If the following sentence is correct:

J'aime le sandwich (I + like + the sandwich)

I expect (I + love + you) to be:

J'aime te

Then, why is it "Je t'aime"?

  • 5
    J'aime toi is probably better than J'aime te but still not correct.
    – kiwixz
    Jan 1, 2015 at 11:59
  • 2
    @iKiWiXz J'aime toi is not correct because toi cannot stand as a direct objet here. It "sounds" better to you probably because as a tonic pronoun it's its grammatical place to follow the verb.
    – None
    Jan 1, 2015 at 13:32
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    This goes without saying (based on the way that you asked your good question), but if you had instead asked: “Why does « le sandwich » come after the verb whereas « t’/te » comes before the verb,” the answers probably would have included, in addition to the excellent explanations below concerning the positioning of object PRONOUNS (« t’/te » in this case) before the verb in French (unlike in English), an explanation that object NOUNS (« le sandwich » in this case) come after the verb in French (just as in English).
    – Papa Poule
    Jan 8, 2015 at 15:30

2 Answers 2


There are 2 rules that answer your question.

First: subject (direct or indirect one when complement to the verb) ending with 'e' and placed in front of a verb starting with a vowel must be shortened. Thus, 'je', 'me', 'te' and 'se' will become " j' ", " m' ", " t' " and " s' " when in front of verb starting with a vowel. "Je aime le chocolat" is incorrect => "J' aime le chocolat". "Tu me as fais peur" is incorrect => "Tu m' a fais peur".

Second: when you shorten a direct complement of a verb, you must replace it with an indirect complement placed just in front of this verb. "J'aime le chocolat" => "je l' aime". So, "J'aime toi" (which is a form that no one will ever used because it sounds ugly) becomes "Je t' aime".


The simple answer is "because it is the rule".

The rule says that object pronouns are always placed before the verb except in imperative affirmative sentences.

J'aime la France. → Je l'aime.
J'entends les oiseaux. → Je les entends.

An easy lesson on the subject on Bonjour de France.

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