Je la lui ai donnée.

Je la lui ai donnée.

zhuh lah lwee ay duh-NAY. Click below to hear this.*

I gave it to him/her.

Today is a story about him, her, and it. Two its, actually. Let’s give them names: Pierre, Hélène, la lettre, and le livre. And my generosity, since I am doing a lot of giving today.

The feature we are looking for here is when to make the past participle agree, and with what. Here are all of the possible combinations of these words (I hope!):

J’ai donné le livre à Pierre.
Je lui ai donné le livre.
Je l’ai donné à Pierre.
Je le lui ai donné.

J’ai donné le livre à Hélène.
Je lui ai donné le livre.
Je l’ai donné à Hélène.
Je le lui ai donné.

J’ai donné la lettre à Pierre.
Je lui ai donné la lettre.
Je l’ai donnée à Pierre.
Je la lui ai donnée.

J’ai donné la lettre à Hélène.
Je lui ai donné la lettre.
Je l’ai donnée à Hélène.
Je la lui ai donnée.

Three things to notice: (1) Agreement only takes place when the direct object comes before the verb. (2) Agreement is only with the direct object, never the indirect object or the subject. (3) And, of course, remember that lui can refer to either Pierre or Hélène.

It makes no difference who is doing the giving, or any other action. “I” could be male or female. Hélène and Pierre actually aren’t important either. It’s le livre and la lettre that matter, and only when they are referred to as le or la.

*Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s an alternative link to the audio file:

je_la_lui_ai_donnee.mp3

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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