All Prepositions to Use with Parler : à / de / avec

french verb parler coi prepositions

French verb parler is one of the most common French verbs, but it often confuses French beginners because of different prepositions that go along.

Today we’ll focus on prepositions à/de/avec that go along with the French verb parler.

French Verb: Parler

Parler is one of the most common French verbs, and usually the first verb you learn when you begin learning French. As a regular verb, it’s fairly simple to learn its conjugation. However, the trickiest part lies somewhere else, in the area of prepositions and pronouns that follow along.

Today, we’ll focus on this part of the story.

parler → to speak

You’ll see in the following examples, 3 different prepositions that go along with the verb parler.

parler + à

Il parle à son ami.

He’s talking to his friend.

parler + de

Il parle de son ami.

He’s talking about his friend.

parler + avec

Il parle avec son ami.

He’s talking with his friend.

Learn more about conjugating French regular verbs in French.

Parler + Objects

Perhaps you remember that verbs are often completed with objects (direct or indirect), more commonly known as COD and COI in French. The verb parler requires an indirect object or COI. Actually, all verbs in French that need a preposition also require COI.

Marie parle de son livre preféré.

Marie talks about her favorite book.

Indirect Object Complement (COI) completes the verb and is always answering one of the following questions (to whom?…to what?…from whom?…from what?)

The French sentence follows this pattern.


As you can see in the following example, son ami is the indirect object connected to a verb by the French preposition à.

Il pense à son ami. Il pense à qui ?

He thinks of his friend.

In  most cases, the indirect object is followed by prepositions (a, de), but also with other French prepositions (pour, contre, etc.)

What is COI?

The purpose of the object complement is to complete the verb and it states the person or thing that the verb relates to. In English, we use terms such as direct and indirect object.

In order to understand the indirect objects, it’s easier if we first comprehend the direct object, as it is opposed to the indirect object.

There are 2 main types of object complement in French:

  • direct (Complement d’object direct – COD)

Direct object completes the verb directly, without prepositions. A direct object is a noun that receives the action of the verb.

Je vois un éléphant. Je le vois.

I see an elephant. I see it.

  • indirect (Complement d’object indirect -COI)

The indirect object complement makes part of the verbal group and is always introduced by a preposition. COI is introduced by prepositions (à, de, dans, par…) separating it from the verb. Because the object is connected to the verb indirectly, with prepositions is the reason for its name.

Léo parle à son ami. Leo lui parle.

Leo is talking to his friend. Leo talks to him.

COI + prepositions

Parler à

Parler à quelqu’un (talking to someone, interlocutor, a partner in a discussion)

Je parle à Emilie. Je lui parle.

l talk to Emily. l talk to her.

Je parle à Toni. Je lui parle.

l talk to Toni. l talk to him.

Je parle à Emma, Juliette et Marcus. Je leur parle.

l talk to Emma, Juliette and Marcus. l talk to them.

See the list of common French verbs followed by the preposition à.

Parler de

  • parler de quelqu’un (talking about someone) – brings the idea of topic of the discussion or subject

Je parle de mon oncle.

l talk about my uncle.

  • parler de quelque chose (talking about something) – talking about a thing, situation, memory, concept, idea.

Je parle de la guerre.

l talk about the war.

Notice the difference between parler de (talking about something), and parler à (talking to someone).

Learn the difference between prepositions à and de

Parler avec

parler avec– to talk with someone

Je vais parler avec ta mère.

I’ll talk to your parents.

Nous devons parler avec ces deux-là.

Let’s have a talk with these two.

Personal Pronouns with Parler

There are two types of pronouns that go with the verb parler.

  • indirect object pronouns
  • stressed pronouns

Which pronoun to choose depends on the preposition following the verb parler.

Indirect Object Pronouns

Indirect object pronouns replace the precise names of people or nouns coming after the preposition à (to).

Me or M’ To me
Te or T’ To you
Lui To him/her
Nous To us
Vous To you
Leur To them

Lui replaces both masculine and feminine nouns in the singular :

Je parle à Pauline. Jlui parle.

I’m talking to Pauline. l am talking to her.

Je parle à Philippe. Jlui parle.

l’m talking to Philippe. l am talking to him.

Leur replaces masculine or feminine nouns in the plural form:

J’écris à mes parents. Je leur écris.

I’m writing to my parents. I’m writing to them.

Indirect Object Pronouns go before the verb parler.

Anne me/te/lui/nous/vous/leur parle.

Anne talks to me/to you/to him or to her/to us/to you/to them.

Stressed Pronouns

Alternatively, the indirect object can be replaced by a stressed pronoun. Stressed pronouns are always used after the prepositions in French, like in the example “Il parle à lui“.

Il parle à mon mari. Il parle à lui. 

He’s talking to my husband. He’s talking to him.

Stressed pronouns are used to emphasize.


  • moi – me
  • toi – you
  • lui – him
  • elle-her
  • soi-oneself


  • nous-us
  • vous-you
  • eux-them
  • elles – them

Stressed pronouns are

  1. used in place of a subject or object
  2. agree with the subject or object in number and gender
  3. refer to people only

If the indirect object is not a person

When the indirect object is not a person, like in the case of mon voyage, then we use the adverbial pronoun y.

Je pense à mon voyage.  J’y pense.

l think about my trip. l think about it.

Note the difference between the following sentence and the previous one. The nature of the object determines what kind of pronoun will be used to replace the object.

Je pense à mon amie. Je pense à lui.

l think about my friend. l think about him.

To Wrap it up

Now you see that verb parler is not to be messed with. It’s one of the French verbs followed by COI (complement d’object indirect) and followed by two types of pronouns. Make sure to go through enough examples to understand the difference between them.

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