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.
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“:
- leur /lure/ (listen)
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:
She talks to them. Well, this one is the same as in English. But…
He phones them.
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.
He tells the what he thinks.
He looks like them.
That is a funny one. The translation for this is They like him. Word per word, it reads: He to them is desirable.
Useful one if you work or study in French. We always forget something, right? He borrows a monkey wrench from them.
He lends them a monkey wrench.
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:
All of the verbs above will be conjugated with the pronoun “leur” for them, (as well as “lui” for him or her).
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.
Move on to Part 2.
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