FR: ces chaussures sont pour eux

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by Music22, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. Music22 Senior Member

  2. Jorōgumo

    Jorōgumo Senior Member

    Cela dépend du contexte...
    S'il s'agit d'acheter des chaussures pour plusieurs personnes, on dira ces chaussures sont pour eux (elles leur sont destinées).
    Sinon, on dira ces chaussures sont à eux.
  3. Music22 Senior Member

    Is there any way that anyone could explain this in a different way, I'm still not quite sure? Isn't "eux" always several people?
  4. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    First off, note the difference between acheter qqch pour qqn (= to buy sth for the use of sb / on behalf of sb) and acheter qqch à qqn (= to buy sth for sb). The preposition changes the meaning of the phrase.

    Likewise, être pour qqn (= to be for sb) and être à qqn (= to belong to sb) mean different things.

    Anyway, yes, eux always refers to several people. I'm not too sure what's confusing you. Could you please better explain what you don't understand?
  5. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    I think I understand your question.

    You're looking at the replacement of {pour toi} by the COI pronoun {te} in this sentence:
    ... Je l'ai acheté pour toi --> Je te l'ai acheté.

    ... or at the replacement of {pour qqn} by a COI pronon in sentences such as:
    ... Il est difficile pour moi de voir X --> Il m'est difficile de voir X.
    ... Nous avons fait un gateau au chocolat pour Jean --> Nous lui avons fait un gateau au chocolat.

    ... and you're wondering if we could similarly replace {pour eux} with the COI pronoun {leur} in the following sentence:
    ... Ces chaussures sont pour eux --> ?? Ces chaussures leur sont ??

    It's a perfectly intelligent question, and the answer is no. You cannot make such a replacement. I'm afraid I can't tell you why. It may have something to do with the fact that pour eux is the entire subject complement of the verb être in that final example (for comparison, note that we could simply delete the pour X from any of the other sentences and they would still make perfect sense; not so for the last one).

    Can anyone else chime in here?

    I don't quite understand you, MC. The TLFI indicates we can use both acheter à and acheter pour when the indirect object is the beneficiary of the purchase.

    Acheter is really a very difficult verb to work with as an example. If you speak "for/on behalf of" another person (parler pour quelqu'un), it's clear that we can't use a COI pronoun to replace that person (lui parler means parler à qqn, not parler pour qqn!!). But if you buy something "for/on behalf of" another person, we must specify a context to prevent confusion with buying something "as a gift for" that other person. For example, context must make it clear you bought the item as a purely legal/administrative manoeuvre in that person's stead, or that you bought it memory of that (deceased) person, or because that (living) person would be happy that you had made the purchase for yourself or for some 3rd party. Otherwise we tend to assume that other person somehow has the use of your purchase, benefits from it, or that you gave the item to that person. And it seems to me these latter meanings -- which are not at all the same "on behalf of" as parler pour qqn -- all allow replacement with a COI pronoun because the other person ends up as the beneficiary.
  6. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    Since it is somewhat off-topic, I posted a reply in the appropriate thread here.

    Anyway, regarding the possible replacement of pour X by an indirect pronoun (me, lui, leur, etc.), you are quite right that you can't do it if pour X is an essential complement; you have to use pour with a disjunctive pronoun (moi, lui, elle, eux, etc.).
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012

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