French Grammar Guide for non-francophones

Indirect Object Pronouns (e.g.: me, te, lui, etc.)

Questions about Indirect Object Pronouns

Q: Why is it je l'aime and NOT je lui aime?

When deciding to choose between lui/leur and le/la/les, replace the pronoun with a noun after the verb, e.g.: J'aime mon père, je parle à ma soeur. In the first sentence, we see that mon père comes right after the verb (there is no à in between). As such, we know that lui is not possible (since lui goes with verbs followed by à. In the second sentence (je parle à ma soeur) however, the verb is followed first by à. As such, lui is the correct pronoun (je lui parle).

Q: Why is it je leur parle and NOT je leurs parle?

There is never an "s" on the indirect object pronoun. The determiner leur can take an "s" if followed by a plural noun, e.g.: leurs amis.

Q: Why is it on lui parle and NOT on parle à elle?

Almost all verbs require that the indirect object pronoun precedes them.

Q: Why is it je pense à lui and NOT je lui pense?

This is an exception. While almost all verbs require that the pronoun precedes, the verb penser requires human direct objects to follow it.

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