C'est toujours la même chose. La nourriture est toujours détestable, et les prisonniers sont toujours innocents. Ce qu'ils désirent, c'est toujours la liberté. En avez-vous d'autres?

I learned this sentence from Graded French Reader.

  • In the last sentence, how should I understand "en"?
  • What is its function in grammar?
  • Doesn't "Avez-vous d'autres" mean "Do you have something else?"
  • 3
    Please give proper attribution to any book excerpt or quote. Sep 19, 2016 at 7:36
  • @Stéphane Gimenez: I have edited the question accordingly. Thank you for your comment.
    – user6106
    Sep 20, 2016 at 1:04

3 Answers 3


"En" is referring to the prisoners. The governor has already been visiting several prisoners and he is asking to the director if there are more of them to visit:

Do you have more prisoners (that you plan me to visit)?

Edit: Here is the original Le Comte de Monte-Cristo chapter.

  • 3
    I suppose you relied on more context than what was shown in the question. From the exerpt alone the antecedent is rather unclear. Sep 19, 2016 at 7:34
  • 2
    @StéphaneGimenez You are definitely right. The excerpt provided isn't enough to sort out the antecedent. This question, like many similar ones lately, is from Alexandre Dumas's Le Comte de Monte-Cristo
    – jlliagre
    Sep 19, 2016 at 8:59
  • Thank you for your answer. I have just added the reference in the question. It is indeed from Dumas's Le Comte de Monte-Cristo.
    – user6106
    Sep 20, 2016 at 1:10

En can be several things in French (preposition, adverb, adverbial pronoun, among others). In the sentence referred to by @jlliagre:

L'inspecteur se tourna en souriant, et dit au gouverneur :
« Je ne sais pas pourquoi on nous fait faire ces tournées inutiles. Qui voit un prisonnier en voit cent ; qui entend un prisonnier en entend mille ; c'est toujours la même chose : mal nourris et innocents. En avez-vous d'autres ?
- Oui, nous avons les prisonniers dangereux ou fous, que nous gardons au cachot.

we know it is an adverbial pronoun because of what comes before :

Qui voit un prisonnier en voit cent ; qui entend un prisonnier en entend mille

and what comes after :

Oui, nous avons les prisonniers dangereux ou fous, que nous gardons au cachot.

If the quote was stopped just after qui entend un prisonnier en entend mille we could understand en as meaning "such/similar prisoners". But what comes after makes it clear that en does not stand for "similar prisoners" but for "different type(s) of prisoners", i.e. prisoners who do not only have to say they are innocent or not fed properly. I'd translate the sentence with : "Do you have a different type of prisoners?"

Doesn't "Avez-vous d'autres" mean "Do you have something else?"

Avez-vous d'autres is not possible. Something is missing :

Avez-vous quelque chose d'autre ?

Avez-vous des prisonniers différents ?

And if context makes it clear we are talking about "different prisoners" we can use en :

 En avez-vous d'autres ?

This answer has been given after OP posted a question on meta and from context given in @Jiliagre's answer. The modified text in the graded reader referred to by OP might be different, the exact quote from the graded reader is missing from OP's question.

  • Is adverbial pronouns an English term frequently used to refer to the French clitics en and y which stand for prepositional phrases? This is quite confusing as they seem to have nothing in common with adverbs.
    – GAM PUB
    Dec 20, 2016 at 11:48

I couldn't explain the grammar behind this and am answering purely by intuition (I am a native french speaker). "En avez-vous d'autres" means "Do you have more of them". Leaving out "En" and saying "Avez-vous d'autres" wouldn't work. The best comparison I can come up with is saying "Have you more?" in english.

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