Hello, i am confused of this... There are Indirect and direct object pronouns..... How do they differ?

I have two sentences: Il me regarde(Direct object pronoun) Il me parle(Indirect object pronoun)

How do they differ?

December 22, 2015


It's important to understand that some verbs in French can have direct objects, some can have indirect objects, and some can have both. In general, a direct object is the recipient of the action of the verb:

  • il a frappé *l'homme 'he struck *the man'
  • il l'a frappé 'he struck him'
  • il m'a frappé 'he struck me'

An indirect object can be thought of as the beneficiary of the action of the verb, the person to or for whom the verb is carried out, and in French, nominal indirect objects are always preceded by a preposition, usually à:

  • *il a parlé à l'homme 'he spoke to the man'
  • il lui a parlé 'he spoke to him'
  • il m'a parlé 'he spoke to me'

A few verbs take both a direct and an indirect object:

  • il a donné le cadeau (direct object) à l'homme (indirect object) 'he gave the gift to the man'
  • il le (direct object) lui (indirect object) a donné 'he gave it to him'
  • il me (indirect object) l'(direct object) a donné 'he gave it to me'

French 1st and 2nd person indirect object pronouns look just like their direct object counterparts: me, te, nous, vous. The reflexive 3rd person prounoun, se, is also the same whether it represents a direct or an indirect object. In the non-reflexive 3rd person, however, the two sets of pronouns are different: le/la (direct) vs. lui (indirect), les (direct) vs. leur (indirect).

When more than one pronoun appears with a given verb, the order of the pronouns is fixed: me, te, nous, vous, se come before le, la, les, which come before lui, leur:

  • il te l'a donné 'he gave it to you'
  • il le leur a donné 'he gave it to them'
December 22, 2015

First and second person do not differ, but third person does :

il le regarde / il lui parle (singular)

il les regarde / il leur parle (plural)

December 22, 2015

In French you watch someone. That makes me a direct object in Il me regarde. However you speak to someone. That is why, in Il me parle, me is an indirect object (meaning à moi). Objects can be direct in French but indirect in English. For example, in English, you explain something to someone, whereas in French on explique quelqu'un, so someone is the direct object.

I expect someone else can explain this better than I can, or I may be wrong.

December 22, 2015
  • 1413

Some verbs can have two objects. Look at this example: Il me donne un livre. (He gives me a book.) "book" is the direct object - the book is given. "me" is the indirect object

December 22, 2015

I am still trying to understand :D

December 22, 2015
December 22, 2015
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