Direct Objects ou Compléments d’objet direct (COD)

Study Material

Direct Objects ou Compléments d’objet direct (COD)

A direct object is a noun, in this case, both person or thing, that someone or something works upon. In the simplest sentences, the direct object directlycomes after the verb, so it’s very easy to see the effect that the verb has on the noun.

Par exemple…

Elle connaît Grégoire.


Sheknows Grégoire.

Je vois le chiot.


I see the puppy.

Je lis un roman historique.


I’mreading a historicalnovel.

Characteristics of direct objects

  • Always used with transitive verbs
  • Never preceded by prepositions
  • Cannot be removed without altering the meaning of the sentence
  • Become the subject when sentence is turned around into the passive voice
  • Can always be found by asking “Whom?” (qui) or “What?” (quoi)

Par exemple…



Sheknows Grégoire.

What do I see?


I see the puppy.

Whatam I reading?


I’mreading a historicalnovel.

Direct objectpronouns

With the idea of removing the repetition in a series of sentence, both French and English replace the repeating direct objects with direct object pronouns.

  En comparaison…

Elle voit Grégoire. Elle connaît Grégoire depuis 2 ans.

She sees Grégoire. She’s known Grégoire for 2 years.

Elle voit Grégoire. Elle le connaît depuis 2 ans.

SheseesGrégoire. She’sknownhimfor 2 years.

As it might appear, the second version sounds much more natural, in both languages.

French direct object pronouns :


(m’, moi)



(t’, toi)




him, it






her, it




Note : The first and second person singular pronouns(me, te)  have threef orms each:

Normal forms: me and te

Contracted forms: m’ and t’, for use in front of a vowel or h muet

Stressed forms: moi and toi, for use in a particular imperative construction

The third person singular pronouns have two forms:

Normal forms: le and la

Contracted form: l’, for use in front of a vowel or h muet

Le replaces any masculine noun, whether human or inanimate, while la replaces any femininenoun.

Le is also a neuter object pronoun.

The plural direct object pronouns have just one form each.

Word order

In French, direct object pronouns generally comes before the verb, whereas in English they come after it.

Par exemple…

Je le connais.

I know him.

Nous la buvons.


Tu m’aimes ?

Do you love me?

Elles vous voient.


Advanced wordorder

  1. In compound tenses like the passé composé, direct object pronouns comes before the auxiliary verb (être/avoir).

Je l’ai dit.

I saidit.

Nous t’avons vu.


  1. With semi-auxiliary verbs, direct object pronouns comes before the infinitive.

Je dois le dire.

I have to say it.

Nous pouvons te voir.

We can seey ou.

  1. With futur proche, the pronom direct comes before the main verb.

    Je vais vous envoyer

    I will send you

  2. In case of the negation, the pronom direct and the verb will come between the negation « ne……pas »

    Je le regard

    I amwatchingit

    Je ne le regardpas

    I am not watching it

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