— Mais qu'est-ce qui se passe Rylan ? pourquoi tu souris comme ça ? D'habitude, quand on parle de grammaire, tu n'as pas envie de rire.

— J'étais en train de repenser à la pièce de théâtre que je suis allé voir hier soir. C'était génial ! J'en ris encore. Et toi, Julie ?

Well, I know that the pronoun en usually refers to a previously mentioned noun or noun phrase that's preceded by the preposition de. In this case, what is he still laughing about? Logically speaking, it follows that he would be laughing about the play that he saw in the theatre last night. But since it's the whole phrase repenser à la pièce de théâtre que... that's preceded by de, it must be the case that he is still laughing about the process of rethinking the play that he saw last night because, according to grammar, repenser à la pièce de théâtre que... should be the antecedent of the en? Is my understanding correct or am I missing something?

2 Answers 2


You are right about the use of en when it is a personal pronoun.

en usually refers to a previously mentioned noun or noun phrase that's preceded by the preposition de.

The difficulty in the present case is that there are two de one is expressed, the other is not.

En train de is a phrase that must be followed by a verb and that is not the one we should be looking at.

We also have rire de (followed by a noun phrase) and that is the one to consider. But de is not explicit here, which is why you missed it although your initial understanding of the sentence was correct.

You can see the sentence as:

  • Je ris encore de la pièce/ de la soirée d'hier. → J'en ris encore.

But since the whole context (the evening, the play...) has just been mentioned there is no need to repeat it, we express it with en.

  • So, how would you then translate your example: Je ris encore de la pièce. J'en ris encore? Like this: I'm still laughing about the play. I'm still laughing about it?
    – user69786
    Sep 7, 2019 at 4:53
  • @user69786 Yes, I'm still laughing about it. Note that en can be other things than a personal pronoun. There are already seevral posts about this, e.g. this one
    – None
    Sep 7, 2019 at 6:00
  • Could you please do me a favor? I'd like you to transcribe this short audio clip for me: clyp.it/iqkzuqn2 It's really just a few seconds long. There are two words that I don't understand in that audio clip. The word at the very beginning and the word at the very end.
    – user69786
    Sep 22, 2019 at 13:33
  • @user69786 I left you a message in chat, it's more appropriate for this kind of requests.
    – None
    Sep 22, 2019 at 14:06

It refers to “still” as I am still laughing at it (knowing the event happened in the past and is other)

Hope it helps LT

  • Still is encore, nothing to do with en.
    – None
    Sep 8, 2019 at 7:25
  • I appreciate your point of view. Then following your logic it should be “at” in my sentence. Which mean, the juxtaposition of “still + at” is the correct translation of “en+encore”
    – lucTiber
    Sep 8, 2019 at 7:28
  • I was referring to this part of you answer: "It refers to “still”" supposing that it in your sentence represented en (you were answering the question "What does “en” refer to in “J'en ris encore”?). en does not refer to "still". "Still" is an adverb and in the OP's sentence it means encore.
    – None
    Sep 8, 2019 at 7:38
  • Thanks Laure for this clarification- as the aim of SoF is to help the end user, I am sure we can agree my latest refinement is then correctly answering to the question isn’t it.
    – lucTiber
    Sep 8, 2019 at 7:43
  • I'm afraid not, the OP was asking about en and you are saying that en refers to still, which is not correct.
    – None
    Sep 8, 2019 at 7:45

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