What is the Preceding Direct Object (PDO) rule?

In French when we use a sentence in the Passé Composé that contains a direct object or direct object pronoun BEFORE the past participle, we must alter the ending of the past participle in accordance with the (i)gender and (ii)quantity of the direct object.

This situation arrises with AVOIR as the auxiliary verb and with REFLEXIVE VERBS using ETRE when the subject is the direct object of the verb.

The endings we add are as follows;

Masc. Singular- no change

Masc. Plural - add 's'

Fem. Singular - add 'e'

Fem. Plural - add 'es'

For example;

J'ai connu les filles il y a un mois - I met the girls last month

Here, there is no agreement with the feminine plural direct object and the past participle of connaitre as the direct object arrives after the past participle.


Je les ai connues il y a un mois - I met them (the girls) last month

Here, the femenine plural 'es' ending has been added to the past participle 'connu' to adhere to the preceding direct object rule as the pronoun arrives before the past participle.

Holly B. A Level Spanish tutor, GCSE Spanish tutor, A Level French tu...

1 year ago

Answered by Holly, an A Level French tutor with MyTutor

Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist


Rhiannon H. A Level French tutor, 13 plus  French tutor, GCSE French ...
View profile
£20 /hr

Rhiannon H.

Degree: Broadcast Journalism (Masters) - Cardiff University

Subjects offered: French, Italian+ 1 more


“Hello! I'm Rhiannon and I have just graduated from Cardiff University with a BA in French and Italian...”

Ben S. A Level English Language tutor, GCSE English Language tutor, A...
View profile
£20 /hr

Ben S.

Degree: Modern Languages (Masters) - Oxford, St Hugh's College University

Subjects offered: French, English Literature+ 3 more

English Literature
English Language
-Personal Statements-

“I am a passionate reader and linguist, and I have recently graduated from The University of Warwick with a BA (with Honours) in English and French, and I am an incoming Master's student atThe University of Oxford, and will read Modern ...”

Eleanor F. GCSE French tutor, A Level French tutor, 13 plus  French t...
View profile
£20 /hr

Eleanor F.

Degree: BA Modern Foreign Languages (French and Ab initio Russian) (Bachelors) - Birmingham University

Subjects offered: French, German+ 1 more

English Literature

“Hi - I'm Ellie, and I'm in my first year at the University of Birmingham, where I'm studying French and beginner's Russian. I love languages - both the logical, grammatical aspect and the more creative side, where you explore literatu...”

MyTutor guarantee

About the author

Holly B. A Level Spanish tutor, GCSE Spanish tutor, A Level French tu...
View profile

Holly B.

Currently unavailable: for new students

Degree: Modern Languges - Spanish and French (Bachelors) - Newcastle University

Subjects offered: French, Spanish


“Fourth Year Modern Languages Undergraduate at Newcastle University, here to help you with GCSE and A Level Spanish and French (and GCSE English Literature!)”

MyTutor guarantee

You may also like...

Other A Level French questions

How do I know whether a verb takes 'à' or 'de' as a preposition?

How do I know when to use 'à' vs. 'de'? French preposition help!

When do I need to use the subjunctive?

When should I use the subjunctive?

View A Level French tutors


We use cookies to improve our service. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss