Si tu veux bien prendre cette fiole de miel et verser son contenu dans ces verres ? Il n'en reste plus beaucoup, mais tu devrais en avoir assez pour en remplir trois.

In the second sentence, I used three "en"s, the first two referring to "miel" and the third one to "verres".

I'm concerned that the third "en" might be placed too far away from the word "verres" that I intend it to refer to, with two other different "en"s preceding it. But I can't seem to come up with a better way to phrase the sentence without using three "en"s.

2 Answers 2


(French fellow here)

Haaaa. It seems that the en creates many questions.

There is absolutely no problem using three en for three different things.

The only thing that matters for the en is : Will my listener understand me ? In your sentence, it is prefectly natural and I had no problem understanding you. There were no doubt about which en refers to what. The en exists to ease your sentence and frees it from repetitions.

I hope I helped you.

  • Are the three "en" referring to three things? Aren't the first two "en" referring to "miel", and the third to "verres"? - Could you give an example with three "en" referring to three things in one sentence? Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 9:50
  • @ChristianGeiselmann Hi. If you slightly paraphrase my 2nd sentence, you might get what you want, even if the entire sentence might sound a bit too artificial to be used in the flow of conversation. :) Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 10:26
  • @ChristianGeiselmann « Il n'en reste plus beaucoup, mais pourquoi ne pas t'en servir pour en remplir trois ? », with the 2nd "en" referring to "cette fiole de miel". Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 10:29
  • You are right Christian. 3 en for only 2 different meanings. If you really want 3 en for 3 meanings. I could add in the end: « [...] pour en remplir trois que je briserai pour en récupérer les morceaux.  » The last en I added refers to the word morceaux (pieces) Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 10:34

It is ok thanks to the context.
Remplir can only refer to the glasses. There is absolutely no confusion here.
If you used another verb that can also apply to miel, there would have been risks of confusion.

In fact, there is more risk of confusion for the first en. If your phrase was cut at the 'Il n'en reste plus beaucoup'. en could refer the glasses.

  • Merci. Aussi ambigu que puisse être l’emploi de ces trois « en »s, sans eux, je vois mal comment j'aurais pu faire autrement... Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 11:35
  • Ce n'est pas ambigu tant que la phrase est complète. C'est la magie de la chose. Je suis français, et la phrase est très claire.
    – dna
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 13:33

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