FR: pronom singulier/pluriel pour reprendre "famille"

lka23

Member
English
I want to say: I bought them gifts. (Them being my family)

Would you use leur or lui to refer to ma famille?

So would it be: Je leur ai acheté des cadeaux. Or would I use lui because technically the word famille is singular? Leur seems to make more sense to me but I don't know.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • pointvirgule

    Senior Member
    langue française
    E.g. Pour faire plaisir à ma famille, je lui ai acheté des cadeaux. :warning: (Grammatically correct, but sounds weird.)
    Pour faire plaisir aux membres de ma famille, je leur ai acheté des cadeaux. :tick:
     
    Last edited:

    Micia93

    Senior Member
    France French
    Even if it's not logicial, I'd say "pour faire plaisir à ma famille, je leur ai acheté des cadeaux"
    "famille" is to understand as a group here, and using a plural verb doesn't schock me (I may be wrng so)
    it's the same with "on" => speaking of several persons : "on est beaux, non?"
    what do you think Point Virgule ?
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    The syllepse (agreement according to meaning and not to grammar rules) is indeed quite common and natural in this case. Hence most natives would say Micia's suggestion:

    Pour faire plaisir à ma famille, je leur ai acheté des cadeaux.
     

    euquila

    New Member
    English
    How does this in any way sound god awful?

    Use leur because there are 'members' in a family... you omit 'members' but keep leur.

    Je donne des cadeaux à ma famille.

    Je leur donne des cadeaux.

    Nobody says: "je lui donne des cadeaux" when talking about their family.
     

    pointvirgule

    Senior Member
    langue française
    It is my opinion as a native francophone that leur, when used to refer to a singular noun, albeit a collective one, sounds wrong. I would personally avoid saying and writing it. I've said my peace on the matter and I do not wish to insist.
     
    Last edited:

    zapspan

    Senior Member
    English, USA (Southern California)
    The syllepse (agreement according to meaning and not to grammar rules) is indeed quite common and natural in this case. Hence most natives would say Micia's suggestion:

    Pour faire plaisir à ma famille, je leur ai acheté des cadeaux.
    Would the same apply to a direct object pronoun? For example:

    Question: Est-ce que tu vois souvent ta famille ?
    Réponse: Oui, je les vois souvent ? or Oui, je la vois souvent ?
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    Would the same apply to a direct object pronoun?
    Yes, it applies to all types of pronouns (subject or object, direct or indirect).

    This is no different from English:

    My family came to visit us on the weekend. I hadn't seen them in a while. I told them they could stay at our place but they preferred to stay in a hotel.

    Ma famille est venue nous rendre visite ce week-end. Je ne les avais pas vus depuis longtemps. Je leur ai dit qu'ils pouvaient dormir à la maison, mais ils ont préféré aller à l'hôtel.
     

    zapspan

    Senior Member
    English, USA (Southern California)
    Thank you, Maître Capello.

    I definitely see the parallel with English (the change to plural number based on meaning) However, this doesn't operate 100% the same in both languages: whereas olivier68 said that it's ok to answer "Oui, je la vois souvent" as one possible answer to the question "Est-ce que tu vois souvent ta famille ?", in English, we couldn't answer "Do you see your family often?: with "Yes, I see it often.":thumbsdown:
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    olivier68 said that it's ok to answer "Oui, je la vois souvent"
    Yes, unlike in English, the singular is indeed fine in French in this particular example. That being said, I think I'd more naturally use the plural as far as I'm concerned (Oui, je les vois souvent).

    Ma famille est venue nous rendre visite ce week-end.
    Je ne l'avais pas vue depuis longtemps.
    :thumbsup: / Je ne les avais pas vus depuis longtemps. :thumbsup:
    Je lui ai dit qu'elle pouvait dormir à la maison, mais elle a préféré aller à l'hôtel. :thumbsdown: / Je leur ai dit qu'ils pouvaient dormir à la maison, mais ils ont préféré aller à l'hôtel. :thumbsup:
     

    zapspan

    Senior Member
    English, USA (Southern California)
    Je lui ai dit qu'elle pouvait dormir à la maison, mais elle a préféré aller à l'hôtel. :thumbsdown:
    Very interesting. Any thoughts on why this sentence is not acceptable, whereas the other example you give with a singular (je ne l'avais pas vue depuis longtemps.) is?
     
    Top