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All about Même

Learn about the French adjective, adverb, and pronoun même

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The extremely versatile and useful French word même can be an indefinite adjective, indefinite pronoun, or adverb, and is also used in some expressions. Même has various meanings depending on where and how it is used.

Indefinite adjective

When used as an indefinite adjective, même's meaning differs according to whether it precedes or follows the noun it modifies:

1) Before a noun, même means "same":

   C'est la même chose !
   It's the same thing!

   J'ai lu le même livre.
   I read the same book.

   Il aime les mêmes programmes.
   He likes the same programs.

2) After a noun or pronoun, même emphasizes that thing and means "(one)self" or "personified":

   Il a perdu la bague même.
   He lost the ring itself.

   Je veux le faire moi-même. (stressed pronoun)
   I want to do it myself.

   Elle est la gentillesse même.
   She is the epitome of kindness, She is kindness personnified.
 

Indefinite pronoun

Le même as an indefinite pronoun means "the same" and may be singular or plural.

   C'est le même.
   It's the same.

   Elles sont toujours les mêmes.
   They're always the same.
 

Adverb

As an adverb, même is invariable, emphasizes the word it modifies, and means "even, (to go) so far as to."

   Même Jacques est venu.
   Even Jacques came.

   Il avait même acheté un billet.
   He even went so far as to buy a ticket.

   Ils sont tous partis, même le bébé.
   They all left, even the baby.

   Je l'ai vu ici même.
   I saw him in this very spot.
 

Expressions with même

   à même
   right on, in, from; in position

   à même que
   capable of

   de même que
   just/right as (something happened)

   même que (familiar)
   moreover

   quand même
   even so, anyway

   tout de même
   even so


   Ça revient au même.
   That amounts to the same thing.

   C'est du pareil au même. (informal)
   It's always the same; Six of one, half a dozen of the other.
 
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