https://www.duolingo.com/ShannonYCJ

'Elle/Il' or 'Lui'

I give her = Je lui donne;

I walk to her = Je marche vers elle

In what situations should 'lui' be used to stand for 'her'?

2 years ago

3 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/muscletwink
muscletwink
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Between the subject and the verb = lui

After a preposition (or anywhere else in a sentence) = elle

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Arcaeca
Arcaeca
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Lui is the third-person singular unisex indirect object pronoun. (It can also be the third-person singular masculine disjunctive pronoun, but anyway...)

This definition hinges on what exactly an "indirect object" is, which is kind of notoriously difficult to explain, and I'm not exactly sure how to explain it, but I'll do my best. An indirect object is an object (a thing which a verb happens to, rather than the thing which is doing the verb) which is, well, indirectly involved in the action. These tend to be marked with a preceding "to" in English - although in informal speech we often drop it - and in most languages it's marked by the dative case. If you consider the verb "to give", the subject is the person doing the giving, the direct object is the object is the thing being given, and the indirect object is the recipient of the thing. Indirect objects are integral to the verbs to which they are the object; because of the nature of the verb "to give", it's not possible to simply give something without a recipient being involved, whether that recipient is explicitly stated or not.

(I have to be very careful about how to word this, because even if you say "I don't give presents to anyone", even that has an indirect object - "to anyone" - it's just that the indirect object is a person who happens to not exist!)

So to answer your question, lui should be used instead of à elle (which is so incorrect that I feel uncomfortable writing it) as an indirect object pronoun, and in that sense means "[to] her".

Marcher doesn't take any objects in French, just as "to walk" doesn't in English; it's not really possible to "walk someone". The girl doesn't really have any role in the action of you walking, and it's possible to walk without really having a target. Because of this, in English as well as in French, "to her" becomes a prepositional phrase instead of an indirect object. In French, that's constructed with a preposition + a disjunctive pronoun, which for the 3rd person singular feminine, is elle, not lui. Hence, we have vers elle.

I feel like most of that didn't make sense, but I tried!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ShannonYCJ

Thanks a lot. That indeed makes sense!

2 years ago

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