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For the sentence

Jean va apporter des pralines à Marie

is this ok to write “Jean va lui apporter en” instead of “Jean va lui en apporter”?

I am facing this confusion as for the sentence

Jean conseille quelques livres à Marie

“Jean lui en conseille” is the correct way to replace the nouns

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2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

In affirmatives, except when preceded by a preposition¹, pronouns always come before the verb in French.

In “Jean va apporter des pralines à Marie”, “des pralines” is a direct object, “à Marie” is an indirect object, and both complement the verb apporter. Similar sentences that use pronouns include the following:

  • Jean va en apporter à Marie.
  • Jean va lui apporter des pralines.
  • Jean va lui en apporter.

The same rules apply to verbs in the infinitive and to conjugated ones.

Here is a more complex sentence:

Jean lui promet de lui en apporter.

In this sentence, the first lui stands for Marie as indirect object of promettre, the second lui also stands for Marie but as indirect object of apporter, and en stands for the pralines as direct object of apporter.

Also, the order of pronouns is fixed. Cf. The order of direct and indirect object pronouns.


1. “Jean cueille ces fleurs pour Marie” becomes “Jean cueille ces fleurs pour elle”.

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Knowing that the addressee is Marie, and the gift a box of sugared almonds, you may say :

"Jean va lui en apporter", or :

"Jean va en apporter pour elle".

But never end a sentence with "en".

The construction of "Jean lui en conseille", when now you are speaking of books, is exactly the same.

You may sometimes change the order :

"J'en lui conseille" (but "Jean en" would be terrible for the ear).

"Louis en lui conseille" is better than "Louis lui en conseille" (for the same reason).

Other examples : "J'en lui sais gré", "J'en vous donne des exemples", rather classical but not obsolete, when you wish to insist on the indirect object and its proximity.

"Jean lui promet de lui en apporter" is not incorrect, but very inelegant, and suggests that the two "lui" are not standing for the same person. "Jean lui promet d'en apporter" is enough to guess that it's not for somebody else.

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3  
« J'en lui conseille », on ne doit probablement pas parler la même langue. –  Stéphane Gimenez Oct 30 '13 at 13:56
2  
Qu'y a-t-il (et non "Qu'il y a-til") d'incorrect dans on ne doit ? –  Alexis Pigeon Oct 30 '13 at 14:15
4  
« J'en lui conseille », ça ne passe vraiment pas pour moi non plus. « Je lui en conseille » –  Julien Guertault Oct 30 '13 at 14:17
2  
En plus du fait que "j'en lui" semble incorrect, à l'oral on comprendra "jean lui". –  Knu Oct 30 '13 at 15:53
3  
Il y a sûrement une règle grammaticale, mais tu pourrais aussi vérifier l'usage. « J'en lui sais gré », ce n'est même pas une erreur quelquefois commise : tu es le premier à l'avoir écrit sur le web. –  Gilles Oct 30 '13 at 22:26
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