Pronominal Adverbs (Adverbes Pronominaux)

In French the adverbs en from there and y to there may be used as indirect object pronouns, replacing expressions constructed with the prepositiions de of, from and à to.


Origin: OF ent <= L inde from that place, from that time.

The adverbial pronoun en replace the object of the preposition de, including expressions of quantity.

In the above examples, en must be present in French, even though the usage 'of them' is not necessary in English. The usage of en for persons is considered old fashioned; in this case the contemporary speakers prefer the disjunctive pronoun: The pronominal adverb en is not to be confused with the preposition en in, at.


Origin: L hic in this place, here.

The adverbial pronoun y replace the object of the preposition à + places and things:

The pronoun y can also replace the object of a number of prepositions indicating placement in space or movement: The Pronouns y and en

The pronouns y and en have a special place in the French language and are not easily defined in all cases.

The pronoun en can have many meanings and is, of sorts, an indirect object pronoun. It is used in cases where the implied pronoun is one other than à. Often, it is translated as about + person / thing. It is usually the pronoun replacement for de + object. Note the following examples:

In some cases, use of en is optional and can be replaced by using the correct preposition with the disjunctive pronoun. Usually, the disjunctive pronouns are used when the object being replaced is a person or persons: Generally speaking, the pronoun y is a direct object pronoun most often referring back to a place. Usually, the best translation is there. Take the following examples: The pronoun y can be used in conjuction with other direct object pronouns and reflexive pronouns. It will follow all direct object pronouns.

See more on the usage of the disjunctive pronouns.

Place in the sentence

In "normal" affirmative sentences, word order when there are both direct and indirect objects in a sentence is as follows:

See also Pronouns order.

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