Use of "en" rather than "y"

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Kwiziq community member

7 January 2018

2 replies

Use of "en" rather than "y"

In "she gives me four every week," shouldn't it be "elle m'y donne" rather than "elle m'en donne"? Isn't "en" only used where the article is "de"? As far as I know, it's "donner à," not "donner de."

This question relates to:
French lesson "Indirect object + en (double pronouns)"


Kwiziq community member

8 January 2018


Good question, Ramsey, but look at this sentence:

Elle donne quatre œufs à Anne.
She gives four eggs to Anne.

Elle en donne quatre à Anne.
She gives four of them to Anne.

The "en" in this sentence refers to the collections of eggs, of which she gives four to Ann. It does not refer to "à Anne". And even then you couldn't replace "à Anne" by "y" because Anne is a person and "y" shouldn't be used to refer to persons.


Elle met quatre œufs sur la table.
She puts four eggs on the table.

Elle y en met quatre.
She puts four of them there.

Hope that helps,

-- Chris (not a native speaker).


Kwiziq language super star

9 February 2018


Hi  Ramsay,

The pronoun en in this case refers to quantities  and replaces the noun it refers to.

e.g. Vous avez des enfants? oui, j'en ai deux  or je n'en ai pas ( en replaces the noun enfants )

Do you have children ? yes, I have two (of them) or I don't have any ( of them) .

Je voudrais des pommes . Vous en voulez combien ? j'en voudrais un kilo svp.en replaces the noun pommes)

I'd like some apples.  How many would you like? I'd like a kilo ( of them ) please .

Hope this helps!

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