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French Reflexive Pronouns

Pronoms réfléchis

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Reflexive pronouns are a special kind of French pronoun which can only be used with pronominal verbs. These verbs need a reflexive pronoun in addition to a subject pronoun, because the subject(s) performing the action of the verb are the same as the object(s) being acted upon. These are the French reflexive pronouns:

   me / m'        me, myself
   te / t' / toi   you, yourself
   se / s'          him(self), her(self), it(self), them(selves)
   nous           us, ourselves
   vous           you, yourself, yourselves

Me, te, and se change to m', t', and s', respectively, in front of a vowel or mute H. Te changes to toi in the imperative.


Like object pronouns, reflexive pronouns are placed directly in front of the verb in nearly all tenses and moods:*

   Nous nous parlons.
   We're talking to each other.

   Ils ne s'habillent pas.
   They aren't getting dressed.

*In the imperative, the reflexive pronoun is attached to the end of the verb with a hyphen.

   Lève-toi !
   Get up!

   Aidons-nous.
   Let's help each other


Reflexive pronouns always have to agree with their subjects, in all tenses and moods - including the infinitive and the present participle.

   Je me lèverai.
   I will get up.

   Nous nous sommes couchés.
   We went to bed.

   Vas-tu te raser ?
   Are you going to shave?

   En me levant, j'ai vu...
   While getting up, I saw...


Be careful not to mix up the third person singular reflexive pronoun se with the direct object le - see lesson on se.


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