Using le or l' to refer to previously mentioned ideas (direct object pronoun)

When the same idea is talked about more than once, it's usually replaced with a pronoun the second time in both English and French.
We use it / that in English, and in French we use le or l'.

Tu veux venir à la piscine? - Oui, je le veux.
Do you want to come to the swimming pool? - Yes, I want to / I'd like that.

Tu penses qu'il est bon pour elle ? - Non je ne le pense pas.
Do you think he's good for her? - No, I don't think so.

Note that le and l' replace ideas introduced mostly by que, or starting by an infinitive.

ATTENTION: You always use the masculine singular form le or l'even if the idea contains a feminine noun, as it's the whole idea that is considered here.

Note also that while in English, the pronouns it or that are not always necessary (e.g. Yes, I want to.), they are always required in French. 

Vous croyez que Pierre viendra au bal? - Oui, nous le croyons.
Do you think that Pierre will come to the ball? - Yes, we believe so.

Pauline pense vraiment que c'est bien de faire des études? - Oui, Pauline le pense vraiment.
Pauline really thinks that it's good to study? -Yes, Pauline really thinks so.

 

ATTENTION: When ideas are introduced by the preposition à, then you use the adverbial pronoun y!

See also  Y can replace à + thing / object / location (adverbial pronoun)

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Pauline pense vraiment que c'est bien de faire des études? - Oui, Pauline le pense vraiment.
Pauline really thinks that it's good to study? -Yes, Pauline really thinks so.


Tu veux venir à la piscine? - Oui, je le veux.
Do you want to come to the swimming pool? - Yes, I want to / I'd like that.


Vous croyez que Pierre viendra au bal? - Oui, nous le croyons.
Do you think that Pierre will come to the ball? - Yes, we believe so.


Tu penses qu'il est bon pour elle ? - Non je ne le pense pas.
Do you think he's good for her? - No, I don't think so.


Q&A Forum 19 questions, 37 answers

VanessaA2Kwiziq community member

Can you only use le/l' as a pronoun when you're answering a question?

Asked 1 month ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

When referring to what was said before when answering a question, yes. At least I can't think of a counter example at the moment. The other possibility would be to use the relative pronouns que or ce que, but they are used in a slightly different context, like in the example below.

I agree with what you said. -- Je suis d'accord avec ce que tu as dis.

Can you only use le/l' as a pronoun when you're answering a question?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

SheilaB1Kwiziq community member

Pronom en ou la?

I have a question. 

Remplacez avec un pronom convenable. 

Elle place une statue de bronze à l'entrée de la maison. 

Les mots soulignés sont "Une statue de bronze". 

1) Elle en place une à l'entrée de la maison 

ou 

2) Elle la place à l'entrée de la maison. 

Asked 2 months ago
ShreyA1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Bonjour Sheila !

The correct sentence will be -> Elle en place une à l'entrée de la maison.

This is because the pronoun “en” is always used to replace a quantity.

If the sentence would have been as - 

Elle place cette/ la statue de bronze à l’entrée de la maison. 

Then, we can replace the noun by a direct object pronoun “la”. Because, here, ‘la’ is used to replace a previously mentioned object without emphasising on the quantity of the object.

Have a look at the following Kwiziq lesson demonstrating the use of “en” with quantities->

En with quantities = Of them (adverbial pronoun)

Hope this helps !

Pronom en ou la?

I have a question. 

Remplacez avec un pronom convenable. 

Elle place une statue de bronze à l'entrée de la maison. 

Les mots soulignés sont "Une statue de bronze". 

1) Elle en place une à l'entrée de la maison 

ou 

2) Elle la place à l'entrée de la maison. 

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

JenaC1Kwiziq community member

Language register

When I speak with native speaker friends, they would never respond to any of the "tu veux... / tu penses que... / tu crois que..." questions above with a "le" in their response. I know it's correct, but is this a feature of formal French? When I'm in France, I always hear "Oui, je pense/crois/veux" as a short sentence response when I ask people if they think/believe/want something.

Actual questions I've asked native speakers and responses I've got: Tu veux aller au magasin avec moi? Oui, je veux (bien). Tu penses qu'il reste du pain? Oui, je pense. Tu crois qu'il va pleuvoir? Oui, je crois.

I only see and hear le used when people are expressing a longer idea, like in the lesson example "Pauline pense vraiment que c'est bien de faire des études?" - "Oui, Pauline le pense vraiment." where a long clause is introduced that would have to be replaced by le in a response.

What do you think?

Asked 2 months ago

Language register

When I speak with native speaker friends, they would never respond to any of the "tu veux... / tu penses que... / tu crois que..." questions above with a "le" in their response. I know it's correct, but is this a feature of formal French? When I'm in France, I always hear "Oui, je pense/crois/veux" as a short sentence response when I ask people if they think/believe/want something.

Actual questions I've asked native speakers and responses I've got: Tu veux aller au magasin avec moi? Oui, je veux (bien). Tu penses qu'il reste du pain? Oui, je pense. Tu crois qu'il va pleuvoir? Oui, je crois.

I only see and hear le used when people are expressing a longer idea, like in the lesson example "Pauline pense vraiment que c'est bien de faire des études?" - "Oui, Pauline le pense vraiment." where a long clause is introduced that would have to be replaced by le in a response.

What do you think?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

LenB1Kwiziq community member

Tu veux venir à la piscine? - Oui, je le veux. Why not « J’y veux » ?

Asked 4 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Len,

You could say -

Oui, Je veux y venir Yes, I want to go there

you cannot say - j'y veux 

Hope this helps

Tu veux venir à la piscine? - Oui, je le veux. Why not « J’y veux » ?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

RomanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Je n'y cois pas

Please, take a look at: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1lI653IW5Fi5WAXudqCZOppaZEf_H1-2N

Asked 5 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

There's the fixed idiomatic phrase: Je n'y crois pas. -- I don't believe it. But in general, the verb croire can go with a simple direct object (without preposition) but it can also use à or en as prepositions with a slight shift in nuance.

croire qqc -- to believe something. Tu crois qu'il arrive? - Oui, je le crois. Here le is required to refer back to the idea mentioned in the previous question.

I hope that helps.

Je n'y cois pas

Please, take a look at: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1lI653IW5Fi5WAXudqCZOppaZEf_H1-2N

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

FionaB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I agree with you Donnovan. I am so confused I do not know what question to ask to understand this lesson

Asked 10 months ago
CécileKwiziq team member

Hi Fiona,

Thanks for your comment...

Please read Gareth's answer to Donovan's comment.

I agree with you Donnovan. I am so confused I do not know what question to ask to understand this lesson

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

DonovanB2Kwiziq community member

I really disagree with the choices on this question...

The question was «Oui, je le crois» CANNOT mean...
Yes, I think soYes, I believe soYes, I believe himYes, I believe      <- the given answer

I can't speak for how English is used everywhere in the world, but at least where I'm standing, there is absolutely no difference between "I believe", "I believe so", and "I think so." They mean exactly the same thing. The choice that is the most different (by a tiny margin) is "I believe him."
I'm guessing that the idea you were going for is that if I'm believing "him", I'm not believing "in him", but I'm believing an idea that he has previously presented...  but you didn't show any examples of that type of usage in the lesson. So given my choices, it looks like "le" is replacing a person in that choice.
My other questioin, of course, was a very similar question with similarly confusing answers.
«Il ne le croit pas» CANNOT mean...
There are often times on this site when, as far as I'm concerned, two choices are equally correct in English, but I can usually tell from the context which one you WANT me to pick, based on what the topic is. But these particular questions are a bit odd to me because leaving off the word "so" makes no difference at all.
Asked 11 months ago
DonovanB2Kwiziq community member
Sorry for the messy formatting. Apparently the script decided to strip out my carraige returns when I copied and pasted.  :P
GruffKwiziq team member

Hi Donovan - thanks for this feedback. I've taken a look and I agree these questions are more confusing than helpful. I'll flag them so they don't appear again until we can look at how we could rephrase these to make the intention clearer or find a way to better test that students have understood the underlying principle.

MichelleC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

There is a difference between croire and penser in French though. You are dealing with "un degré d'opinion". On the scale of things trouver is beneath penser and croire is stronger than both of them. So while they are pretty much synonymous in English, "Oui, je le crois" cannot mean "I think so" even though that distinction doesn't exist in English.

 "Je le crois" being "I believe HIM" was taught in another lesson, so including that in these questions and assuming that this is a lesson you have covered without liking it here was probably a bad choice.

MichelleC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Repeat post, sorry.

I really disagree with the choices on this question...

The question was «Oui, je le crois» CANNOT mean...
Yes, I think soYes, I believe soYes, I believe himYes, I believe      <- the given answer

I can't speak for how English is used everywhere in the world, but at least where I'm standing, there is absolutely no difference between "I believe", "I believe so", and "I think so." They mean exactly the same thing. The choice that is the most different (by a tiny margin) is "I believe him."
I'm guessing that the idea you were going for is that if I'm believing "him", I'm not believing "in him", but I'm believing an idea that he has previously presented...  but you didn't show any examples of that type of usage in the lesson. So given my choices, it looks like "le" is replacing a person in that choice.
My other questioin, of course, was a very similar question with similarly confusing answers.
«Il ne le croit pas» CANNOT mean...
There are often times on this site when, as far as I'm concerned, two choices are equally correct in English, but I can usually tell from the context which one you WANT me to pick, based on what the topic is. But these particular questions are a bit odd to me because leaving off the word "so" makes no difference at all.

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

FergusB1Kwiziq community member

To answer "Tu veux venir à la piscine?", is there any difference from saying "Oui, je le veux" instead of "Oui, ce que je veux"?

Asked 11 months ago
SteveB2 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Fergus,

Yes I think the former is more general/everyday and the second is rather more emphatic.

I think the second should be written:

"Oui, c'est ce que je veux !" - Yes, that's what I want (to do) !

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Oui, je le veux. -- Yes, I want it.

Oui, ce que je veux sounds wrong to me (Yes, what I want). I would say Oui, c'est ce que je veux. (Yes, it's what I want.)

In this case you could, I believe, just say: Oui, je veux.

To answer "Tu veux venir à la piscine?", is there any difference from saying "Oui, je le veux" instead of "Oui, ce que je veux"?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

JayC1Kwiziq community member

Oui, je le crois» if this can mean 'I believe so' and 'I believe him' how could you emphasise or make clear which you mean?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Jay,

You would know from the context I think, whether you were talking about a thing or a person...

Oui, je le crois» if this can mean 'I believe so' and 'I believe him' how could you emphasise or make clear which you mean?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

EarlC1Kwiziq community member

What is wrong with "Tout le monde pense ça."

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Hi Earl,

there's nothing wrong with this sentence. It just doesn't contain the idea which the lesson is trying to teach.

-- Chris.

What is wrong with "Tout le monde pense ça."

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

AdoraB1Kwiziq community member

I am a bit confused about when exactly to use "le" and "y" to replace it

For example what is the difference or the correct one to say: "J'y crois" or "Je le crois" or "j'en crois"
Asked 1 year ago
GruffKwiziq team member

Hi Adora,

Yes, it can be confusing knowing when to use adverbial pronouns y and en.  The cases are covered in detail here:

https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/glossary/pronoun-type/adverbial-pronouns 

You can add any of these lessons to your notebook if you want to practise them together.

Hope that helps! 

AdoraB1Kwiziq community member
Thanks!
AnnC1Kwiziq community member

I am still confused as to why it's je le crois and Not  j'y pense or j'y crois.  The first example. Je veux venir à.....  i thought you replace with "y" when there is a verb followed by à???  Apologies if this answered elsewhere but the separate lessons don't help make the distinction for me between use of "le" and either "y" or "en". 

Thanks if you can help. Ann

I am a bit confused about when exactly to use "le" and "y" to replace it

For example what is the difference or the correct one to say: "J'y crois" or "Je le crois" or "j'en crois"

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

ClaudiaB2Kwiziq community member

Using le for les escargots instead of les

i was wondering why for the sentence 

j’aime les escargots. It becomes je le aime instead of je les aime.

thank you

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Claudia, 

Where is this example using snails , cannot find it in the lesson you highlighted.

It would be,

Je les aime but I prefer 

Les escargots, jaime ça ...

 Hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Claudia,

it is "le" because the reference is to the idea in itself and not to the snails per se. However, you can still say, "je les aime" and it means "I love them".

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Using le for les escargots instead of les

i was wondering why for the sentence 

j’aime les escargots. It becomes je le aime instead of je les aime.

thank you

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

HelenA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

«Il ne le croit pas» CANNOT mean...:

In the short quiz for this lesson, I was marked wrong for answering: «Il ne le croit pas» "He doesn't believe so". Instead, it says this phrase means: "he doesn't believe". Can you explain? or, is this a mistake?
Asked 1 year ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Helen, To me «Il ne le croit pas» would be «he does not believe it» or «he does not believe him». Of course, there is the possibility that the answer given could be a French nuanced meaning.
MeganC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
On the version of the test I took, I had the question "How would you say: He thinks so" and "Il le pense" was the correct answer. Therefore, I think your answer for "Il ne le croit pas" should also be correct. I do agree that Ron's suggestions would be my first instincts, but I don't see how yours is wrong.
MeganC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
On the version of the test I took, I had the question "How would you say: He thinks so" and "Il le pense" was the correct answer. Therefore, I think your answer for "Il ne le croit pas" should also be correct. I do agree that Ron's suggestions would be my first instincts, but I don't see how yours is wrong.
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Megan, I see that you too have had an issue with the site double-posting your response. That has happened to me a couple of times and I sure wish they could fix that so it would not continue to occur.

«Il ne le croit pas» CANNOT mean...:

In the short quiz for this lesson, I was marked wrong for answering: «Il ne le croit pas» "He doesn't believe so". Instead, it says this phrase means: "he doesn't believe". Can you explain? or, is this a mistake?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

PrashanthA2Kwiziq community member

Examples 8 & 10 - why is "mieux" being used and not "meilleur"?

Doesn't the use of the verb "etre" indicate a state of being rather than an action, and hence shouldnt meilleur be used instead of mieux?
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Prashanth ! This is an interesting remark. The difference between "meilleur" and "mieux" is the same as in between "bon"= good (adjective) and "bien"= well (adverb). Therefore, depending on context, both can be used with the verb "être": - When talking about something's quality (this is good), you will indeed use "meilleur": "Ma machine est meilleure que la tienne." (My machine is better than yours.) - But to express a general opinion in French, you will use "C'est bien" (= it's fine/well/ok) rather than "C'est bon" (more for taste); therefore in those cases, "c'est bien" will become "c'est mieux". I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !

Examples 8 & 10 - why is "mieux" being used and not "meilleur"?

Doesn't the use of the verb "etre" indicate a state of being rather than an action, and hence shouldnt meilleur be used instead of mieux?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

DianaA1Kwiziq community member

Tu veux venir à la piscine? - Oui, je le veux.

The idea is introduced with à, why do we use le instead of y. Am a little lost here.
Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Diana, The idea is "venir à la piscine," so it has to be replaced with le. You use y only when saying something like Oui, je veux y aller.
DianaA1Kwiziq community member
Thank you!

Tu veux venir à la piscine? - Oui, je le veux.

The idea is introduced with à, why do we use le instead of y. Am a little lost here.

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

JennyC1Kwiziq community member

Subjonctif?

J'avais l'impression que lorsque on utilise "penser" et "croire" en posant une question, le subjonctif doit être employé. Ai-je tort?
Asked 3 years ago
IsabelleC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
'Les verbes dire, affirmer, prévoir, penser, croire, espérer, être certain, imaginer, être probable, utilisés à la forme affirmative ont une valeur de vérité : on utilise donc l'indicatif dans la proposition qui suit." Mais Je ne pense pas qu'il vienne - ( not certain about it) ( négation)
JennyC1Kwiziq community member
Bonjour Isabelle :) Merci d'avoir répondu à ma question! Dans le lien ci-dessous, l'auteur a écrit "tu penses qu'il est bon pour elle?" et non pas "tu penses qu'il soit bon pour elle?". Pourtant, d'après ce que vous m'avez dit, il faut utiliser le subjonctif lorsque il y a une incertitude comme dans une question. Using le or l' to refer to previously mentioned ideas (direct object pronoun)
JennyC1Kwiziq community member
Désolée, j'ai voulu taper "lorsqu'il" au lieu de "lorsque il".
IsabelleC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Jenny - penser prend l'indicatif à l'affirmatif - penser prend le subjonctif au négatif - In fact it is confusing to think in terms of certainty or not - just use this grammar rule - Je pense que Julie peut venir- Je ne pense pas qu'elle puisse ( subjonctif) venir - (Négation ) Donc l'auteur a raison..:) " Tu penses qu'il est bon pour elle?" There are a lot of sites on the Internet about that :) ( hope you read English!) Bonne chance !
IsabelleC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Jenny, j'imagine qu'il y a aussi des réponses `a ta question sur CE site !:) Je pense qu'il y a aussi des réponses ... NOTE: j'ai utilisé l'indicatif ..
IsabelleC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Jenny, j'imagine qu'il y a aussi des réponses `a ta question sur CE site !:) Je pense qu'il y a aussi des réponses ... NOTE: j'ai utilisé l'indicatif ..

Subjonctif?

J'avais l'impression que lorsque on utilise "penser" et "croire" en posant une question, le subjonctif doit être employé. Ai-je tort?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

LauraB1Kwiziq community member

For some reason I thought "en" was used when referring to ideas or non-descript things?

I know en is used to replace things with "de/du/de la" but...I thought it was also used to replace ideas, things, etc.
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member

Bonjour Laura,

Note first that "en" is never used to replace people.
As for things, it depends on whether the original phrase it refers to is introduced by the preposition "de":
E.g. Tu veux de l'eau ?     Tu en veux ?
E.g. Je me moque de ton pull.     Je m'en moque.

Here are links to the lessons explaining when to use "en":

https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/the-adverbial-pronoun-en-can-replace-a-phrase-introduced-by-de

https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/the-adverbial-pronoun-en-means-of-them-with-quantities

I hope that's helpful!

A bientôt !

 

LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Laura, En is used to replace de + anything, whether concrete or abstract. When there's no de, there can't be en. Le is used instead.
JoakimC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
"en" not used with people? How about this : Combien de personnes avez-vous sous votre commandement? J'en ai 100.
IsabelleC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
It is because it deals with quantity - As-tu un livre de français? Oui, j'en ai 100 - ( object) AS-tu des amis chez toi en ce moment? Oui j'en ai - (personnes) Combien d'employés avez-vous dans votre entreprise? J'en ai 10 // j'en ai 2000. ( personnes)

For some reason I thought "en" was used when referring to ideas or non-descript things?

I know en is used to replace things with "de/du/de la" but...I thought it was also used to replace ideas, things, etc.

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

IbrahimB1Kwiziq community member

why we didn't use the pronoun Y with future simple ?

Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Ibrahim, Unfortunately, I cannot see the specific example you're referring to, therefore I'm struggling to answer your question. I can say that there's no reason not to use "y" in Le Futur Simple, when replacing "à + clause" or a location. I'd be happy to look at the specific case you've seen, if you can find it again. A bientôt !

why we didn't use the pronoun Y with future simple ?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

WillB1Kwiziq community member

Is the pronoun always masculine when referring to previously established complete ideas?

Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Will, Technically, this French object pronoun is neuter, but yes, it "acts" masculine, meaning that there's never agreement with it.

Is the pronoun always masculine when referring to previously established complete ideas?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Getting that for you now.