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  • Je te prie de la rendre en un morceau à sa propriétaire.

  • Je te prie de la rendre à sa propriétaire en un morceau.

If I put "en un morceau" at the end of the sentence, does it seem like the owner is in a good shape, not the thing returned?

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Both sentences have no issue with the meaning, here is about the subtle difference:

  • la = complément d'objet direct (COD)
  • à sa propriétaire = complément d'objet indirect (COI)
  • en un morceau = complément d'objet second (COS)

In general we are used to place in order COD-COI-COS. Just because it is a natural order:

(object of the discussion)- (to who/what it is directed)- (a superfluous comment)

But this is not a rule and you are free to emphasize the part you wish.

  • Je te prie de la rendre à sa propriétaire en un morceau is what we would naturally say
  • Je te prie de la rendre en un morceau à sa propriétaire this will lead to think that the part en un morceau is, for the conversation, particularly important.
  • Thank you. So in saying "ça aurait pu très mal se terminer pour toi", the person emphasizes "très mal", compared to saying "ça aurait pu se terminer très mal pour toi"? – Segwayinto Jun 26 '17 at 14:03
  • @MilFille: Exactly, but let's remember it is subtle, if you really want to emphasize something, then 'THIS' will always do better – Jonathan Jun 26 '17 at 14:44
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Both versions are gramatically correct and mean the exact same thing.

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I would add to the other answer thats i've never heard anyone use "en un morceau" the correct expression is "en un seul morceau". It has the same meaning and people will probably understand you. But people, like me, will be surprised by the lack of "seul".

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