Translation:She loves him.
"l', le, la, les" are direct object forms of il, elle, ils, elles:
- je l'aime (him or her), je les aime (them).
"lui" is the indirect object form of il or elle, with a verb constructed with preposition "à":
- je lui donne un gâteau (donner à / give to him or her); je leur donne un gâteau (to them)
l' can represent a human being, a pet, an object, a concept... anything.
but verb "aimer" does not translate to "love" or "like" randomly:
- aimer + human being/animal = to love, to be in love with
- aimer bien or aimer beaucoup + human being/animal = to like, to enjoy
aimer (bien/beaucoup) + inanimate object = to like, to enjoy
to love + human being/pet = aimer
- to love + inanimate object = adorer
That is why you can translate "elle l'aime" to:
- she likes it (inanimate object)
- she loves it (animal)
- she loves him (human)
- she loves her (human)
A question came up to me just now and I'm wondering: Can "elle l'aime" and "elle aime ça" be interchangeable and consequently mean the same, I mean, referring to food/object/animal (because it wouldn't look fine using "ça" for a person)? For example:
- Est-ce que vous aimez le café?
Oui, je l'aime.
Est-ce que vous aimez le café?
- Oui, j'aime ça.
Thanks in advance.
The course as you know it has been written and maintained by volunteers for years. In the absence of context l' can refer to a human being, animal or thing.
If you have learned the rules for translation of "like/love" to "aimer/aimer bien/adorer", you must remember that the nature of l' will change the verb or its meaning.
"Elle l'aime", therefore, can translate to:
- She loves him
- She loves her
- She likes it
- It loves him
- It loves her
- It likes it
Thanks for responding!
You seem to be saying that when there is an absence of any guiding context, "She likes(loves) it" is an acceptable translation of "Elle l'aime." That response, however, is currently rejected and apparently has been rejected for a long time. Therein lies the rub.
ps: It just occurred to me that maybe others have complained bitterly but I'm the first person to actually report it. (ツ)
Hey Sitesurf, thanks for all your help in all of these.
Believe it or not, I'm still confused on this one. Above in this chain you explain why "elle l'aime" should be "she loves him/her" and not "she loves it," but then in another chain in this same post you explained to me that "If 'it" is her beloved pet: Elle l'aime" which suggests that "She loves it" is an acceptable translation of "Elle l'aime," though it was marked wrong for me (at least yesterday it was).
I suspect that the real answer is that pronouns are tricky, and nuance and context matters.
Actually, I can understand your confusion because there is a gray zone when it comes to pets. Some pet owners consider their animals as family members and behave accordingly. This is why we may classify "aimer + pet" in the same category as "aimer + human being" (= to love).
Besides, I suspect that a pet owner would refer to his/her beloved animal with "he/she" which would reinforce this interpretation.
I would suggest you consider any "it" as a thing when it comes to translating "like" (aimer, aimer bien) or "love" (adorer).
Your conclusion is therefore perfectly relevant.
The original sentence has "aime" and not "adore", but if the sentence had "elle l'adore", the translations could be "she loves/adores it/him/her".
With "elle l'aime", the translation to "like" or "love" depends on the nature of the object:
Elle l'aime =
- she loves him
- she loves her
- she likes it