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The use of the pronouns y and en is confusing, i know y is used for a place, but also with certain verbs followed by "a": pense a...for example. How do i know i don't use other direct or indirect object pronouns.

Same for "en", when do i use it and when do i use the direct object pronouns?

  • french -

    Thank you for using the Jiskha Homework Help Forum. First of all, let's look at direct-object pronouns.

    me = me (m') in French
    you, familiar & singular = te (t')
    him = le (l')= also "it" when masculine singular
    her = la (l')= also "it" when feminine singular

    us = nous
    you-all (formal or plural) = vous
    them (people & things) = les

    Certain verbs (hiding "to" "at" or "for" within the verb, take direct-object pronouns: écouter (to listen TO), regarder (to look AT), chercher = (to look FOR), attendre (to wait FOR), demander = (to ask FOR) and payer (to pay FOR.)

    Now for uses of "en" and "y"

    The Pronoun "en"
    This pronoun replaces "de + noun" and generally refers to things. It is usually translated into English by "some, any, of it (them), from there."

    "En" is always expressed in French, even though the equivalent may not be expressed in English. "En" must be used when the noun is omitted after a number, an adverb or noun of quantity, or an idiom rquiring "de."
    Voici des framboises. "En" voulez-vous? = Here are some raspberries. Do you want SOME?
    Elle n'en a pas acheté = She didn't buy ANY OR She bought none.
    Vient-il de l'école? Oui, il en vient. = Does he come from school? Yes, he does come from there.

    The Pronoun "y"
    This pronoun always refers to things or places. It generally replaces "à + noun" but may also replace other prepositions of position, such as "chez, dans, en, sous, sur + noun."

    In English "y" most commonly means "to it (them), in it (them), on it (them), there" (when the place has already been mentioned.) Sometimes the quivalent is not expressed in English.
    Répondez à sa carte. Répondez-y. = Answer his card. Answer it.
    Quel temps fait-il en France? Il y fait doux. = How is the weather in France? It is mild there.

    Perhaps you don't need it yet, but there is a certain order in which these direct-object or indirect-object pronouns and "y" and "en" are placed with respect to a verb.
    They come before the verb, EXCEPT in the affirmative imperative. The ORDER is:
    te, le (l') lui
    se > la (l') > leur > y > en VERB
    nous les

    Order after the verb, in Affirmative Imperative:
    VERB -le -toi
    -la > -lui > y > en
    -les -nous

    Simply MEMORIZE those 2 charts!

    Please feel free to ask any additional questions.


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