Using "en" with affirmative commands (L'Impératif)

Look at these imperative sentences:

Tu en prends trois. - Prends-en trois!
You take three of them. - Take three of them!

Nous en mangeons. - Mangeons-en!
We're eating some. - Let's eat some!

Nous en avons. - Ayons-en!
We have some (of it). - Let's have some!

Notice that in L'Impératif, the pronoun en is placed after the verb with a hyphen in between.

ATTENTION:
In the 'tu' form, -ER verbs recover their original -s in front of en (for pronunciation reasons) :

Achète des pâtes ! Achètes-en !
Buy some pasta ! Buy some !

Manges-en trois !
Eat three of them !




See also Using "y" with affirmative commands (L'Impératif)
and Conjugate regular verbs in L'Impératif (imperative)

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Nous en avons. - Ayons-en!
We have some (of it). - Let's have some!


Tu en prends trois. - Prends-en trois!
You take three of them. - Take three of them!


Achète des pâtes ! Achètes-en !
Buy some pasta ! Buy some !


Manges-en trois !
Eat three of them !


Nous en mangeons. - Mangeons-en!
We're eating some. - Let's eat some!


Q&A Forum 5 questions, 12 answers

MichelleC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Usage of en I don't understand

This is a line from an old song--> "Qu'il y'en a un sur deux qui n'est jamais heureux."

What does en do/mean here? 

Asked 10 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Qu'il y en a un sur deux qui n'est jamais  heureux. -- That there is one in two who is never happy.

When you want to express that there is a certain number of something, you use il y en a...

Je dois acheter du lait? -- Non, il y en a encore un litre.
Combien de plats sont sur la table? -- Il y en a quatre.

MichelleC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thank you so much, Chris! I understood everything about this sentence but the usage of en. Now it all makes perfect sense.  
AdewonuolaB1Kwiziq community member

Usage of en I don't understand

This is a line from an old song--> "Qu'il y'en a un sur deux qui n'est jamais heureux."

What does en do/mean here? 

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AlisonC1Kwiziq community member

Imperative and the subjunctive

Hi there I'm glad to see someone else ask the question about "ayons-en" above. I see Ron has replied but I'm still unclear as to why the subjunctive is used in the imperative of some verbs and not others. Is there a lesson on this? Many thanks Alison
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Allison, Comme l'exemple, soyez prudente. You are correct that etre uses le subjonctif in the imperative. Let me say, that, like yourself, I am but a Kwiziq community member, i.e. a member of the group, and not part of the Kwiziq team. I love the French language and have studied it for many years but still have a lot to learn. This being an open forum, I simply try to answer questions that I have an educated response for. So to that end, I have never run across in my studying or reading anything that explains the reasoning for the use of le subjonctif for etre in the imperative. I will, therefore, leave this question to Aurélie or another Kwiziq team member to provide you with the correct response. Bonne chance et bonne continuation dans vos études en français.
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Alison, It's not really that the "imperative uses the subjunctive" for certain verbs, but rather that for certain verbs, the imperative and subjunctive conjugations happen to be the same. In English, we say things like "If I were you..." - this is one of the rare occasions where we use the subjunctive. But it's not helpful to look at that and say "oh, we use the third person conjugation for the first person subjunctive" - it just so happens that those two conjugations are the same. Does that make sense?
AlisonC1Kwiziq community member
Yes Laura that does make sense but still left me with questions until I clicked on the link for imperative

Imperative and the subjunctive

Hi there I'm glad to see someone else ask the question about "ayons-en" above. I see Ron has replied but I'm still unclear as to why the subjunctive is used in the imperative of some verbs and not others. Is there a lesson on this? Many thanks Alison

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JacquiC1Kwiziq community member

I don't understand why "prends-lui deux" can be a correct solution

Please ignore what I have written below.
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Jacqui, «take him two» is the translation for «prends-lui deux». If possible, could you include the question that you are referencing on this and resubmit it à bientôt
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
The lesson concerning «lui» in affirmative commands follows: Le, la, les vs lui, leur in affirmative commands (L'Impératif) I am unsure if this is the lesson you are referencing or not; however, let's look at this example. Ah, les bonbons. Prends-lui deux. This scenario could be two friends talking and the one with the bonbons tells the other to take two to her brother, whom she knows.
JacquiC1Kwiziq community member
Bonjour Ron. Thanks for the clear answer. À bientôt, Jacqui

I don't understand why "prends-lui deux" can be a correct solution

Please ignore what I have written below.

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StevenC1Kwiziq community member

Ayons-en!

Why does "Nous en avons" become "Ayons-en!" Is this another subjunctive nightmare?
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Steven, Below are the imperative forms for avoir: Impératif Présent aie ayons ayez While the present participle and gerund are: Participe Présent ayant Gérondif Présent en ayant As can be seen, these forms are based on the subjunctive.
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Hi again, Your question actually prompted my own: Why is the subjunctive Nous form used to make the present participle with the verb avoir when the majority of other verbs do not, they use the nous form of the present tense? However, être uses the nous form of the imparfait to form the present participle.

Ayons-en!

Why does "Nous en avons" become "Ayons-en!" Is this another subjunctive nightmare?

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JoakimC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Kinds of "en"

In a quiz for another topic we were supposed to make imperative of "Tu n'en parles pas" and it was incorrect to write "Ne parles-en pas !" like in this topic. Are these two kinds of "en"? How does one tell the difference?
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Joakim ! The difference here is between negative and affirmative imperative sentences. In affirmative commands, "en" will come after the verb with an hyphen. In negative commands however, the object pronouns are placed just like in normal statements, meaning between the "ne" and the conjugated verb. I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !

Kinds of "en"

In a quiz for another topic we were supposed to make imperative of "Tu n'en parles pas" and it was incorrect to write "Ne parles-en pas !" like in this topic. Are these two kinds of "en"? How does one tell the difference?

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