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Replacing nouns with le, la, l', les = it, him, her, them (direct object pronouns)

Tip: If the words "direct object" strike horror and panic into your heart, scroll to the cartoon video in the examples explaining them. They're actually pretty easy to figure out.

Or, just learn by example:

Je la déteste   I hate her/it

Je le casseI break it/him

Tu les vois      You see them

Je l'utilise     I'm using it/him/her 

Je l'appelle.I call her/him.

Je les appelle.I call them.

These sentences show how to replace specified persons or things by pronouns (le, la, l', les) to avoid repetition:

Je déteste Marie  ->  Je la déteste
I hate Marie  ->  I hate her

Je casse le verre  ->  Je le casse
I break the glass  ->  I break it

Tu vois Paul et Léa  -> Tu les vois    
You see Paul and Léa  ->  You see them

J'utilise la règle  ->  Je l'utilise  
I'm using the ruler  ->  I'm using it 

Notice that you use the pronouns "le/la/l'/les", which agree in gender and number with the person or thing they replace.
Remember that in French, things have gender.

Note also that you put le, la, l', les before the verb!

N.B.:  l'  is used for feminine or masculine when in front of a vowel or a silent h.

Compare these cases with:

Replacing people with lui, leur = him, her, them (indirect object pronouns)

Me, te, nous, vous = Me, you, us, you (direct and indirect object pronouns) 


And see also Position of direct and indirect object pronouns with negation 



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Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Je l'utilise     I'm using it/him/her 
Il la toucheHe's touching it/her
Je l'adore    I adore him/her/it
Tu les vois      You see them
Je le casseI break it/him
Je les appelle.I call them.
Elle le déteste  She hates him/it
Je l'appelle.I call her/him.
Je la déteste   I hate her/it
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