.
She gives four of them to Anne.

The "en" in this sentence refers to the collections of eggs, of which she gives four to Ann. It does not refer to "à Anne". And even then you couldn't replace "à Anne" by "y" because Anne is a person and "y" shouldn't be used to refer to persons.

But:

Elle met quatre œufs sur la table.
She puts four eggs on the table.

Elle y en met quatre.
She puts four of them there.

Hope that helps,

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Use of "en" rather than "y"

In "she gives me four every week," shouldn't it be "elle m'y donne" rather than "elle m'en donne"? Isn't "en" only used where the article is "de"? As far as I know, it's "donner à," not "donner de."

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AndrewC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

She gives me four every week

Why cant "She gives me four every week" be translated as Elle ME donne quatre toutes les semaines. Why does it have to be: Elle M'EN donne quatre toutes les semaines.
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Andrew ! Because here when you say "She gives me four" in English, you imply "four (of what)", and in French you need to repeat in some capacity the thing that you have four of, which is done with the pronoun "en". Have a look at our related lesson: En with quantities = Of them (adverbial pronoun) I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !
AndrewC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Wow thanks for your quick response and link to more of your excellent notes (they are really helping me a lot!! - I've spent 2 years on duolingo and only now are things starting to fall into place)
AurélieKwiziq team member
I'm very happy that Kwiziq is helping you improve ! Joyeuses Fêtes à vous !

She gives me four every week

Why cant "She gives me four every week" be translated as Elle ME donne quatre toutes les semaines. Why does it have to be: Elle M'EN donne quatre toutes les semaines.

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CharlesC1Kwiziq community member

Use of "en" to indicate "it" - one of something.

I've become comfortable thinking of "en" as "some" or "some of them" as in your example "Il m'en a offert." But it's use as "it" in "Elle leur en a parlé" is throwing me. Why "en" and not "Elle la/le leur a parlé" ?
Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member

In addition to "some," en has a separate meaning: it replaces de + something.

For example, Elle leur a parlé de son idée --> Elle leur en a parlé: lesson.

CharlesC1Kwiziq community member
Of course! I remember that lesson now. I had not grasped that en, as a pronoun, has two distinct meanings. Many thanks for reinforcing this.

Use of "en" to indicate "it" - one of something.

I've become comfortable thinking of "en" as "some" or "some of them" as in your example "Il m'en a offert." But it's use as "it" in "Elle leur en a parlé" is throwing me. Why "en" and not "Elle la/le leur a parlé" ?

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