Tu lui fais lire ce livre ?

When you want to say "make him/her do something", you need to use the indirect pronoun "lui" instead of "le/la", correct? But how do you change the sentence above if you need to describe his/her name such as Alex? Is the following correct?

Tu fais lire ce livre à Alex ?

  • If you want to include someone's actual name, you will need to do it as you have done. Due to the fact that you use à to form the causative, you do use an indirect object (Lui, Leur, etc.); however, in order to include the name you can't use an indirect object pronoun, but use the antecedent. May 22, 2016 at 1:50
  • Whenever I see these explanations using technical words for beginners, it makes my eyes glaze over. I have never heard "form the causative" either. But the OP has it right. Est-ce que tu lui faire lire ce livre à Alex is another option. Or even: Lui fais-tu lire ce livre à Alex?
    – Lambie
    May 22, 2016 at 13:54
  • I think that including both "lui" and "Alex" is a good idea for making it abundantly clear that I'm using the make someone do construction. At least for a newbie like me, without the word "lui", the sentence almost sounds as if "you're reading a book to Alex" rather than "you're making Alex read a book". This is probably due to the fact that the preposition "à" tends to evoke the image of "to" for English speakers. May 22, 2016 at 18:55
  • Hi. Can I also say "Tu lui faire lire ce livre à Alex" by leaving out the "est-ce que" part? May 22, 2016 at 18:55
  • Yes, commonly in spoken French you'll just hear it as a statement but with intonation. @LUNA May 22, 2016 at 19:29

2 Answers 2


Tu fais lire ce livre à Alex ?

Is correct.

When you want to say "make him/her do something", you need to use the indirect pronoun "lui" instead of "le/la", correct?

Yes, in French "lui" is equivalent to both him and her as indirect object pronouns.

  • 1
    Lui = him and her as indirect object pronouns; La/Le are only for direct object pronouns. May 22, 2016 at 19:39

Am I wrong or can't:

Tu le fais lire à Alex.

mean both

I have Alex read it.


I have it read to Alex/I have someone unnamed read it to Alex ?

I have always thought a sentence like this to be ambiguous, requiring a context for its meaning to be clear.

Also, while I'm at it, may I ask whether you could use the preposition "par" here to disambiguate: "Tu le fais lire par Alex" = "I have Alex read it"?

  • This more of a comment than an answer but you haven't got enough reputation yet to comment. Anyway, indeed, you're right, it could be ambiguous. And yes using par would definitely disambiguate.You probably meant "You" and not "I" in your examples in English. i wasn't sure I didn't change it but you can edit your answer. Welcome de FL.
    – None
    May 26, 2016 at 19:11

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