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Direct Object Pronouns

1. The use of Direct Object Pronouns (DOP)

A Direct Object Pronoun is used to replace a noun ( which is the object of the sentence).

It is used to talk about something without repeating it.

Check the example below to understand what this means:

Je regarde la télévision. I am watching TV.

  • Je, the person who is doing the action, is the subject.

  • la télévision is the object because it is on the receiving end of the action.

We can replace la télévision with a Direct Object Pronoun to avoid repetition.

Je regarde la télévision. Je la regarde tous les jours.

I am watching TV. I watch it everyday.

2. The French Direct Object Pronouns

See table below:


J'adore les chiens.

Je les adore.

3. The position of DOP in simple tenses

In simple tenses/moods: Direct Object Pronouns are placed in front of the verb.


Nous écoutons la musique.

Nous l'écoutons.

In negative sentences: The DOP remains in front of the verb.


Nous n'écoutons pas la musique.

Nous ne l'écoutons pas.

With pronominal verbs:


Elle se brosse les cheveux.

Elle se les brosse.

In negative sentences:


Je ne me brosse jamais les dents.

Je ne me les brosse jamais.

4. DOP in compound tenses

In compound tenses/moods, Direct Object Pronouns are placed in front of the auxiliary.


Il a perdu son stylo.

Il l'a perdu.

Be careful! The past participle must agree with the preceding Direct Object.


Nous avons mangé les bonbons.

Nous les avons mangés.

5. DOP with infinitives

If a verb is followed by an infinitive, the Direct Object Pronoun is usually placed before the infinitive.


Je dois ranger ma chambre.

Je dois la ranger.

Be careful! This rule does not apply if the conjugated verb is a verb of perception* , envoyer, laisser or (se) faire.

* entendre, écouter, voir, apercevoir, regarder, sentir are verbs of perception.


Je fais manger le gâteau à mon chat.

Je le fais manger à mon chat.

6. DOP with imperative

In sentences using the imperative (orders, instructions), the Direct Object Pronouns is placed after the verb.

Moi is used instead of me / m’

Toi is used instead of te / t’

An hyphen is added between the verb and the Direct Object Pronoun.


Aide-moi! Help me!

Be careful! This is not the case for negative sentences, where the DOP is placed before the verb.


Ne le fais pas! Don't do it!


For French A Level students with any exam board:

For French GCSE students with any exam board:

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