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Reflexive Verbs Passe Compose Agreement

Reflexive verbs are a type of verbs in which the subject is also the object of the sentence. In French, reflexive verbs are conjugated in the passé composé tense using the auxiliary verb “être”. However, the agreement of the past participle can be a bit tricky. Let us take a closer look at reflexive verbs passé composé agreement.

Firstly, let us understand the basics of passé composé. The passé composé is a compound tense in French, which consists of two parts – the auxiliary verb and the past participle. Most verbs in French use the auxiliary verb “avoir” in passé composé. However, reflexive verbs use the auxiliary verb “être” and also agree in gender and number with the subject.

In order to form the passé composé of reflexive verbs, we need to follow certain rules. Firstly, the reflexive pronoun must precede the auxiliary verb “être”. Secondly, the past participle of the reflexive verb must agree in gender and number with the subject of the sentence. Let us take some examples to understand this.

Je me suis lavé(e). (I washed myself.)

Tu t’es lavé(e). (You washed yourself.)

Il s’est lavé. (He washed himself.)

Elle s’est lavée. (She washed herself.)

Nous nous sommes lavé(e)s. (We washed ourselves.)

Vous vous êtes lavé(e)(s). (You washed yourselves.)

Ils/Elles se sont lavé(e)s. (They washed themselves.)

In the examples above, we can see that the past participle agrees in gender and number with the subject. For example, in the sentence “Elle s’est lavée”, the past participle “lavée” agrees in gender and number with the subject “elle” which is feminine singular.

However, in some cases, the past participle does not agree with the subject. Let us take a look at these cases.

When the reflexive pronoun is a direct object, the past participle does not agree with the subject. For example,

Je me suis coupé les cheveux. (I cut my hair.)

Tu t’es brossé les dents. (You brushed your teeth.)

Nous nous sommes acheté une voiture. (We bought a car.)

In the examples above, the reflexive pronoun is a direct object (les cheveux, les dents, une voiture) and therefore the past participle does not agree with the subject.

When the reflexive verb is used in a passive voice, the past participle agrees with the subject. For example,

La porte s’est fermée toute seule. (The door closed by itself.)

Les lumières se sont éteintes. (The lights turned off.)

In the examples above, the reflexive verb is used in a passive voice and therefore the past participle agrees with the subject.

In conclusion, reflexive verbs passé composé agreement requires careful attention to the rules of agreement of the past participle with the subject. It is important to remember that when the reflexive pronoun is a direct object, the past participle does not agree with the subject, and when the reflexive verb is used in a passive voice, the past participle agrees with the subject. So, always keep these rules in mind while conjugating reflexive verbs in passé composé.

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