How to use the pronoun EN in French


The French pronoun EN replaces a QUANTITY


EN refers to a noun that has been introduced by:

👉 De – de la – du – des – d’ – un – une, or any other number
👉 Expressions of quantity like:  un verre de / un kilo de / une bouteille de..
👉 Adverbs of quantity like:  beaucoup de / peu de / assez de…

👉 EN is normally translated to mean “some”, “any”  or “one” in English.
👉 We don’t always need to say SOME or OF THEM in English, but you can’t avoid it in French. 


🎥 Scroll down to watch my comprehensive video lesson on the French pronoun EN 🎥


Examples

In these examples the pronoun EN replaces a QUANTITY.

👉 Nous voudrions 2 baguettes. / We would like 2 baguettes.

👉 Nous en voudrions 2. / We would like 2 (of them).

  • EN goes right before the verb in the present tense.
  • Note that the quantity needs to be repeated.

👉 Je ne mange pas de frites. / I am not eating (any) fries.

👉 Je n’en mange pas. / I am not eating (any of them).

  • Note the placement of EN when using negation.
  • Note that DE is also replaced by the pronoun.

👉 Tu vas servir du champagne? / Are you going to serve (some) champagne?

👉 Tu vas en servir? / Are you going to serve some (of that)?

  • Note that when there is an infinitive in the sentence, EN is placed right before it. The infinitive is the verb that the pronoun is linked to in context and meaning.

👉 Vous achetiez beaucoup de citrons? / Were you buying a lot of lemons?

👉 Vous en achetiez beaucoup? Were you buying a lot (of them)?

  • Note that even when using another tense, like the imperfect in this example, EN goes right before the conjugated verb.
  • Note that you need to repeat the word beaucoup or any other adverb of quantity.

👉 J’ai bu 8 verres d’eau. / I drank 8 glasses of water.

👉 J’en ai bu 8. / I drank 8 glasses (of it).


👉 Il n’a pas voulu de poulet. / He didn’t want any chicken.

👉 Il n’en a pas voulu. / He didn’t want any (of it).

  • Note the placement of negation when using EN in the passé composé. Put the pronoun after NE and before the helping verb.

The French pronoun EN can replace a THING

👉 EN replaces a THING that has been introduced by a verb and that is preceded by:  de – de la – du – des – d’.

👉 Many French verbs are followed by the preposition DE + NOUN

EXAMPLES

Avoir peur de quelque chose  – To be afraid of something
👉 J’ai peur des serpents. – I’m afraid of snakes.
👉 J’en ai peur. – I’m afraid of them.

Avoir besoin de quelque chose – To need something 
👉 Tu as besoin d’argent? – Do you need some money?
👉 Tu en as besoin? – Do you need some?

Avoir envie de quelque chose – To desire or want something 
👉 Il a envie de manger une pizza. – He wants to eat a pizza.
👉 Il a envie (d’en manger). – He wants to (eat some of it)

Avoir l’intention de quelque chose – To have the intention of doing something 
👉 Nous avons l’intention de partir en vacances. – We intend to go on vacation.
👉 Nous en avons l’intention. – We intend (to do that).

S’excuser de faire quelque chose – To excuse oneself for doing something
👉 Vous vous excusez d’arriver en retard. – You excuse yourself for arriving late.
👉 Vous vous en excusez. – You excuse yourself (for it).

Rêver de faire quelque chose  – To dream of doing something
👉 Elles rêvent de faire le tour du monde. – They dream of going around the world.
👉 Elles en rêvent. – They dream of it.

Se souvenir de faire quelque chose – To remember something
👉 Je me souviens de ce restaurant. – I remember this restaurant.
👉 Je m’en souviens. – I remember it.

Profiter de faire quelque chose – To take advantage of something
👉 Tu profites de tes vacances. – You are enjoying your vacation.
👉 Tu en profites. – You are enjoying it.

Se servir de quelque chose – To use something
👉 Elle se sert de ma voiture. – She is using my car.
👉 Elle s’en sert. – She is using it.


FRENCH TEACHING RESOURCES – PRONOUNS Y AND EN

French Lesson on Pronouns Y and EN

This lesson @ LLL French Academy is for you if you find yourself confused as to how and when you should use the French pronouns Y and EN, and you’ll learn how to do all of this in three tenses (negation included).

Included:

  1. Downloadable video lesson on the pronouns Y and EN.
  2. 6 page lesson guide with rules, examples, and quick tips.
  3. 3 online multiple choice quizzes
  4. 75 practice cards with answer key

Step 1: Watch the video grammar lesson about the pronouns Y and EN. Even if you don’t really know what they are in English (or if they even exist in English), by the end of this lesson you’ll have a much better understanding. Before you watch the lesson, be sure to download your 6 page lesson guide where you’ll find all of the rules and examples given in the lesson. You’ll even get a few helpful hints, and it will be a handy guide to add to your study resources.

Step 2: You will have three online multiple choice quizzes to take. Each quiz has ten questions, and they are in three different tenses: present tense, passé composé, and futur proche. These quizzes will help you out a lot before moving on to the 75 practice cards.

Step 3: Now it’s time to really challenge yourself. I’m including a set of 75 practice cards (no multiple choice answers) to challenge you in 3 tenses (and with negation)! Don’t worry, an answer key is included so that you can easily check your work. I’m including a paper free version that you can open up on your device as well as a version with 4 cards per page that you can print and cut out in case you enjoy being away from the screen sometimes. You’ll be able to use this resource anywhere to truly master the French pronouns Y and EN.


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