Created using FigmaCreated using Figma

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

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!


Regarde-les !
Look at them!


Q&A

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

Gayle

Kwiziq community member

19 August 2017

1 reply

How about aider? Would one say Aidez-lui or Aidez-le? I've seen it both ways.

Ron

Kwiziq community member

19 August 2017

19/08/17

Bonjour Gayle,
Let's take a look at the rule mentioned above in this lesson:
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.
It seems that it would be the same.
Bonne chance

Farid

Kwiziq community member

27 October 2016

1 reply

Pronunciation examples

In "Écris-leur" and "Parlez-leur", I believe the "s" and the "z" (preceding leur) should be silent, right? The audio version doesn't reflect this. Similarly, I believe "Appelle-les" and "Regarde-les" sound incorrect. Merci pour verification!

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

2 November 2016

2/11/16

Merci Farid !
Ces exemples ont été corrigés :)

À bientôt !

Jane

Kwiziq community member

17 January 2016

6 replies

what other verbs have the prep. already built in, eg attendre, regarder

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

18 January 2016

18/01/16

Bonjour Jane,

Great question. The other common ones are écouter and chercher.

Jane

Kwiziq community member

18 January 2016

18/01/16

Merci Beaucoup, Laura: I was confused and thought descendre fell into that category.
Is there a way I can take the final placement test before I decide if I want to join. I didn't realize I could only take 10. My mistake, but I continued to correct my few errors without realizing the number was reaching ten.
BTW, I love your website and don't know what I would do without it. You offer so many ways to learn grammar plus interesting topics. Don't ever stop!!

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

18 January 2016

18/01/16

Descendre has several meanings - to descend, to go downstairs, to go down. So yes, the last one falls into the "preposition is included" category.

Stuart

Kwiziq community member

24 January 2016

24/01/16

You can take a placement test before you decide to join.

Michael

Kwiziq community member

20 May 2017

20/05/17

Aussi parler, telephoner, et peut etre descendre a l'hotel? (desolee, pas de clavier francais)

David

Kwiziq community member

21 August 2017

21/08/17

it helps me as an english speaker to think of some of the verbs as having the preposition 'built in' thanks for the idea, now its a matter of remembering which ones:)
I'll be right with you...