I'm having trouble understanding the following sentence, found as an answer to a different question on this site:

Comme le fait aussi remarquer Laurent en commentaire, [....].

When I type this into Google Translate, it gives me:

As noted by Laurent in commentary

I want to understand the grammar of this sentence. I don't understand how the words in this sentence mean what Google Translate gives.

  • I am very unclear what the le is. Is "le fait" a noun (like "une pomme" is a noun)? Or perhaps it's a direct object? Or is it even some strange subject (that is, as if "le fait remarquer Laurent" is like "je veux manger une pomme")???
  • Perhaps "fait remarquer Laurent" is a causative faire. (https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/faire-causative/). On that website, it says that two typical ways to use causative faire are either to write "subject + faire + infinitive + receiver" or to write "subject + faire + infinitive + agent". But the trouble with this is that I see no subject in "Comme le fait aussi remarquer Laurent", unless "le" is some strange subject. But I have never seen "le" be used as a subject before. Instead, the sentences that I see "le" in are like this: "Je le mange" (I ate it), where the subject is a more typical word (like a pronoun like "je, tu", etc, or a noun like "David, mon professeur, la radio", etc.), and the "le" is not a subject at all but instead a direct object.

So these are my best guesses at the grammar being used in this sentence, and they aren't guesses that create any understanding. Can you please analyse this sentence to help me understand the grammar used in it?

1 Answer 1


The inverted subject seems to be the main problem throwing you off. Laurent is the subject of faire. One could also write the following with the same meaning.

Comme Laurent le fait remarquer en commentaire, [...]

The second problem is the raising of the complement of remarquer to the left of faire.

Comme Laurent fait remarquer cela en commentaire, [...]

This is common with the causative construction.

Paul fait manger des pommes aux enfants.
Paul les fait manger aux enfants.
Paul leur fait manger des pommes.
Paul les leur fait manger.

In a way, faire+verb acts as a compound, the inverted subject goes after the whole block on the right and the clitics come before on the left. Of course, it is not a real compound as adverbs can access the intermediate position as in:

Comme le fait souvent remarquer Laurent en commentaire, ...

  • i'm not sure what a clitic is. from these examples, "clitic" means an object pronoun?
    – silph
    Oct 21, 2017 at 9:06
  • 1
    Clitic is the name for a syntactic element that has to be glued to another word to survive. In French there is a number of special clitics that stick to verbs.
    – GAM PUB
    Oct 21, 2017 at 17:15

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