Saturday, February 9, 2013

Direct Objects & Indirect Objects

"Why," the curious reader asks, "do we have direct and indirect object pronouns?"

To avoid repetition, to get to the point faster, to simplify life. Direct and indirect pronouns shorten our sentences like a text message by referring to previously stated people and things as objects.

I ate the cake. I ate it at once, quickly and greedily, not wanting to share it with my friends.

Direct Objects

Direct objects receive the action of the verb. Thus, I hit the ball. I is the subject, hit the verb, and the ball, the direct object which receives the action.

The direct object can be a person or thing.

I hit Bob with the ball.

But, fait attention, mes enfants, if you change the action slightly, a direct object becomes an indirect object.

I hit the ball to Bob. Bob is now the indirect object, the ball the direct object. And, notice that in English, we don't always let you know that Bob is an indirect object. We delete the preposition "to".

I hit Bob The ball.

 Oh, gentle reader, don't we love grammar?

Ne pense pas trop de la grammaire, juste di la.

Direct objects in French are me / m', te / t', le, la, nous, vous, les.

Direct objects precede the verb in a sentence.

I drink beer, Je bois

I drank it, Je la bois.

In a compound verb sentence such as passe compose, the verb agrees with the gender of the direct object.

He saw Marie.  Il a vu Marie.

He saw her. Il l'a vue.

Indirect Objects

French indirect objects are me / m', te / t', lui,  nos,  vous, leur. 

Indirect objects are people or things for whom the action occurs. Thankfully, in French the preposition à is always used before an indirect object.
don't think about grammar too much just say it.
I gave (to) Paul the book. J'ai donné à Paul le livre.
I gave him the book. Je lui ai donné le livre.

If there is both a direct object and indirect object pronoun, the direct object pronoun precedes the indirect object pronoun. It is the same as in English, if that helps.

 Je le lui ai donné. I gave it to him.

Note. Unlike the direct object, the past participle does not agree in number and gender with the indirect object.

In negative sentences, the ne comes after the subject, and the indirect object precedes the verb whether singular or compound.

Elle ne m'a pas téléphoné.

If there is an infinitive, then the indirect object is placed before the infinitive.

Je ne vais pas lui écrire. I am not going to write her.