Grammar / intermediate

About Them (Part 1)

Here’s a short lists of verbs. It is a very, very precious and useful one. My advice to you is to memorize it, no questions asked. You’ll see why. short list


This post is going to be about them. About them, the word them: how to say it in French? There are not one, but two  three words that translate as “them“:

- les /lay/ (listen)

- leur /lure/ (listen)

- eux /uhr/ (pronounce Oh as a snobby person would, closing the mouth slightly although not the lips. There. You’ve got it. Listen ).


For example:

Tu les reçois. (Listen)
You greet them.

Tu leur donnes du thé. (Listen)
You give them tea.

Tu parles avec eux. (Listen)
You talk with them.


Don’t be discouraged.

The Secret Is In The… Preposition

It’s the verb’s preposition – or lack of –  that will determine whether you use les, leur or eux. If the verb is followed by the preposition “à (quelqu’un)“, as in the list above, then you use leur.  Leur is like to them. The problem is that you can’t go by how it’s said in English. It doesn’t really work with that one. You must learn each verb.  Let’s take a closer look:


elle leur parle

She talks to them. Well, this one is the same as in English. But…


Il leur téléphone

He phones them. 


je leur demande quelque chose     je leur pose une question

Be careful with these two. Demander is to ask for, not used with “ask a question”. Translation of the above: I ask them for something.      I ask them a question.


il leur dit ce qu il pense

He tells the what he thinks.


Il leur ressemble

He looks like them. 


Il leur plait

That is a funny one. The translation for this is They like him. Word per word, it reads: He to them is desirable.


il leur emprunte

Useful one if you work or study in French. We always forget something, right? He borrows a monkey wrench from them. 


il leur prete

He lends them a monkey wrench.


il leur rend

He returns them their monkey wrench. Few! That is a confusing one. Two leur in one sentence! That is because to make things clearer, French happens to use the word “leur/leurs” for their. So leur can be both them OR their. leurs, however, as in “leurs clés“, can only be their.


Start with these. When you are ready, you can learn these:

long list

All of the verbs above will be conjugated with the pronoun “leur” for them, (as well as “lui” for him or her).

For example:

J’écris à mes parents; je leur écris. 
I write to my parents; I write them.

Elle chante une chanson à ses enfants; elle leur chante une chanson.
She sings a song to her children; she sings them a song.

Il sourit aux spectateurs; il leur sourit.
He smiles to the spectators; he smiles to them.

note leur

Move on to Part 2.


© Ouicestca 2013, tous droits réservés.

About these ads

8 thoughts on “About Them (Part 1)

  1. I really like this a lot! My students will also. One problem…in English, you can’t say
    “He borrows them a monkey wrench.” You would need to say ” They borrow a monkey
    wrench from him.” It doesn’t translate like the other examples with leur as well.
    Also….you smile AT someone, not TO them, in English. Small things but just thought
    I would let you know. I LOVE your blog. Happy to see you back:)

  2. Leslie! Thanks for these corrections! MUCH appreciated. I made the appropriate changes. Does “He borrows a monkey wrench from them” work?

  3. Pingback: About Them (Part 3) | Oui, c'est ça!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s