French Grammar For Dummies
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Sometimes you need to use two French pronouns in the same sentence, like to answer As-tu mis les livres sur le bureau? (Did you put the books on the desk?): Oui, je les y ai mis (Yes, I put them there).

With two pronouns, you have several possible combinations that can include (two at a time) the IOPs, DOPs, y, en, and the reflexive pronouns (me, te, se, nous, vous, se). As a general rule, the pronouns that are common to all lists (me, te, nous, vous) and se always come first of the pair. Also, en always comes last when combined with another pronoun.

The table summarizes the possible combinations. Read it from left to right. For example, if you need to use the pronouns te and y in your sentence, te will be first and y will follow. Or if you need to use lui and en, then lui comes first and en follows. You can pick any two as long as you go from left to right.

me le lui y en
te la leur
se les

Here are a few examples that show the double pronouns in action.

Je te le dis. (I am telling it to you.)
Il s’y promène. (He walks there.)

When you combine me, te, le, la, or se with y or en, you use an apostrophe before y or en whether or not the verb is a command.

Other pronoun combinations don’t require anything except for the hyphen in commands when the pronouns are after the verb.

Parle-lui-en. (Talk to him/her about it.)
Donne-m’en. (Give me some.)

About This Article

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Véronique Mazet has a doctorate in French from the University of Texas at Austin and is the author of two successful grammar books. She currently teaches French at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas.

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