One of the really frustrating things about French for me is being able to do obscure things like read about the semantics of agentive verbs in French, but not being able to use !@#%$ pronouns correctly.
Here’s something that I got wrong on an assessment test on the Lawless French web site. It turns out that if a pro-form (a cover term for pronouns, pro-verbs, etc.) is replacing an infinitive or a relative clause, you are probably going to replace it with le or l’. The way that Laura Lawless puts it is that you’re using the pro-form to stand in for a “previously mentioned complete idea.” If I understood Laura’s lesson correctly, replacement of an infinitive with a pro-form works like this:
- Ils veulent frapper le quartier général? Do they want to strike the headquarters? Oui, je le pense. Yes, I think so.
Replacement of a relative clause works like this:
- Tu veux que Daech soit puni? Do you want Islamic State to be punished? Oui, je le souhaite bien. Yes, I really want it.
So, let’s memorize this:
- Infinitives can be replaced with a pro-form.
- Relative clauses can be replaced with a pro-form.
- The pro-form should be le/l’.
Who knew? I sure didn’t. See the Lawless French web site for more.