I know the right translation is "Je lui ai enlevé." But shouldn't it be "Je l'ai enlevé."? "She" is a direct object and should therefore be replaced by "la". Not "lui".

The verb enlever is also not followed by the preposition à.

So why is lui used? It doesn't make any sense...?

  • 2
    you don't, you just invite her to a party before she gets off the airport
    – Reno
    Aug 10, 2015 at 11:08
  • in your original sentence, lui is neutral. In this context it means from that person
    – njzk2
    Aug 10, 2015 at 14:25
  • 1
    I'm a teensy bit worried how many people are willing to translate "I kidnapped her" into French at will :)
    – KutuluMike
    Aug 10, 2015 at 16:36
  • 2
    Looks like someone has some troubles with an international court. Aug 10, 2015 at 17:55

4 Answers 4


Your assumption is wrong, Je lui ai enlevé means something like I removed (something) from him/her.

"I kidnapped her" can be translated by Je l'ai enlevée (note the final e).

  • 3
    Technically, I removed it from her would be Je le/la lui ai enlevé. Je lui ai enlevé is an unfinished sentence as it fails to say what exactly was removed from him/her. It's like I removed <missing> from her.
    – sch
    Aug 10, 2015 at 14:22
  • 1
    @sch technically lui can stand for the sequences le lui, la lui, les lui...
    – GAM PUB
    Aug 11, 2015 at 0:41
  • 1
    @GAMPUB. In spoken French, you may contract le and lui so that le becomes almost inaudible as in je l'lui ai pris but je lui ai pris is incorrect. You can say je lui ai parlé as it's I've spoken to her not I've spoken it to her.
    – sch
    Aug 11, 2015 at 6:37
  • 1
    @sch This not restricted to le as seems implied. It works with feminine la and plural les too.
    – GAM PUB
    Aug 11, 2015 at 6:42
  • 1
    @GAMPUB, one may say it, just like one may say Qu'est-ce t'as fait ? in place of Qu'est-ce que tu as fait ? / Qu'as tu fait ?, but that's still incorrect, you'd be grilled in a French exam for writing je lui ai enlevé to mean je les lui ai enlevés.
    – sch
    Aug 11, 2015 at 7:37

You can say

Je l'ai kidnappée

See the definition

  • 7
    No, that means, I kidnapped HIM you are missing the final e that changes the gender.
    – JB.
    Aug 10, 2015 at 7:58
  • 2
    +1 for mentioning the fact that "kidnap" also exists in French but please add an e as explained by @JB!
    – Relaxed
    Aug 10, 2015 at 8:24

Or, you could say something like "je l'ai prise en otage". I took her hostage - note the "e" at the end of "pris".

  • This is hardly the same.
    – GAM PUB
    Aug 11, 2015 at 0:50
  • Disagree - kidnapping for ransom is more or less identical to taking somebody hostage.
    – Vérace
    Aug 11, 2015 at 0:54
  • Well, bank robbers taking people hostage are not kidnapping anyone... Parents can kidnap their own children (usually without threatening their lives). This is hardly the same.
    – GAM PUB
    Aug 11, 2015 at 7:59
  • I said kidnapping for ransom. I specifically avoided the case of parents "kidnapping" their own children - one doesn't do that for a ransom. You are correct, about bank robbers taking people hostage - but they're not doing that for money either - in that case, it's a last resort when their bank robbery has gone wrong. It's a fine point, but I stand by my statement that in the case of kidnapping for ransom, it's equivalent to being taken hostage.
    – Vérace
    Aug 11, 2015 at 8:28
  • I understand the statement but not its relation to the original question as is.
    – GAM PUB
    Aug 11, 2015 at 8:32

Another possibility is to use the verb "ravir". You could say: "Je l'ai ravie", which means exactly "Je l'ai kidnappée" оr "Je l'ai enlevée".

  • 9
    Beware that "Je l'ai ravie" is ambiguous as it an also be understood as "I pleased her".
    – jlliagre
    Aug 10, 2015 at 11:19
  • 3
    Moreover, the verb "ravir" is mostly used in formal speech, you can find it in the literature but French people rarely use it whereas the word "ravisseur" is used in informal speech.
    – gouessej
    Aug 10, 2015 at 11:34
  • @jlliagre - more like "pleased" as in "ravished" :-) - "je lui ai plu" is "I pleased him/her".
    – Vérace
    Aug 10, 2015 at 15:43
  • "Je lui ai ravi" is not ambiguous however (because it does not make any sense with meaning "pleased"). It's more informal. Notice the missing final "e" in that case, since "lui" is a indirect object complement whose gender is not related to "her" but to whom lost her (unknown in the OP question hence masculine/neutral).
    – xryl669
    Aug 10, 2015 at 17:49
  • If you're not a proficient speaker of French you should avoid using this. It would only lead to misunderstanding.
    – GAM PUB
    Aug 11, 2015 at 0:46

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