TNs, U45b: Verbs: Present 3 (Y Replaces À + Thing, Confusing Verbs)

Y Replaces À + Thing

For verbs appended with à (like penser à), the adverbial pronoun y can replace à + a thing.

  • Tu penses à l'examen ? — Are you thinking about the test?
  • Oui, j'y pense encore. — Yeah, I'm thinking about it again.
  • Il croit aux fantômes ? — Does he believe in ghosts?
  • Oui, il y croit. — Yes, he believes in them.

To replace à + a person or animal, use an indirect object pronoun instead.

  • Je lui parle. — I am talking to him/her.
  • Elle me téléphone maintenant. — She is calling me right now.

Confusing Verbs

Demander à means "to ask to" when followed by an infinitive.

  • Elle demande à payer avec des dollars. — She asks to pay with dollars.

However, when used with nouns, demander is particularly confusing because its direct and indirect object are the opposite of its English counterpart, "to ask".

  • Je demande une baguette. — I ask for a baguette. (Not "I ask a baguette.")
  • Je demande une baguette à la boulangère. — I ask the baker for a baguette.
  • Je lui demande de me donner une baguette. — I ask him/her to give me a baguette.

Manquer à means "to miss", but the pronouns are flipped from its English counterpart. If it helps, you can think of manquer as "to be missed by".

  • Vous me manquez. — I miss you.
  • Je vous manque. — You miss me.

Plaire à is commonly translated as "to like", but for grammatical purposes, think of it as "to please" or "to be pleasing to".

  • La jupe plaît aux filles. — The girls like the skirt. / The skirt is pleasing to the girls.
  • Ça me plaît. — I like it. / That is pleasing to me.

Important: If you find any errors in the Tips and Notes, have questions related to the grammar points above, or would like to discuss the topic in depth, please feel free to comment below. We ask that you keep your comments on topic so that this post stays educational and everyone can benefit from them. Any spam or unrelated comments will be deleted.

For more Tips and Notes, click HERE

1 week ago


Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.