EN: He hates her as much as he hates me


Senior Member
English - English
How do I emphasise a pronoun when it is a direct object?

I want to say "He hates her as much as he hates me". In English a reader will automatically put a tonic accent on the "me", but in French the best I can come up with is "Il la déteste autant qu'il me déteste", which puts the tonic accent on "déteste" instead of on the French word "me". Is there a way to rephrase this so that the direct object is accented?
  • Your attempt is not very idiomatic because we would not repeat the verb in French. We would say, Il la déteste autant que moi, which doesn't emphasize the verb but stresses moi. :)

    However, Il la déteste autant que moi is ambiguous as it may mean:
    1. "He hates her as much as [he hates] me."
    2. "He hates her as much as I do."

    Back to your original question, in French we typically use the disjunctive pronoun as stressed object:
    "He hates me" → Il me déteste.
    "He hates me" → Il me déteste, moi.
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    Personnellement, la répétition, ici, ne me choque pas... et je ne vois pas trop comment la contourner pour éviter l'ambigüité (très forte) induite par "il la déteste autant que moi".
    Il y a une voie alternative ---> déplacer l'accent tonique :

    Il la déteste autant qu'il ME déteste.
    So if a native speaker read this sentence, they would naturally place the stress on the "me"? I ask because, in general, from what I understand, you can't mess about with the placement of the stress in a sentence the way you can in English or Dutch. You have to change the wording to achieve the effect (as in in "I did it" – "Je l'ai fait"; "I did it" – "C'est moi qui l'a fait").
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    But no native speaker will "read" this sentence: bold are not used ;-) I just wanted to mean that this "me" is to be stressed. Maybe italics could be used, indeed.
    You would emphasize "me" in spoken French by raising your voice and pausing before saying "déteste." If you express this in anger, you might simultaneously point the fingers of one hand toward your chest!
    Or you could do it the other way around:
    "Il me...déteste autant qu'il la déteste"