Using direct and indirect object pronouns together (double object pronouns)

These sentences use two pronouns:

Me/Te/Nous/Vous (Me/You/Us)

Je vous la donne.
I'm giving it to you.

Tu me l'as demandé.
You asked me it.

Vous nous les offrez.
You offer them to us.

Lui/Leur (Her/Him/Them)

Il les leur a apportés.
He brought them to them.

Tu les lui vends.
You sell them to her.

Nous les leur avons donnés.
We gave them to them.

Je la lui ai écrite 
I wrote it to her.

There are two important patterns to notice in these sentences that are different to English.  

1) the two pronouns both go before the conjugated verb (or auxiliary in compound tenses):
 
Je vous donne cette carte. -> Je vous la donne.
I'm giving you this card. -> I'm giving it to you.
 
2) the order is not the same when using lui/leur as it is for me/te/nous/vous.

Je la lui donne vs. Je te la donne
I give it to him/her   I give it to you.
 
The order is ALWAYS:
me/te/nous/vous   (before)  le/la/les/l' (before) lui/leur  
 
This means sentences like I give it to him and I give him to it are indistinguishable in French because the order is fixed:
 
Je le lui donne.  
You would need to know the context and if the sentence would be ambiguous, avoid using one of the pronouns!
 
See also how to use direct and indirect pronouns:

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Vous nous les offrez.
You offer them to us.


Il les leur a apportés.
He brought them to them.


Je la lui ai écrite 
I wrote it to her.


Tu les lui vends.
You sell them to her.



Nous les leur avons donnés.
We gave them to them.


Tu me l'as demandé.
You asked me it.


Je vous la donne.
I'm giving it to you.


Q&A Forum 12 questions, 22 answers

Julianne B2Kwiziq community member

distinguish between indirect pronouns le and la

why is 

'je vous la donne'  the translation for 'I give it to you' when we don't know the gender of 'it'? shouldn't it be 'je vous le donne'

in the same manner why is 'je la lui a écrite' - i wrote it to her - not 'je le lui a écrit'?  

Asked 1 month ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Julianne,

In the case of

'Je vous la donne' , 

it was in the context of 'cette carte' which is feminine and singular.

However, in -

'Je la lui ai écrite'

indeed we don't know what the 'la' refers to, but because it is the verb is écrire we assume that we are talking about a card or a letter,  hence the feminine singular form for 

une carte/une lettre

Hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

When you specifically use the feminine form, it is with reference to some feminine noun mentioned before in the context.

In the French sentence: Je la lui a écrite this might refer to la lettre, mentioned in a previous sentence.

distinguish between indirect pronouns le and la

why is 

'je vous la donne'  the translation for 'I give it to you' when we don't know the gender of 'it'? shouldn't it be 'je vous le donne'

in the same manner why is 'je la lui a écrite' - i wrote it to her - not 'je le lui a écrit'?  

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RuthA2Kwiziq community member

Why “je vous le donne” but “je le lui donne”

Is there a reason why we say “je vous le donne” but “je le lui donne”? 

Asked 2 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Ruth,

There is an order to follow ( also known as ‘the football team’ ) when you have more than one pronoun in an affirmative or negative sentence and if you take a look at the following link -

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=french+pronouns+football+team&client=safari&hl=en-gb&prmd=inv&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjokeGCuaLkAhXtURUIHcagDlMQ_AUoAXoECA4QAQ&biw=1112&bih=732#imgrc=bpyoBfDuqyycWM&imgdii=DvJokMx3nRM2BM

It wil give you a clear idea of where diffferent  pronouns have to be placed in relation to each other. You may not have encountered all of them yet.

I will enquire iif we can add something similar on one of the lessons but in the meantime I hope this helps!

Why “je vous le donne” but “je le lui donne”

Is there a reason why we say “je vous le donne” but “je le lui donne”? 

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TanusreeA0Kwiziq community member

How can we know when the tense is in simple form , continuous form or perfect form ?

Asked 11 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

I am not sure I understand the question completely but I'll give it a try. In French there is no distinction between simple and continuous form. These are peculiar to English. In French you would just use the simple form:

Je mange. = I eat. = I am eating.

I don't know what you mean by "perfect form"?

TanusreeA0Kwiziq community member
I mean to say present perfect form as in " I have returned from office"
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

The perfect tense is constructed with avoir/être + past participle.

I return from the office. = I am returning from the office. = Je rentre du bureau.
I have returned from the office. -- Je suis rentré du bureau.

If you wanted to say "I have been returning from the office." (i.e. present perfect continuous form) you'd use the imparfait in French:

I have been returning from the office. -- Je retournais du bureau.

Tenses in English and French don't always match 1:1.

TanusreeA0Kwiziq community member
Merci!!!:)

How can we know when the tense is in simple form , continuous form or perfect form ?

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TanusreeA0Kwiziq community member

Hi..

Asked 11 months ago
CécileKwiziq team member
answered ...

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AlexandraC1Kwiziq community member

I had the same problem as Shelley: definitely ticked both "him" & "her" but got nearl;y correct

Asked 11 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Lynn,

If you look at Aurélie's answer to Shelley it should shed light on your mark....

I had the same problem as Shelley: definitely ticked both "him" & "her" but got nearl;y correct

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ShelleyC1Kwiziq community member

Bonsoir. In the lesson samples, "Je la lui donne" is translated as "I give it to him/her." However, in the mini quiz, I chose both "She shows it to

him" and "She shows it to her" as possible taranslations for "Elle la lui montre" and this was scored as "nearly correct." Why is that?
Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Shelley !

I've had a look at your Correction Dashboard, and it says that you ticked "She shows it to him" but not "She shows it to her", and this question necessitated both these correct answers, hence the nearly correct :)

For similar questions, in the future please use the "Report it" button in your Correction Board, as it links directly to the specificquiz take you're referring to, and makes it easier for us to answer you :)

Bonne journée !

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Your translations seem correct to me. 

-- Chris

ShelleyC1Kwiziq community member
Thank you so much for checking this for me. I guess the second check mark didn't take & I didn't notice it; so sorry for the trouble. Thanks, too, for the reminder to use the Report an issue button.
Shelley asked:View original

Bonsoir. In the lesson samples, "Je la lui donne" is translated as "I give it to him/her." However, in the mini quiz, I chose both "She shows it to

him" and "She shows it to her" as possible taranslations for "Elle la lui montre" and this was scored as "nearly correct." Why is that?

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EileenA0Kwiziq community member

Hi in example 6: Tu me l'as demandé. You asked me it, I think in English we’d probably drop the ‘it’ but do you have to keep the l’ (le/la) in French?

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Eileen,

No, you can drop the direct object "le" and "it", respectively, but you incur a change in meaning both in French as well as in English. "You asked me." is something slightly different from "You asked me about it."

Tu me l'as demandé. -- You asked me about it. (That sounds better than just "it".)
Te m'as demandé. -- You asked me.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

EileenA0Kwiziq community member
Thanks Chris.  Yes, adding ‘about ‘ in English clarifies it for me in French! Thanks 

Hi in example 6: Tu me l'as demandé. You asked me it, I think in English we’d probably drop the ‘it’ but do you have to keep the l’ (le/la) in French?

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Ana C1Kwiziq community member

Bonjour, where can I find a quiz on this topic?

Asked 1 year ago
GruffKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

You'll be pleased to know our micro kwiz French tests have been restored. You can read more here:

https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/blog/micro-kwizzes-back/

AurélieKwiziq team member

Bonjour Ana !

If the lesson is in your dashboard studylist then just test yourself against that to include a question on this topic.

You can also add any lessons to your own notebook(s) if you want to focus on specific things. Each kwiz will test you against new questions for the topics in the list.

:) I hope that's helpful! Bonne journée !

Bonjour, where can I find a quiz on this topic?

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MohammadA2Kwiziq community member

Bonjour Aurélie,

How can I make Negative of double object pronoun in present and passé composé ?? Glad to have your reply. Rgds/ Mohammad Shibly
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Mohammad ! You have to remember that double object pronouns will never be separated. As for their position in the sentence, the same rule applies as with single object pronouns: - With simple tenses: Subject + (ne) + ObPronoun + Verb + (pas) "Je ne *la lui* donne pas." - With conjugated verb + infinitive: Subject + (ne) + Conj Verb + (pas) + ObPronoun + Infinitive "Je ne vais pas *la lui* donner." - With compound tenses: Subject + (ne) + ObPronoun + Auxiliary Verb (être or avoir) + (pas) + Past Participle "Je ne *la lui* ai pas donné." I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !
NazaninA1Kwiziq community member
what a great answer it was so helpful for me too.

Bonjour Aurélie,

How can I make Negative of double object pronoun in present and passé composé ?? Glad to have your reply. Rgds/ Mohammad Shibly

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CarolineA2Kwiziq community member

Which of the following is correct?

Le docteur a donné les médicaments aux malades Le docteur les leur a donnés OR donné ?
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer
Bonjour Caroline !

"Le docteur les leur a donnéS" is the correct sentence, as "donnés" agrees with the direct object "les médicaments" (masculine plural), following this agreement rule:
Special cases when the past participle agrees (in number & gender) when used with 'avoir' in Le Passé Composé

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

Which of the following is correct?

Le docteur a donné les médicaments aux malades Le docteur les leur a donnés OR donné ?

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JasonC1Kwiziq community member

Bernard l'envoie à elle - why is this incorrect?

Just wanted to check why "Bernard l'envoie à elle" was incorrect to say Bernard sent something to her - is it that "lui" is mandatory in this case?
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Jason ! Yes, with ditransitive verbs, you need to use both indirect and direct object pronouns. Have a look at our glossary article on (di)transitive verbs: https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/glossary/transitivity/transitive-verb I hope that's helpful! Bonne Année !

Bernard l'envoie à elle - why is this incorrect?

Just wanted to check why "Bernard l'envoie à elle" was incorrect to say Bernard sent something to her - is it that "lui" is mandatory in this case?

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ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

La vs. le

Asked to translate "Bernard sends it to her" I would have expected something like "Bernard le lui envoit". Instead, The answer given is "Bernard la lui envoit". Can you shed light on this?
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member

Bonjour Claus !

In French, le, la, l' (it) and les (them) are used to replace objects.

The choice between le and la is depending on the gender of the prementioned object.

In this case, you were not given any clue as to what the object gender was (what was sent), therefore both "Bernard la lui envoie (e.g. la lettre)" or "Bernard le lui envoie (e.g. le colis) were possible answers.

We could have offered either, but we went with la.

I hope that's helpful.
À bientôt !

MeghnaC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Hi Aurélie My understanding is that in French the default is masculine. If defined male - le/il/ils would apply If defined female - la/elle / elles would apply If mixed/not specified use male. In this case for the question of Bernard sends it to her, wouldn't it be more logical to expect the 'le' response or both le and la in the test?

La vs. le

Asked to translate "Bernard sends it to her" I would have expected something like "Bernard le lui envoit". Instead, The answer given is "Bernard la lui envoit". Can you shed light on this?

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