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What are subjects, objects, and pronouns? (grammar point)

A verb has a subject (the person or thing doing the verb), and may have an object (the thing being done to).

Languages have a variey of positions for the subject, verb and object. English is mostly a subject-verb-object, or SVO language.  Consider these two sentences:

subject verb object
John throws the ball
Marie studies English

French is also (mostly) SVO. Consider these sentences:

subject verb object
Jean lance la balle
Marie étudie l'anglais

In French, however, when we replace the object noun ('the ball', or 'anglais' above) with an object pronoun (la, le, l', les), the object pronoun moves to before the verb, making the sentence structure SOV:

subject object (pron) verb meaning
Jean la lance Jean throws it
Marie l' étudie Marie studies it

The subject can be replaced with a subject pronoun too:

Il la lance.He throws it.

Elle l'étudie.She studies it.

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Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Elle l'étudie.She studies it.
Grammar made easy: subjects, verbs and objects explained.
Il la lance.He throws it.
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