Replacing nouns with le, la, l', les = it, him, her, them (direct object pronouns)

Tip: If the words "direct object pronoun" strike horror and panic into your heart, scroll to the cartoon video in the examples explaining them. They're actually pretty easy to figure out.

Or, just learn by example:

Je la déteste   
I hate her/it

Je le casse
I break it/him

Tu les vois      
You see them

Je l'utilise     
I'm using it/him/her 

Je l'appelle.
I call her/him.

Je les appelle.
I call them.

These sentences show how to replace specified persons or things by pronouns (le, la, l', les) to avoid repetition:

Je déteste Marie  ->  Je la déteste
I hate Marie  ->  I hate her

Je casse le verre  ->  Je le casse
I break the glass  ->  I break it

Tu vois Paul et Léa  -> Tu les vois    
You see Paul and Léa  ->  You see them

J'utilise la règle  ->  Je l'utilise  
I'm using the ruler  ->  I'm using it 

Notice that you use the pronouns "le/la/l'/les", which agree in gender and number with the person or thing they replace.
Remember that in French, things have gender.

Note also that you put le, la, l', les before the verb!

N.B.:  l'  is used for feminine or masculine when in front of a vowel or a silent h.

Compare these cases with:

Replacing people with lui, leur = him, her, them (indirect object pronouns)

Me, te, nous, vous = Me, you, us, you (direct and indirect object pronouns) 

 

And see also Position of direct and indirect object pronouns with negation 

 

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Je l'adore    
I adore him/her/it


Tu les vois      
You see them



Je le casse
I break it/him


Je les appelle.
I call them.


Elle le déteste  
She hates him/it


Je l'appelle.
I call her/him.


Je la déteste   
I hate her/it


Je l'utilise     
I'm using it/him/her 


Il la touche
He's touching it/her


Q&A

Krissa

Kwiziq community member

28 April 2018

1 reply

direct object pronouns

hi can you please help me with this example

J'ai encore des cadeaux à acheter - Marie les a déjà tous achetés.

Why is this not Marie en a déjà......

I thought that if it is a partitive then you use en.

thank you for your help

Cordialement

Krissa

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

1 May 2018

1/05/18

Bonjour Krissa !


You can only use "en" when you're replacing a group introduced by de, du, de la or des.




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




In this sentence - Marie les a déjà tous achetés. - the presence of "tous" means that the original sentence would be :
Marie a déjà acheté tous les cadeaux.
So no "des" here, therefore "en" is not an option in this sentence, only the direct object pronoun les is correct here.  


Bonne journée !

Jonathan

Kwiziq community member

15 April 2018

2 replies

J'ai encore des cadeaux à acheter

Shouldn't this be:

Marie "EN" a déjà tous achetés.  

Since the article here is "des" and not "les"... We just know there are "some" presents to buy, not any specific ones.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

15 April 2018

15/04/18

I Jonathan,


Grammatically, both possibilities are correct, although they have different connotations:


Marie en a déjà tous achetés. Versus: Marie les a déjà tous achetés.


The first one (with "en") implies that there is a certain fixed set of presents of which Marie bought all. The second one makes no such implication. I guess you would account for that in English like this, somehow:


Marie en a déjà achetés. -- Marie already bought all of them.
Marie les a déjà achetés. -- Marie bought them all.


I hope that helps, -- Chris (not a native speaker).

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

1 May 2018

1/05/18

Bonjour Jonathan !


You can only use "en" when you're replacing a group introduced by de, du, de la or des.


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


In this sentence - Marie les a déjà tous achetés. - the presence of "tous" means that the original sentence would be :
Marie a déjà acheté tous les cadeaux.
So no "des" here, therefore "en" is not an option in this sentence, only the direct object pronoun les is correct here.  


 


I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !


 

Shruti

Kwiziq community member

1 March 2018

3 replies

Il écrit souvant à ses parents? Non,il ne———(ne jamais écrire).

Please help me to fill the blank

Chris

Kwiziq community member

1 March 2018

1/03/18

Hi Shruti,


Il écrit souvent à ses parents? - Non, il ne leur écrit jamais.


In this sentence you are replacing the indirect object "ses parents". Since it is 3rd person plural, the pronoun to use is "leur". In case of a direct object it is "les":


Tu as vu mes amis? - Oui, je les ai vu.


-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

5 March 2018

5/03/18

@Chris : Don't forget that when using direct object pronouns with auxiliary avoir, you need to agree with it, as it's placed before the auxiliary:


Tu les as vus.  or  Tu les as vues.


@Shruti: Have a look at our lesson on indirect object pronouns:
https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/when-to-use-lui-and-leur-to-replace-specific-people-with-him-her-and-them-indirect-object-pronouns


Bonne journée !

Chris

Kwiziq community member

6 March 2018

6/03/18

Thank you Aurélie. :))


-- Chris.

Khush

Kwiziq community member

26 January 2018

3 replies

Where would you put le la les if there are two verbs in a sentence

Khush

Kwiziq community member

26 January 2018

26/01/18

plz help

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

26 January 2018

26/01/18

Hi Khush - can you give an example of the sort of sentence with two verbs you mean? There are lots of ways multiple verbs can appear in a sentence, so I'm not clear what you're asking.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

1 May 2018

1/05/18

Bonjour Khush !


The position of object pronoun in sentences with a conjugated verb + infinitive is:



conjugated verb + le, la, l', les + infinitive



See our related lesson:
https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/position-of-object-pronouns-in-sentences-with-infinitives


If you mean a verb conjugated in a coumpound tense, it will be:



le, la, l', les + auxiliary verb + past participle



See our related lesson : 
https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/position-of-object-pronouns-with-verbs-in-compound-tenses


Bonne journée !

Susan

Kwiziq community member

16 September 2016

2 replies

Would this be correct usage?

Le, la, l'=direct object; leur=indirect object; eux=pronoun with prepositions (and what is that called?)

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

17 September 2016

17/09/16

Bonjour Stuart,

Yes, yes, and yes - eux is what's known as a stressed pronoun.

Susan

Kwiziq community member

17 September 2016

17/09/16

Merci. (Et je m'appelle Susan.)

Ashraf

Kwiziq community member

26 February 2016

4 replies

why " j'achète un ppantalon." become "je l'achète" ?

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

26 February 2016

26/02/16

Bonjour Ashraf,


It doesn't; j'achète un pantalon should become j'en achète.


Could you please give me the link where you saw this?

Ashraf

Kwiziq community member

26 February 2016

26/02/16

I saw it here in this site

Ashraf

Kwiziq community member

26 February 2016

26/02/16

I saw it here in this site

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

3 March 2016

3/03/16

Bonjour Ashraf,


Actually it's a bit more complicated!


Here 'un pantalon' means 'a pair of trousers'. Depending on context, you could use l' or en :



J'achète un pantalon. J'en achète un.
(I'm buying a pair of trousers. I'm buying one.)


J'ai acheté un pantalon. Je l'adore !  
(I bought a pair of trousers. I love it!)


J'achète des pantalons. J'en achète. 
(I'm buying some pairs of trousers. I'm buying some.)



You can only use en on its own when talking about a vague or uncountable quantity (some).


I hope that's helpful!

Naime

Kwiziq community member

29 January 2016

1 reply

When am i going to use en or le le l' and les

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

30 January 2016

30/01/16

Bonjour Naime,

You use le, la, l', or les when replacing a direct object (a noun with no preposition in front). You need en when the noun is preceded by de.


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


For example,


J'ai vu le chat = Je l'ai vu.
J'ai parlé du chat = J'en ai parlé.

Priscilla

Kwiziq community member

21 January 2016

3 replies

when is les used and when is leur used

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

21 January 2016

21/01/16

Bonjour Priscilla,

Les is the plural French direct object, so it's used as explained in this lesson.

Leur is the indirect object, which you can read about here: https://www.french-test.com/my-languages/french/view/710


 

Stuart

Kwiziq community member

24 January 2016

24/01/16

I've seen that explanation in many places. But it's not so easy to figure out when a verb will take a direct object or an indirect object, particularly when French verbs take prepositions in situations when English verbs won't (and vice versa). I guess it is something you just have to get a feel for after seeing many examples and situations.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

1 May 2018

1/05/18

Indeed Stuart, if most of the verbs are quite similar to English structure - voir [quelqu'un]to see [someone] - there are several cases that simply need to be learned as different from English - téléphoner à [quelqu'un]to phone [someone]   


:)

I'll be right with you...