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Question about the quirks of French pronouns. Can "me" and "te" be in the same sentence?

Hi, Duo! I have been learning French for about three years now, and I would consider myself an intermediate-advanced learner now, for I can converse pretty well. However, there have always been a few things about French pronouns that have bugged me:

  1. Would there ever be an instance where the pronouns "me," "te," "nous," and "vous" could be used together in the same sentence as object pronouns? If so, why does French pronoun order lump these together and how does one phrase his sentence correctly when this occurs?

  2. Why do some verbs like "penser" take a preposition with a stressed pronoun versus an indirect object pronoun?

I'm hoping that some native speakers or very advanced learners can shed some light on this. I have scoured the internet to no avail. Thanks to all in advance!

January 14, 2018



For your first question: in practice, two object pronouns can only be next to each other if the direct object is a third person pronoun, otherwise it will sound really awkward and the sentence will have to be restructured.

For instance "I show him to you" is "je te le montre", but "I show you to him" would not be "je te lui montre", instead it would be restructured as "je te montre à lui" (which still sounds a bit clumsy), and "I show myself to you" would not be "Je te me montre" but "je me montre à toi"

For your second question: à + pronoun can only be replaced by an indirect object pronoun when it has a dative meaning. Otherwise, when it describes spatial motion for instance, it cannot be replaced by an indirect object pronoun but it can, however, be replaced by 'y'. (But 'y' is mostly used for inanimate objects, when talking about people you should use à + pronoun).

For instance "I think about it" is "J'y pense" and "I think about her" is "Je pense à elle" (not 'je lui pense' because it's not a dative indirect object, but a prepositonal phrase introduced by à).
The same thing happens in English too: the preposition 'to' can either describe an object in the dative case or spatial motion, but it can be dropped only in the former case: for instance we say "give me" instead of "give to me" but we'd never say "come me" instead of "come to me".


Thank you so much. This is by far the best answer I have ever heard for this question, and I would give you a ton more lingots if they were actually useful. I never thought about the whole "space/ablative case" vs. "beneficiary/actual indirect object/dative case" concept, but now that you mention it, it seems so obvious, like, "how did I not see this before?" Lol, now I can sleep a little easier.

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