French Language Blog

French Language – Let’s Talk About Verbs Again Posted by on Jan 12, 2009 in Grammar

Just as in English (i.e. I gave my mother some flowers)…many verbs in French can be followed by two objects.   The sentence structure in these cases can be a bit complicated and involves some memorization of which verbs go with which structures.  I’ll outline these structures in this article.

The most common structure which is kind of the opposite of what is most common in English is as follows:

VERB + DO + IO (= something to someone)
Ex: Il a offert un cadeau à sa copine. (He gave a present to his girlfriend.)
This structure works for the verbs: apporter, demander, donner, écrire, emprunter, envoyer, expliquer, indiquer, lire, montrer, prêter, promettre, proposer, raconter, rendre, répondre, vendre… 

What follows are other structures that you may run across or need to use:

VERB + IO (to someone) + DE + INFINITIVE
Ex: Ma sœur a dit à ma mère de ne pas lui parler. (My sister told my mother not to talk to her.)
This structure works for the verbs: dire, écrire, conseiller, défendre, demander, interdire, pardonner, permettre, promettre, proposer, reprocher, recommander, suggérer… 

VERB + DO (someone) + À + INFINITIVE
Ex: J’oblige ma fille à étudier. (I make my daughter study.)
This structure works for the verbs: autoriser, aider, encourager, forcer, obliger

VERB + DO (someone) + DE + INFINITIVE
Ex: J’ai empêché mon fils de sortir hier soir. (I prevented my son from going out last night.)
This structure works for the verbs: accuser, convaincre, charger, dispenser, empêcher, excuser, féliciter, persuader… 

VERB + DO (someone) + DE + NOUN
Ex: La police a informé mon ami de son PV.  (The police informed my friend of his fine.)
This structure works for the verbs: accuser, avertir, charger, dispenser, excuser, féliciter, informer, prévenir, remercier…

As you can see, some of the verbs are found on more than one list…so you have to be a bit careful.

When I was studying in Paris, I hung up a sign next to my desk with these structures and the verbs hoping that it would help me memorize them.  Every time I sat down I would quickly run through them.

*DO = direct object, IO = indirect object

Tags: , ,
Keep learning French with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: Transparent Language

Transparent Language is a leading provider of best-practice language learning software for consumers, government agencies, educational institutions, and businesses. We want everyone to love learning language as much as we do, so we provide a large offering of free resources and social media communities to help you do just that!