"This is our coffee machine; give it back to us!"

Translation:C'est notre machine à café, rendez-la-nous !

July 14, 2020

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Still puzzled by the word order. Sometimes the personal pronoun precedes the object, as in "Tu me le rappelles trois fois par jour." Why is this not "rendez-nous-la" ?


The order of object pronouns changes a bit in the imperative: 1st and 2nd person pronouns normally precede 3rd person direct object pronouns (le/la/les), but here they follow them like they do with en and y. Nota that in practice many native speakers tend to use other word orders that are deemed incorrect:

Tu nous la rends -> Rends-la-nous (standard), Rends-nous-la (occasional colloquial)

Tu t'en souviens -> Souviens-t'en (standard), Souviens-en-toi (colloquial), Souviens-toi-z'en (colloquial)

Concerning the last form: en and y are always preceded by a -s liaison when following the verb in the imperative form (donnes-en, donnez-en, donnons-en), so in this case they have been rebracketed as -z'en- and -z'y-, creating a "ghost" liaison when they are preceded not by the verb but by a pronoun that doesn't end in -s. Note that this happens in all languages from time to time, and is how English got apron from French napperon (a napron -> an apron).

And in case you're curious, the very reason why an -s is added to imperative verbs that don't normally have one before en and y is most likely by analogy with the other two forms.


Very well explained relox84. Alas i had the power to upvote you unlimited times i would had given you unlimited likes ( upvotes). I have taken a screen shot of your comment...


Consider giving relox84 multiple lingots! Well deserved!


Me too! I don't know why Duolingo won't just tell us the rules?!? It would be VERY helpful and make a lot more sense! This might help. https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/double-pronoun-order/


Who steals a coffee machine


You've obviously never worked for a large organization!


Why not 'nous la rendez'?

  • 1065

That's indicative but you have to use imperative here (it's an order).


Could I say, rendez ça à nous?

  • 1065

In the sentence "la" stands for "notre machine à café".

Using ça turns the sentence into "This/that is our coffee machine; give this/that back to us!". Quite not the same.

Besides that, the indirect object phrase "à nous" is only used to express opposition (to us, not to them!). In your example the "correct" sentence would be "rendez-nous ça" - but that's not the case for the provided English sentence.


why does it have to be plural/formal? It could be singular. Cafetière is also coffee machine. Neither was accepted.

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