Le, la, les vs lui, leur in affirmative commands (L'Impératif)

Look at these sentences in L'Impératif:  

Appelle-les !
Call them!

Verse-le dans un verre.
Pour it in a glass.

Envoie-lui un paquet !
Send him/her a package!

Parlez-leur !
Speak to them!

 

Note that in L'Impératif, the direct object pronouns le, la, l', les and the indirect object pronouns lui, leur are placed after the verb with an hyphen in between.


ATTENTION:
It's often very confusing for students to know which pronoun to use in affirmative commands.

Look at these two examples:

Nous écrivons à notre tante -> Nous lui écrivons -> Écrivons-lui !
We're writing to our aunt -> We write to her -> Let's write to her!

BUT

Tu arrêtes Paul -> Tu l'arrêtes -> Arrête-le !
You're stopping Paul -> You're stopping him -> Stop him!

Here is the rule:

- If the verb is normally followed by à + person in French (i.e. followed by an indirect object pronoun), such as in écrire à [quelqu'un] (to write to [someone]) or montrer à [quelqu'un] (to show [someone]), then you use lui or leur.

- If the verb isn't followed by any preposition (i.e. followed by a direct object pronoun), such as arrêter [X] [quelqu'un] (to stop [someone]), you use le/la or les.

See also Replacing nouns with le, la, l', les = it, him, her, them (direct object pronouns) and Replacing people with lui, leur = him, her, them (indirect object pronouns) 

Special cases 
Look at these examples:

Attends-le !
Wait for him/it!

Regarde-les !
Look at them!

Regarde-la !
Look at her/it!

Téléphone-lui !
Phone him/her!

Note that quite a few verbs, such as regarder and attendre, are used without prepositions in French, i.e. regarder [x] [quelqu'un]; attendre [x] [quelqu'un], whereas they have one in English (i.e to look at [someone], to wait for [someone]).

On the other hand, some English verbs without prepositions will be followed by à in French, i.e. to phone [someone] = téléphoner à [quelqu'un].

When in doubt, check with a dictionary.

 

See also  Conjugate regular verbs in L'Impératif (imperative)  and Conjugate être, avoir, savoir in L'Impératif (imperative) 

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Regarde-les !
Look at them!


Écrivons-lui !
Let's write to her / to him!


Téléphone-lui !
Phone him/her!


Attends-le !
Wait for him/it!


Regarde-la !
Look at her/it!


Envoie-lui un paquet !
Send him/her a package!


Parlez-leur !
Speak to them!


Verse-le dans un verre.
Pour it in a glass.


Écris-leur !
Write to them!


Appelle-les !
Call them!


Q&A

Johanna

Kwiziq community member

15 November 2018

2 replies

Verb form

In the following example, why does Arrête drop the s in the imperative? I’m blanking out on the rule

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

16 November 2018

16/11/18

Hi Johanna,

This is just the rule for regular verbs of the first group ending in ER , no rhyme or reason , it's just how it is ....

Take a look at the following lesson which will give you lots of examples -

https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/conjugate-regular-verbs-in-l-imperatif-imperative

Hope this helps!

Johanna

Kwiziq community member

16 November 2018

16/11/18

i never knew that. Thanks!

CHARLOTTE

Kwiziq community member

5 November 2018

4 replies

which is correct regarde-me or regarde-moi. I see examples of regarde-la in the lesson so it would be a do pronoun but I have seen regarde-moi as well

Steve

Kwiziq community member

5 November 2018

5/11/18

Charlotte,

In short, regarde-moi (look at me) is correct.

Regarde-la is also correct (look at it/her).

Check this lesson regarding the change from me to moi in the imperative: https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/my-languages/french/view/718.

CHARLOTTE

Kwiziq community member

5 November 2018

5/11/18

Hi Steve, Thanks for your answer but regarde-moi is with a stress pronoun but regarde-la is with a do pronoun. I am still confused as to why it wouldn't be regarde-me since me is the do pronoun. Thanks for any help

Steve

Kwiziq community member

5 November 2018

5/11/18

I understand the rule to be:

"When the pronouns me (me/to me) and te (you/to you) are after the verb (in the affirmative), they are replaced by the equivalent stress pronouns moi and toi.

In the negative (there is another lesson for this) me and te are used and appear before the verb."

It is what it is - just another part of the rich tapestry which is the French language.

Don't sweat it.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

7 November 2018

7/11/18

Hi Charlotte,

Regarde-me ! is incorrect but look at the following lesson for more examples:

https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/how-the-object-pronoun-me-becomes-moi-in-affirmative-commands-imperatif

Regarde-moi! = Look at me!

Attend-moi! = Wait for me!

Aide-moi! Help me! 

Rappelle-moi! Remind me!/ Call me back!

Me will be me in the negative commands like in the following examples :

Ne me regarde pas! Don't look at me!

Ne m'attend pas! Don't wait for me!

Ne m'aide pas! Don't help me!

Ne me rappelle pas! = Don't remind me!

The following lesson will give you more examples  -

https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/how-object-and-stress-pronouns-behave-in-negative-commands-imperatif

Hope this helps!

 

 

 

Daphne

Kwiziq community member

6 October 2018

1 reply

Pronunciation of the final e in some words

For regarde-les I think I hear a liaison which sounds, to an English person something like regar-delay. 

Similarly for verse-les I think I hear a liaison which sounds like ver-selay.

However I don't hear a similar liaison for téléphone-lui or appelle-les.

Is there a rule for when to  liase the final part of a word ending in the letter e?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

8 October 2018

8/10/18

Hi Daphne,

Normally the  'e' at the end of a word is not pronounced ( unless it has an accent) and it is called 'mute'.

You are hearing the examples you cite correctly, the 'e' is still mute , but what you hear is the last consonant.

Sometimes you will hear an extra syllable as some people like to pronounce very precisely but in general, in spoken French particularly in the top half of France you are more likely to swallow up 'e' 's and contract syllables.

e.g.

'Regarde-les' can be four syllables (re-gar-de-les)or three( re-garde-les) depending on who says it.

This can be subject to regional differences so no steadfast rule -

In the case of 'Téléphone-lui' ,  you will normally hear four syllables (té-lé-phone-lui) but in the South of France you will probably hear five of them (té-lé-pho-ne-lui) as they like to pronounce all the possible syllables.

Hope this helps!

Suzanne

Kwiziq community member

16 September 2018

5 replies

Hello, would there be a list on Kwiziq of all the that need to add the preposition (montrer à) & all the verbs with the preposition built in?

Suzanne

Kwiziq community member

16 September 2018

16/09/18

we have mentioned several here - but there must be a list? I got a message that some where on this list there is an answer to this question but I don't see it. Thank you, Suzanne

Chris

Kwiziq community member

16 September 2018

16/09/18

I don't know of such a list ib kwiziq. An online dictionary is useful for this, such as this:

https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english-french

Suzanne

Kwiziq community member

17 September 2018

17/09/18

Just to push this a bit further, what phrase would you use to find this list on Collins? I haven't found the right one yet. 

Alan

Kwiziq community member

17 September 2018

17/09/18

Maybe this will help:

https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/verbs-with-prepositions/

Suzanne

Kwiziq community member

17 September 2018

17/09/18

Merci beaucoup!!! 

fiona

Kwiziq community member

25 June 2018

2 replies

If I can say 'telephone-lui, why can I not say "regarde-lui? I cannot see the difference.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

25 June 2018

25/06/18

That's because the verb "téléphoner" in French requires an indirect object

-> téléphoner à [quelqu'un]  -  to phone [someone]

fiona

Kwiziq community member

26 June 2018

26/06/18

Oh okay merci Aurelie- Sorry my accents are not working I do not know why but thank you for that clarification.

fiona

Kwiziq community member

25 June 2018

1 reply

Je ne comprend pas pourqoui "regarde-la est correct mais "regarde-lui ne pas correct?ect

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

25 June 2018

25/06/18

Bonjour Fiona !

In "Regarde-la", la is a direct object pronoun  -> regarder [quelqu'un]

However, lui is an indirect object pronoun, so cannot be used here.

If you wanted to use the masculine direct object pronoun, it would be "Regarde-le"   :)

Here are links to the relevant lessons: 

https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/when-to-use-le-la-l-or-les-to-replace-nouns-direct-object-pronouns

https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/when-to-use-lui-and-leur-to-replace-specific-people-with-him-her-and-them-indirect-object-pronouns

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

fiona

Kwiziq community member

25 June 2018

2 replies

Bonsoir Aurélie,

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

26 June 2018

26/06/18

Bonjour Fiona, vous avez une question?

fiona

Kwiziq community member

26 June 2018

26/06/18

Bonjour Cecile (my accents are not working anymore on my key board I do not know why).

Oui, mais Aurelie me aide

Oleg

Kwiziq community member

15 June 2018

1 reply

Good day! What about regarder? I have seen regarde-moi several times. Is it correct?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

15 June 2018

15/06/18

Bonjour Oleg !

Unfortunately, I don't know what question or example you're referring to.

If it's a specific question, please use the "Report it" button next to it in your Correction Dashboard :)

Bonne journée !

Oleg

Kwiziq community member

15 June 2018

1 reply

Good day!

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

18 June 2018

18/06/18

Do you have a question, Oleg?

loreen

Kwiziq community member

9 October 2017

1 reply

I get a reward 5quizes in single day while I am superquizer, how can I beneficiate from my reward?!!

Ron

Kwiziq community member

11 October 2017

11/10/17

Bonsoir Loreen, I am unsure exactly what type of benefit you are looking for from the reward. The various awards are given based on achievements such as 5 quizzes a day, first quiz, multiples of 50 or 100 quizzes taken, etc. These are milestones that indicate a users level of participation in taking quizzes. There are also FOUNDATION AWARDS, Level foundation trophies earned for mastering foundations. All of this is explained on your dashboard under «achievements». To me, it is a very nice way to keep track of accomplishments on Kwiziq and Progress with Lawless French. J'espère que ma réponse vous aiderait. Bonne chance et bonne continuation dans vos études en français, la langue de Molière et qui a été utilisé par le monde français depuis l’époque d’Hugues Capet
How has your day been?