I'm really confused about which pronoun to attach when converting direct speech to reported speech: pronom tonique, pronom sujet COD or COID.

So, for instance, when converting the following to reported speech:

"Qu'est-ce qui t'intéresse beaucoup?"

we get

Elle lui demande ce qui l'intéresse beaucoup.

But when converting this one

"Comment tu t'appelles?"

we apparently get

Elle lui demande comment il s'appelle.

Consider a third case

"Je te téléphone ce soir."


Il dit qu'il lui téléphone ce soir.

Now, how de decide between se and le. I know we se in the second case because s'appeler is a pronominal verb and will hence take a pronom tonique, but how can we decide to use le with s'intéresser and lui with se téléphoner, which to me, atleast seems to be a pronominal verb as well.

Come to think of it, is there any reason we use pronom toniques with pronominal verbs or is it just convention?

2 Answers 2


In the example you gave, you DID NOT use the verb "s'intéresser" but "intéresser".

There is a difference between "Je m'intéresse à l'astronomie" and "L'astronomie m'intéresse".

"Qu'est-ce qui t'intéresse" et "à quoi est-ce-que tu t'intéresses" are two different verbs and two different structures.

In the reported speech it would become "Je lui demande ce qui l'intéresse". COD therefore "l'" pronom COD.

If we chose to use an example with "chagriner", "qu'est-ce qui te chagrine" would become : "Je lui demande ce qui la/le chagrine". Intéresser and chagriner are two transitive verbs so the pronouns will be COD: le, la , les.

In "À quoi est-ce que tu t'intéresses", the verb "s'intéresser" is being used. In the reported speech, it would become "Je lui demande à quoi il s'intéresse". S'intéresser, s'appeler are two pronominal verbs therefore "se".

In your last example, "téléphoner" is an intransitive verb, therefore a COID pronoun will be used in the reported speech. "Je te téléphonerai ce soir" becomes "Il lui dit qu'il lui téléphonera ce soir".

  • So, in general, with a pronominal verb we use *pronom toniques", with intransitive verbs, we use a COID pronoun, and with transitive verbs we use a COD pronous, is that right?
    – Gerard
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 13:51
  • 1
    What do you call pronoms toniques?. In your examples, no "pronom tonique" was used. "Les pronoms toniques" are: moi, toi, lui, elle, nous, soi, vous, eux, elles.
    – Iside
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 14:29
  • I'm sorry. This is bad terminology, I guess. By "pronom tonique", I meant the pronouns we use with reflexive verbs. "me, te, se, nous, vous, se".
    – Gerard
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 15:05
  • 1
    Les pronoms réfléchis would then be used. Ex: "Nous nous intéressons à la physique" becomes "Ils disent qu'ils s'intéressent à la physique". Elle se souvient très bien de ce qui s'est passé" becomes "Elle dit qu'elle se souvient très bien de ce qui s'est passé". I hope it helps.
    – Iside
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 15:36

Le verbe intéresser - téléphoner :

Je m'interesse **à** quelque chose...
Je téléphone **à** quelqu'un

Le verbe appeler :

Je m'appelle

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