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French Direct Objects and Direct Object Pronouns

Complément d'objet direct (COD)

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Direct objects are the people or things in a sentence which receive the action of the verb. To find the direct object in a sentence, ask the question Who? or What?

   I see Pierre.
   Je vois Pierre.
   Who do I see? Pierre.

   I'm eating the bread
   Je mange le pain.
   What am I eating? - Bread.

Direct object pronouns are the words that replace the direct object, so that we don't say things like "Marie was at the bank today. When I saw Marie I smiled." It's much more natural to say "Marie was at the bank today. When I saw her I smiled." The French direct object pronouns are

   me / m'   me
   te / t'   you
   le / l'   him, it
   la / l'   her, it
   nous   us
   vous   you
   les   them

Me and te change to m' and t', respectively, in front of a vowel or mute H. Le and la both change to l'.

Like indirect object pronouns, French direct object pronouns are placed in front of the verb.

   I'm eating it.
   Je le mange.

   He sees her.
   Il la voit.

   I love you.
   Je t'aime.

   You love me.
   Tu m'aimes.


Notes

1. When a direct object precedes a verb conjugated into a compound tense such as the passé composé, the past participle has to agree with the direct object. See agreement lesson (section B).

2. If you're having trouble deciding between direct and indirect objects, the general rule is that if the person or thing is preceded by a preposition, that person is an indirect object. If it's not preceded by a preposition, it is a direct object. For more information, please see direct vs indirect objects.


Test on direct object pronouns


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