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Voix pronominale

French pronominal voice

The pronominal voice, sometimes erroneously called the "reflexive voice," indicates that the subject and object of a verb are the same: the subject is acting upon itself. This relationship is made clear with the inclusion of a reflexive pronoun.

For example

Je me réveille à 8 heures. - I wake (myself) up at 8am.

Il se mentit. - He's lying to himself.

Est-ce que tu t'en souviens ? - Do you remember that?

Nous nous parlons tous les jours. - We talk to each other every day.

There are three different kinds of pronominal verbs:

  1. Reflexive verbs (e.g., se réveiller - to wake up, se laver - to wash)
  2. Reciprocal verbs (s'aimer - to love each other, se parler - to talk to each other)
  3. Idiomatic pronominal verbs (se douter - to suspect, s'en aller - to go away)

Idiomatic pronominal verbs have different or unexpected meanings when compared to their active voice equivalents.

  • Elle s'est vu refuser l'entrée du club. - She was refused entry to the club.
  • Je me suis entendu dire qu'il était malade. - I was told that he was sick.
  • Il s'est fait punir. - He was/got punished.
  • Je me suis laissé dire qu'il l'avait vendu. - I was told that he'd sold it.

Learn more: Introduction to voice

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