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

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.


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.


Q&A

fiona

Kwiziq community member

23 November 2018

1 reply

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

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

24 November 2018

24/11/18

Hi Fiona,

Thanks for your comment...

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

Donovan

Kwiziq community member

18 November 2018

4 replies

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.

Donovan

Kwiziq community member

18 November 2018

18/11/18

Sorry for the messy formatting. Apparently the script decided to strip out my carraige returns when I copied and pasted.  :P

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

23 November 2018

23/11/18

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.

Michelle

Kwiziq community member

28 November 2018

28/11/18

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. I'd say that in some cases where, if you are trying to translate French into coherent English, you'd translate "Je le crois" as "I believe IT". English and French just work very differently. I'd say that there is in fact a difference between "I believe" and "I believe so/I think so" in English."I believe" on its own, usually refers to believing in the existence of something. --> Do you believe in God? Yes, I believe (in God). Do you believe in Santa? Yes, I believe (in Santa)."I think so" and "I believe so" are used to answer questions in general when you do think something is true but aren't 100% sure. "so" is used to refer back to the question. Yes ,I think/believe THAT THING. This uncertainty is not present in the usage of believe above. So in a sense, to believe IS in fact also stronger than to think in English, though in English it isn't always the case but based on context. The case of "Je le crois" being "I believe HIM" was taught in another lesson, so inluding that in these questions and assuming that this is a lesson you have covered without liking it here was probably a bad choice.While people DO answer questions with "Yes, I think" or "Yes, I believe" on its own, that's not technically correct. It's a sentence fragment.

Michelle

Kwiziq community member

28 November 2018

28/11/18

Well, this is not how this was supposed to look like. Writing this in open office and then pasting was a bad idea...

Fergus

Kwiziq community member

18 November 2018

2 replies

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"?

Steve

Kwiziq community member

18 November 2018

18/11/18

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) !

Chris

Kwiziq community member

19 November 2018

19/11/18

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.

Jay

Kwiziq community member

24 July 2018

1 reply

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?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

25 July 2018

25/07/18

Hi Jay,

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

Earl

Kwiziq community member

14 June 2018

1 reply

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

Chris

Kwiziq community member

14 June 2018

14/06/18

Hi Earl,

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

-- Chris.

Adora

Kwiziq community member

13 April 2018

2 replies

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"

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

13 April 2018

13/04/18

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! 

Adora

Kwiziq community member

13 April 2018

13/04/18

Thanks!

Claudia

Kwiziq community member

29 March 2018

2 replies

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

Chris

Kwiziq community member

29 March 2018

29/03/18

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).

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

25 May 2018

25/05/18

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!

helen

Kwiziq community member

27 October 2017

4 replies

«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?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

27 October 2017

27/10/17

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.

Megan

Kwiziq community member

28 October 2017

28/10/17

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.

Megan

Kwiziq community member

28 October 2017

28/10/17

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.

Ron

Kwiziq community member

28 October 2017

28/10/17

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.

Prashanth

Kwiziq community member

10 December 2016

1 reply

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?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

12 December 2016

12/12/16

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 !

Diana

Kwiziq community member

6 October 2016

2 replies

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.

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

6 October 2016

6/10/16

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.

Diana

Kwiziq community member

24 October 2016

24/10/16

Thank you!
Thinking...