I learned the other day that "le" can be used with the verb "être" to avoid repeating a phrase from a previous sentence. I suppose that in this specific case, "le" does not mean "it".

While I was writing the following sentences in French, I came across a part where the "le" in this particular usage might come in handy. I used the "le" in place of the phrase "trop vieux pour apprendre", but I’m not sure if this is the correct usage.

« Certes, on dit qu'on n'est jamais trop vieux pour apprendre. Mais je ne le serais pas si je me mettais à la programmation à vingt-cinq ans ? Je ne parle pas de le faire juste pour le plaisir, mais plutôt d'y améliorer mes compétences au niveau professionnel. »

"Sure, we say that you’re never too old to learn anything, but wouldn’t I be if I took up programming at 25? I’m not talking about just doing it for the sake of it, but rather improving my skills to the professional level."

  • The usage of 'le' is indeed fine in this case, however because you are asking a question the subject should be after the verb: "Mais ne le serais-je pas... ?" Commented May 16, 2016 at 9:38
  • @NicoMezeret This is indeed the way people teaching French tell their student to write questions but they usually sound very unFrench when used in real life speaking circumstances. A good way to sound foreign and not be understood.
    – GAM PUB
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 10:45
  • @GAMPUB I just assumed this particular passage would make use of written French standards rather than informal spoken French Commented May 16, 2016 at 11:01

1 Answer 1


You are correct : On peut remplacer le par la phrase qu'il référence, en le mettant après le verbe être :

Mais je ne serais pas trop vieux pour apprendre si....

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