In French, object pronouns are usually placed before a verb. In L'Impératif, it is not the case.
Position of object pronouns in L'Impératif Présent in French
Look at these sentences in L'Impératif:
Verse-le dans un verre.Pour it in a glass.
Envoie-lui un paquet !Send him/her a package!
Parlez-leur !Speak to them!
Note that in L'Impératif, the direct object pronouns le, la, l', les and the indirect object pronouns lui, leur are placed after the verb with a hyphen in between.
It's often very confusing for students to know which pronoun to use in affirmative commands.
Look at these two examples:
Nous écrivons à notre tante -> Nous lui écrivons -> Écrivons-lui !
We're writing to our aunt -> We write to her -> Let's write to her!
Tu arrêtes Paul -> Tu l'arrêtes -> Arrête-le !
You're stopping Paul -> You're stopping him -> Stop him!
Here is the rule:
- If the verb is normally followed by à+ person in French (i.e., followed by an indirect object pronoun),such as in écrire à [quelqu'un] (to write to [someone]) or montrer à [quelqu'un] (to show [someone]), then you use lui or leur.
- If the verb isn't followed by any preposition (i.e. followed by a direct object pronoun), such as arrêter [X] [quelqu'un] (to stop [someone]), you use le/la or les.
See also Using le/la/l'/les = it/him/her/them (French Direct Object Pronouns) and Using lui/leur = him or her/them (French Indirect Object Pronouns)
Look at these examples:
Attends-le !Wait for him/it!
Regarde-les !Look at them!
Regarde-la !Look at her/it!
Téléphone-lui !Phone him/her!
Note that quite a few verbs, such as regarder and attendre, are used without prepositions in French, i.e., regarder [x] [quelqu'un]; attendre [x] [quelqu'un], whereas they have one in English (i.e., to look at [someone], to wait for [someone]).
On the other hand, some English verbs without prepositions will be followed by à in French, i.e., to phone [someone] = téléphoner à [quelqu'un].
When in doubt, check with a dictionary.
See also Conjugate regular verbs in the imperative mood in French (L'Impératif) and Conjugate irregular être/avoir/savoir in the imperative mood in French (L'Impératif)
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