I did some experiments with Google Translate to translate three sets of sentences, in order to try to understand how to translate certain sentences that involve prepositions as well as object pronouns. I don't understand the results.
I run towards the forest.
Je cours vers la forêt.
There is the forest. I run through it.
Il y a la forêt. Je cours vers lui.
I am surprised by "lui".
I had thought that "the forest", when being replaced by the object pronoun "it" in English, would also in French be replaced by a direct object pronoun (namely, "la"). (I figured that "la forêt" is a direct object pronoun, because I've learned that indirect object pronouns in French happen when the noun that the pronoun is replacing is preceded with à or de, (as in Je pense de toi). "the forest" has no à or de before it, so I figured it must be a direct object).
Even if it is an indirect object pronoun, I was taught that indirect object pronouns go before the verb. So why is the sentence not:
Il y a la forêt. Je lui cours vers.
I run in the forest.
Je cours dans la forêt.
There is the forest. I run in it.
Il y a la forêt. Je cours dedans.
WordReference says that "dedans" is an adverb that means "inside". In French, can you not actually say "I run in it", and that you can only say, "I run inside"?
Electricity runs through my computer.
L'électricité passe par mon ordinateur.
There is my computer. Electricity runs through it.
Il y a mon ordinateur. L'électricité le traverse.
What happened to the preposition "par", when the pronoun "le" replaces "mon ordinateur"?
In all three sets of sentences, I was expecting to simply replace a noun with a direct object pronoun. But many, many different questions came up:
- Why was "la forêt" replaced with "lui" (an indirect object pronoun), instead of "la" (a direct object pronoun), when I see no "à" or "de" before "la forêt"?
- Why was "lui" not placed just before the verb, like how we're taught is the proper placement for object pronouns?
- Why was "dedans" used, instead of some kind of object pronoun? Is it actually impossible to translate "I ran in it" using an object pronoun?
- In English, "Electricity runs through it" keeps the preposition, but in French, it seems that using an object pronoun removes the preposition "vers". How do I know when to remove the preposition (as in "L'électricité le traverse") versus when to keep it (as in "Je cours ver lui.") ?