Pronouns –en and –y in French

The topic of pronouns in French is quite extensive, it often happens that there is too much information and our brain is hardly able to remember it, much less use it. Therefore, in this article, we decided to introduce you to the pronouns –en and –y in French in a short form, so to say for "primary" comprehension and use.

So, take –en.

Pronoun –en. 

Case 1. Quantity

Used to replace un, une, des, du, de la, de l ', des, which express quantity.

Example 1: 

Vous mangez de la viande ? - Oui, j'en mange

Do you eat meat? - Yes, I do eat it.

Vous buvez du vin ? - Oui, j'en bois

Do you drink wine? - Yes, I do drink it. 

Vous achetez des surgelés ? - Oui, j'en achète

Do you buy frozen products? - Yes, I do buy them.


Example 2:

As-tu un appartement ? - Oui, j'en ai un

Do you have a flat? - Yes I have one. 

Elle a acheté un livre ? - Oui, elle en a acheté un / deux / trois / beaucoup etc

Did she buy a book? - Yes. She bought it/one/two, etc.

Vous avez des enfants ? - Oui, j'en ai trois

Do you have children? - Yes. Three of them.

Vous avez du beurre ? Oui, j'en ai un paquet / un peu

Have you got some butter? - Yes, I’ve got one. 


What's the tricky part?

In Example 1, the questions are asked, in general, without specifying the number, presumably in situations where you are already sitting at the table or in the grocery store, so they require a short answer: Oui, j'en + Verbe.

In Example 2, the questions are asked, implying the number in the answer. Accordingly, the answer is built on the same principle, but with a specification of the quantity. It is important for the French to clarify this information, otherwise the answer will be absurd.

Case 2. The verb + de.

Je suis sûr de ta victoire. J'en suis sûr

I am confident about your victory. I am confident about it. 

Nous parlons de nos projets. Nous en parlons

We are speaking about our projects. We are speaking about them. 

Il est content du produit ? - Oui, il en est content

Is he happy about the product? - Yes, he is happy about it. 

Vous parler du film ? - Oui, nous en parlons 

Are you speaking about this film? - Yes, we are speaking about it. 

Il a envie de partir ? - Oui, il en a envie

Does he feel like leaving? - Yes, he does feel like this.


As you can see, it is extremely important to listen carefully to a question and try to think in French. We say, "We answer the way we hear a question." Here it does work! And one more detail, literal translation is not always stylistically correct, but by translating this way, we help ourselves to better understand the construction of French sentences. This way allows our students to think like the French.

Part 2.

Author: Kseniya Arman

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