agreement of past participles of verbs that use être as auxillary verb in perfect past tense, e.g. aller; partir, etc.

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Cheryl

Kwiziq community member

25 May 2018

5 replies

agreement of past participles of verbs that use être as auxillary verb in perfect past tense, e.g. aller; partir, etc.

Bonjour!

Verbs that use être as auxillary in the perfect past tense, must have agreement of the past participle with the subject pronoun, but what if a direct object pronoun were included in the sentence? Which of the two pronouns would a past participle agree with please? Subject pronoun or direct object pronoun? Please site an example or two with your answer if possible.

Regards, Cheryl

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

26 May 2018

26/05/18

Hi Cheryl,

Most verbs that take être in the passé composé are intransitive which mean they don't have an object. These are:  aller, venir, devenir, revenir, naître, mourir, rester, tomber, arriver, entrer.

As you rightly say the past participle in that case will agree with the subject pronoun.

There are a few verbs, passer, sortir, rentrer, monter, descendre...  which can take be transitive (have an object) and intransitive.

They will use avoir in the case of a transitive use (the agreement rule of the past participle will be the same as that of other verbs with 'avoir' and agree only if the object precedes the verb) and être in the case of intransitive use:

Elle est montée dans ma chambre. (She went up to my bedroom.)

Elle a monté les escaliers en vitesse. (She climbed the stairs very quickly.)

Nous sommes sortis avec Patricia le weekend. (We went out with Patricia at the weekend.)

Nous avons sorti nos livres quand le prof est entré. (We took our books when the teacher came in.)

Ils sont descendus à quatre pattes. (They went downstairs on all four.)

Ils ont descendu la table dans le jardin. (They brought/took the table down into the garden.)

Elle est passée devant la poste. (She went past the post office.)

Nous avons  passé le message à ses parents. (We have passed the message onto his/her parents.)

Hope this helps!

 

Cheryl

Kwiziq community member

26 May 2018

26/05/18

Bonjour Cécile,

Thank you for such a full reply with lots of clear examples that demonstrate the information.

I tried unsuccessfully to make up a sentence in the perfect past tense with a verb that uses être as auxillary, and with a direct object pronoun in front of être: the question being, which pronoun does the past participle agree with: subject or direct object pronoun. The problem is that every sentence I could devise, had a preposition, and the only object pronoun that could be used seemed to be a disjunctive pronoun after that preposition. However, taking one of your sentences: "She went up to my bedroom", but altering it to: "He went up to it" ("it" would be a feminine object pronoun): Il l'est montée. The past participle here is  agreeing with the direct object pronoun and not with the subject pronoun. Is this correct? I suspect that it's not. Perhaps the object pronoun should be an indirect one: lui, instead of la, therefore no agreement. What do you think, please?

Kind Regards,

Cheryl

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

27 May 2018

27/05/18

Hi Cheryl,

In the case of "elle est montée dans ma chambre" , the question you would ask to replace 'dans ma chambre' is 'où' (where) and not 'quoi' (what) so 'dans ma chambre' is a conjunction of place and can be replaced by the pronoun 'y' :

Elle y est montée.

Hope this helps!

Cheryl

Kwiziq community member

27 May 2018

27/05/18

Yes, that's very helpful.

Once again, merci beaucoup Cécile!

Cheryl

Cheryl

Kwiziq community member

27 May 2018

27/05/18

Yes, that's very helpful.

Once again, merci beaucoup Cécile!

Cheryl

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