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Les pronoms réfléchis = pronominals (reflexives)

When the subject does something to itself (when the subject and the object of the verb are the same) you have reflexivity.

The reflexive pronouns are used to denote this.

Singular Plural
1st person me nous
2nd person te vous
3rd person se se

NB : me, te, and se become m’ , t’ and s’ before vowels and mute h

Exemple :

Je me regarde dans le miroir, horrifié.
I look at myself in the mirror, horrified.

Soudain, la moto s’arrête.
Suddenly, the motorcycle stops.

If the verb is followed by an object, if the object is a part of the subject, the reflexive pronouns are normally used.

Exemple :

Il se rase la barbe.
He shaves his beard off.

Almost always, verbs that are used reflexively can also be used non-reflexively.

Exemple :

Elle se lave – Elle lave son bébé.

She washed herself – she washes her baby.

 

Following are some verbs that are commonly used reflexively:

s’arrêter to stop oneself se lever to get up
se blesser to hurt oneself se peigner to comb one’s hair
se brosser to brush oneself se raser to shave oneself
se coucher to go to bed se reposer to rest
se demander to wonder se réveiller to wake up
s’habiller to get dressed se trouver to be located
se laver to wash oneself se taire to be quiet

 

Reciprocity

Reflexive pronouns are also used to express reciprocal exchanges:

Ils se parlent toute la nuit.
They talk with each other all night long.

Mind Verbs

Verbs of the mind (to feel, to anger, to remember) are naturally reflexive.

se fâcher to become angry
s’intéresser à to be interested in
se sentir to feel
se souvenir de to remember
se tromper to be mistaken

Exemple :

Il ne se souvient pas de cette nuit.
He does not remember that night.

Nous nous sentons triste.

We feel sad.

 

Truly Passive 
The pronominal is sometimes used to create a passive sentence. The following sentences are clearly passive; There aren’t any other interpretations.

Exemple :

Les pommes de terre se cuisent à la vapeur.
Potatoes are cooked by steam.

Les glaces se vendent mieux l’été que l’hiver.
Ice cream sells better during summer than winter.

Now you can practice by talking about you, your feeling….


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