Two facebook advertisements have me confused about "en"


A facebook advertisement (along with the English translation that facebook provides) I saw is:

Vous en avez assez de la neige à perte de vue? Remplacez-la par du sable ! Are you tired of snow in sight? Replace it with sand!

As I understand it, the typical use of "en" is to be a pronoun that replaces a previously mentioned "de + noun". Other uses of "en" might be adverb clauses (" en + [something] "), but it doesn't look like that is happening here.

So what is this "en" doing?


Another facebook advertisement:

Apprenez-en davantage sur les crédits d’impôt qui pourraient aider votre entreprise à réduire ses coûts. Learn more about tax credits that could help your business reduce its costs.

A dictionary tells me that "davantage" is an adverb that means "more". What is that "en" doing in "Apprenez-en"? There is no previous noun for "en" to replace! In fact, I'm being told what I must "apprenez": I am being ordered to learn "sur les crédits d'impôt", so if there is that indirect object there (ie, what i'm supposed to be learning about), then what could the "en" possibly be referring to?

1 Answer 1


Good question. In these cases en preemptively replaces the de + noun phrase.

Thus it refers to « de la neige » in the first case and « [des renseignements] sur les crédits » in the second. (I'm filling in « des renseignements » because you couldn't use en to replace sur + noun.)

But why say those things twice? Well... I see this as one of those nebulous things that makes French more "French".

The first appearance in the form of en feels natural. It allows « Vous en avez assez » and « Apprenez-en » to sound "complete". Without en, those phrases are somehow begging for something to fill a syntactic slot that, logically, seems like it could go unfilled.

The second appearance tells you what you're actually talking about.

So you might say the first one answers a pragmatic/stylistic need and the second a semantic need.

This is a behaviour of en that's worthwhile getting used to, because it happens a lot. It aligns with other patterns where French likes to both fill a syntactic slot with a clitic pronoun and add the "full version" of the antecedent. In theory there should be a comma somewhere in there, but in the sentences you quote it would break up the flow their advertising copy demands.

Il s'y rend très souvent, à Londres.

  • Thanks for this answer! Questions: 1) So, even though "Vous en avez assez" sounds more "complete", is "Vous avez assez" grammatically incorrect? 2) Is there a heuristic to know when it is better to put the redundant "en" in? that is, I imagine that it is incorrect to put it EVERY time that there is a de + noun object! 3) Is "Apprenez sur les crédits" grammatically incorrect, because "sur les crédits" has no object to modify? (or am I confused -- is "sur les crédits" instead modifying the verb?)
    – silph
    Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 4:31
  • 1
    @silph 1) « Vous avez assez » should be correct without en, but it should be followed by de + noun then. 2) Great question and sadly one I don't know the answer to. It probably can't hurt to put it in most of the time, at least in non-formal French. But if someone offers an answer with some kind of way to predict good places to use, I'd be happy to learn of one. 3) It's incorrect because you need to apprendre something—some noun. That noun can be partitive (e.g. des renseignements) but it can't just be apprendre sur X, as far as I know.
    – Luke Sawczak
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 4:50
  • The use of pronouns in French confuses me the most compared to English. They are just everywhere, whereas in English, we only use it if we really think the other person won't know of what we refer to.
    – Cloud
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 11:40

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