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In French, verbs that incorporate a reflexive pronoun are generally taught as "reflexive verbs" ... so that's what we've called this section, to make it easy to find.

In reality, though, the situation is a little more complicated, because "reflexive verbs" are actually a sub-group of "pronominal verbs", which has three separate sub-groups.

In the first - reflexive verbs - the person "does something to himself" (eg brushes his teeth, or gets washed). Personal accidents tend to fall into this category (eg "se couper", to cut oneself, and "se casser [le doigt de pie]", to break [a toe] ).

In the second - reciprocal verbs - two or more people do something interactively (eg write to one another, or understand one another). If you need to translate "one another", this is likely to be the type of verb you need.

In the third - idiomatic verbs - a "standard verb" takes on a slightly different meaning when the reflexive pronoun is added - eg "amuser" means "to amuse" whereas "s'amuser" means "to have fun"; "intéresser" means "to interest" whereas "s'intéresser" means "to be interested".

If you've reached this page by clicking on "see rfl", that's because the verb in question may often be found with "se" added - whichever "pronominal" category it falls into.

All these verbs-with-reflexive-prounouns take "être" rather than "avoir". Take a look through the tenses of "se laver" (to wash oneself) to see (a) what the different reflexive pronouns look like, for myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves and themselves, and especially the higher-number tenses (4, 5, 6 and 8) which use parts of "être" to make up the verb.

Remember also, that if you have used "être" to make up those tenses, you need to make the "past participle" - in this case "lavé", *AGREE* with whether the subject/s of the verb are (a) masculine singular, (b) masculine plural, (c) feminine singular, (d) feminine plural.

Where the subjects are masculine and feminine plural (eg a boy and a girl, or even one boy and three girls), the past participle "agrees" as masculine plural, e.g. "lavés", even though there are more females than males.

see also ER verbs see also IR verbs see also RE verbs

WALL-TO-WALL FRENCH: We have created "overview pages" which include all the individual words in this category. Please click here or select the overview index for links to all 4000+ words.

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