FR: lui descend jusqu'aux mollets

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by bcd85, Sep 15, 2013.

  1. bcd85 Member

    I'm so confused by sentences like this:

    "Il porte un impermeable qui lui descend jusqu'aux mollets"

    I've noticed more and more the strange placement of lui in front of the verb. In this context, I don't feel it makes sense. Of course there's something I'm missing.

  2. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    This preceding lui can't be understood as a normal indirect object, one that might have been written à lui if it had been postposed. But the usage is very common indeed.

    In this case, it makes sense to add it because we don't use the possessive adjective with body parts in French. The raincoat goes down to "the calves." By adding lui, it becomes clear that we're talking about his calves, and that this is specifically how the coat fits him (as opposed to someone taller or shorter).

    I think you'll find the following discussions helpful. :)

    FR: Il lui a cassé le nez
    FR: larmes lui montassent aux yeux
    FR: lui inonder le visage / inonder son visage
    FR: On lui a volé sa voiture
    FR: On lui a volé son vélo
    FR: un voleur (lui) a pris son portefeuille
  3. Gérard Napalinex

    Gérard Napalinex Senior Member

    Lyon, France
    French - France
    Sorry jann, but it can and should, because that's what it is - an indirect object.
    Cet imperméable, à lui, descend jusqu'aux mollets. À moi, il arrive aux genoux.
    Postposing "à lui" would look/sound ugly, but be grammatically ok.
  4. bcd85 Member

    Can I just ask again?

    Does this sentence follow the same afforementioned rule?
    Je pense à le ramasser et à le mettre à la poubelle pour lui faire la leçon.
  5. Brestoise Senior Member

    Brest, France
    Plus ou moins:
    "qui lui descend jusqu'aux mollets" -> "qui descend jusqu'aux mollets sur/pour cette personne". Dans ce cas, "lui" remplace un complément circonstanciel ("sur cette personne").
    "pour lui faire la leçon" -> "pour faire la leçon à cette personne". Dans ce cas, "lui" remplace un complément d'objet indirect ("à cette personne").
    Dans les deux cas, "lui" remplace un complément du verbe.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013

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