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I was solving a test on y vs. en, and there was a question:

Penses-tu à ton chien ?

  1. En penses-tu ?
  2. Y penses-tu ?
  3. Penses-en tu ?
  4. Penses-y tu ?

and I choose "Penses-y tu?" (I had no solid reason for that, but I remembered I saw verb-y formations before, so that “felt” right to me) but the right answer was "Y penses-tu?"

Can you explain to me why is "Y penses-tu?" a better choice?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Pronouns always come before the verb in French:

Tu y penses.
Tu me le donnes.

Except for two cases:

  • In a question with inversion, the subject pronoun goes after the verb and is attached to it with a hyphen:

    Y penses-tu ?
    Me le donnes-tu ?

  • In the imperative form, the verb comes first and the pronouns follow (also attached to it with one or more hyphens). Note that in the imperative there is no subject.

    Penses-y !
    Donne-le-moi !

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@Alexis: Bien vu, il y a bien un s artificiel qui s'ajoute à l'impératif spécialement pour le pronom y, et qui sert juste à transcrire la liaison. (Et quand on y pense… quelle horreur !) – Stéphane Gimenez Dec 16 '13 at 9:58
Y a-t-il des sources pour "donne-moi-le !" ? J'ai toujours entendu dire aux enfants : on dit "donne-le moi !" – cl-r Dec 16 '13 at 10:11
Tout à fait en bon français on dirait « donne-le-moi », mais si on faisait des statistiques à l'oral… – Stéphane Gimenez Dec 16 '13 at 10:27

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