We brushed our hair is given as 'Nous nous sommes brossé les cheveux'. As 'nous' implies that more than one person is involved, why not 'brossés'?

We brushed our hair is given as 'Nous nous sommes brossé les cheveux'. As 'nous' implies that more than one person is involved, why not 'brossés'?

Asked 2 years ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi all,

This is the kind of grammar which will trip up a lot of French natives and the rules are odd to say the least .

Please look at my answer to Gabrielle :

https://french.kwiziq.com/questions/view/hi-i-love-the-website-i-too-am-wondering-why-we-brushed-our-hair-is-nous-nous-sommes-brosse-les-chev

which might help out....

Hi John,
This question has been asked before, and it seems that it is not yet covered on this site, but it is explained here:
https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/agreement-with-pronominal-verbs/

Hi John,

You are correct, it ought to be, "Nous nous sommes brossés les cheveux." Or, if it is a purely female group, "Nous nous sommes brossées les cheveux."

The site Alan quotes in his reply is a good one to check.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Hi Chris,

No, actually it should be "Nous nous sommes brossé les cheveux", because there is a direct object "les cheveux" which comes after the verb. This is explained on the link given - case 3 1/2

There's also some discussion of this in the other Q&As for this topic.

I meant case 3. Case 3 1/2 is the exception to case 3.

Actually, no. In the case of être, the participe always agrees.

-- Chris.

Thanks to both Alan and Chris. I remember this now from previous delving into French grammar. However, I would question whether this should be at A2 level. It's more appropriate at B2/C1
Chris, please read the other Q&A on this topic or the link I provided, it's more complicated than that.

Hi Alan, that's a VERY interesting point, indeed. According to the site, there should not be an agreement of the participle. However, I asked two native French speakers, one of them a French (as a second language) teacher, and both said that the participle needs to match the subject in the example we are discussing

I did some more internet research and found confirmation the rule you found on Laura's site. So it seems I did learn something new today! Thanks!!

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Elle s'est cassé la jambe. -- She broke her legs (no agreement).
Quelle jambe s'est-elle cassée? -- Which leg did she break? (agreement)

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Hi John

thanks for the link above relating to  the Laless site. It makes sense now. Krissa

We brushed our hair is given as 'Nous nous sommes brossé les cheveux'. As 'nous' implies that more than one person is involved, why not 'brossés'?

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