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Why coiffées?

AnneB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Why coiffées?

Elles se les sont coiffées. (les cheveux) They combed it (their hair).


I’m finding it hard to understand why coiffées isn’t coiffés, with direct object agreement, cheveux being a masculine plural noun?


Asked 6 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Anne,

 I can confirm that Jim was right and that this error has been corrected.

The rules on agreement of past participle in the case of reflexive verbs are complex, sometimes depend on the verbs used, but when these verbs have a direct object, the rule of preceding COD applies as in any ordinary verb.

Elles se sont brossé les cheveux

Elles se les sont brossés 

JimC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Anne,

I'm inclined to agree with you.

Suggest you file it as an error on that particular lesson page.

Jim

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

When you form the passé composé with être, the participle agrees with the subject, which is elles.

JimC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

On reflection, I believe that Chris is right. 

"se" represents the indirect object and être is the auxiliary so the agreement is with the subject as Chris points out.

Had it been avoir as the auxiliary then the direct object "les" would cause agreement with the past participle because it would be placed before the verb.

It is all a bit tricky!

Jim

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

I think you were right to begin with Jim, and Anne is correct. A reflexive verb with a direct object is a special case:

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

JimC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Alan,

Thanks for your post, very informative and clarifies this tricky grammar aspect very well.

After twenty-odd years of study, there is always another grammar point yet to completely master.

Bonne continuation.

Jim

Why coiffées?

Elles se les sont coiffées. (les cheveux) They combed it (their hair).


I’m finding it hard to understand why coiffées isn’t coiffés, with direct object agreement, cheveux being a masculine plural noun?


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