I have this sentence :

En un clin d’œil, le loup les attrapa et les jeta dans un grand sac qu'il mit sur son dos.

I would tend to say that the bold il word refers to le sac. But if I replace le loup by la louve, then I would write the sentence this way :

En un clin d’œil, la louve les attrapa et les jeta dans un grand sac qu'elle mit sur son dos.

So I'm quite confused about this situation. What's your opinion ?

  • 2
    Have you not answered your own question?
    – zeFrenchy
    Sep 29, 2017 at 8:14
  • Maybe yes. But as a native speaker, this is a paradox feeling I had, and I wanted to have other opinions to understand what was wrong about my feeling.
    – Akah
    Sep 29, 2017 at 9:37

1 Answer 1


The il replaces le loup.

There is indeed a reference to le sac as well, which is the word qu', having a direct object function. You can learn more about relative pronouns here for example.

If you want to make sure your instinct is right, you could change the word sac by a feminine word:

En un clin d’œil, le loup les attrapa et les jeta dans une grande caisse qu'il mit sur son dos.

  • 1
    That's a nice contre example ! I guess my initial feeling is wrong, and I was confused by the proximity of qu' and il.
    – Akah
    Sep 29, 2017 at 9:38
  • @Akah That would be an instinct to question! It's hard to imagine a situation like « le <GN> qu'il <GV> » where « que » and « il » could refer to the same entity.
    – Luke Sawczak
    Sep 30, 2017 at 1:28

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