In English, the construction is "interest in"; in French it is "intéresser à".
Here "y" replaces "à something already said". For your information "en" replaces "de something already said".
So this is how it is constructed:
Previous sentence (for example): "mes enfants aiment la géographie"(my children like geography)... "je les y ai intéressés" = "je les ai intéressés à la géographie".
The idea is to avoid repetitions. The same idea is in "les" which, in my example, replace "my children".
with auxiliary "être", the past participle agrees with the subject
with auxiliary "avoir", the past participle is invariable (masculine singular, by default), EXCEPT if the direct object is placed in front of the verb, in which case the past participle agrees with that direct object:
je les y ai intéressés or intéressées, because the direct object is "les", plural masculine or plural feminine pronoun.
Yes for "être", more rarely for "avoir":
- vous êtes venu / venue / venus / venues (subject "vous" can be one or more individuals, who can be males or females)
- ils se sont téléphoné (fake reflexive, so past participle remains invariable)
- j'ai mangé la pomme (direct object placed after the verb)
- la pomme, je l'ai mangée (direct object placed in front of the verb)
"I'd them interested in it" is bad English. "I'd have had them interested in it" is how that should read, as it would contract from "I would have had them interested in it". Or just write out "I had them..." Problem solved. Spoken, yeah, in base vernacular you can get away with that, but written/published? No way.
Intéresser quelqu'un à quelque chose = to have someone (Direct Object) interested in something (Indirect Object).
- j'ai intéressé mes enfants (DO) à la littérature (IO) = I had my children interested in literature.
- je les (DO) y (IO) ai intéressés = I had them interested in it: when real objects are replaced by pronouns, the word order changes with DO + IO placed in front of the verb.
Note that "y" is the pronoun replacing "à + il/elle/ils/elles".
S'intéresser à quelqu'un ou quelque chose = to be interested in someone or something : the verb becomes pronominal/reflexive in French vs passive in English:
- je m'intéresse à lui = I am interested in him/it
- je m'intéresse à elle = I am interested in her/it
- je m'intéresse à ceci/cela/ça = I am interested in this/that/it
Due to the pronominal nature of the verb, "à + pronoun" remains after the verb and the pronoun takes its stressed form (à moi, à toi, à lui, à elle, à nous, à vous, à eux, à elles).
OK Sitesurf, that lengthy explanation was the clearest yet. Thank you so much.
One comment: In English I would say "I interested them in it" or "I got them interested in it" To say "I have them interested in it" is different. I got them is an action, something I did, I have them is a condition or status. I had them interested seems to suggest I got them and then I lost them. You English speakers, does this all make sense?
You are exactly right, divaluisa. "I had them interested...." is entirely different, grammatically and in meaning, from "I had interested them..."
In "I had interested them", "had interested" is the past perfect form of the verb "to interest". In "I had them interested", the verb is now simply "had", and "interested" is an adjective, modifying "them"
You can see this more clearly using a different adjective (or adjectival phrase) - "I had them all sitting in a circle," "I had them under the bed," "I had them organized by date".
Y refers to an absent something understood in some way, very often because it has been mentioned in previous conversation. In this example what is understood is that they were interested in it. The presence of Y reminds the listener/reader of what was already understood.
You are all correct about the conversational value of this form in current times...Not sure why Duolingo comes up with them...in any case when I was getting my ancien BAC B in the early '70s these types of phrases we're all too common and the use of the "subjonctif" was current practice in conversation within the educated spheres...So much has changed... Let this one go...and enjoy your Duolingo...
There is no subjunctive in this sentence.
Subjunctive is still massively used because grammar does not change much.
What has changed is that subjunctive tenses are not all used now, so as to simplify conjugations. So basically only two tenses are used in subjunctive: present and past (no imperfect, no pluperfect anymore).