[Deactivated user]
When to use "le" and "la" for people instead of "Lui"?

One thing that really grinds my gears in French is the pronouns. Whenever I watch French movies or documentaries, I always see the French using le or la for people instead of lui. Now, how can I as a French learner make a distinction?

Is there any specific rule for using le or la for replacing people's name in sentences? It's pretty simple for objects but for people, it's rather difficult, especially, when you have the pronoun "lui" which can be used for both males and females.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Mar 16, 2017 11:59 PM
Comments · 3
Le and la are the accusative case of il and elle: the object follows directly the verb (COD: complément d'object direct). (The subject is doing the action, the object is "the victim" of the action/undergoes the action)
Je vois Tom -> Je le vois
Je vois Marie -> Je la vois.
Lui is the dative case of il and elle : there is a particule of attribution between the verb and the object (generally "à"). It's called a COI in french (complément d'objet indirect) because the object doesn't follow directly the verb: there is a particule.
Je parle à Tom -> Je lui parle (I speak TO/WITH Tom) (in english there is also a particule, I'm not sure which :))
Je donne un cadeau à Marie -> Je lui donne un cadeau. (I give a present TO Marie)

There are obliques cases for other particules like 'de": in russian it would be called a "prepositional case", in french I don't know.

Je parle de Tom -> Je parle de lui
Je parle de Marie -> Je parle d'elle
Je parle de la voiture-> J'en parle (voiture is not a person, so I use 'en' instead of lui or elle)
March 17, 2017
For example: I see Mary, Je la vois. I see Tom would become Je la vois. But why can't we say Je lui vois? 
March 17, 2017

I do not completely understand your question. You have to give an example of sentences that you find confusing. 

'Le' and 'lui' referring to a person are not interchangeable: 'lui' is 'dative'. E.g. Je lui ai dit: I said to him. vs Je l'ai vu: I saw him. 

If you give some examples and explain what you find specifically confusing about them we can try and solve this for you. 

March 17, 2017