Conjugate reflexive verbs (+être) in Le Passé Composé (conversational past)

These examples show how reflexive verbs conjugate in Le Passé Composé:

Je me suis lavé les dents.
I brushed my teeth.

Je me suis bien amusée.
I really enjoyed myself.

Tu t'es bien amusé hier soir? 
Did you have fun last night?

Il s'est levé tôt.
He got up early.

Nous nous sommes assis à l'arrière.
We sat at the back.

Vous vous êtes bien amusés?
Did you enjoy yourselves?

Elles se sont disputées.
They had an argument.

Reflexive verbs always use être as the auxiliary verb in Le Passé Composé.

Note also that the verb must agree with the gender and number of the person.
i.e. taking an extra -e for ladies, and an extra -s for more than one person, -es for multiple ladies.

See also Agreeing past participle with subject's gender and number with (+ être) verbs in Le Passé Composé 

Note that the pronoun me/te/se/nous/vous/se is situated before the auxiliary être.

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Nous nous sommes assis à l'arrière.
We sat at the back.



Il s'est levé tôt.
He got up early.


Tu t'es bien amusé hier soir? 
Did you have fun last night?


Elles se sont disputées.
They had an argument.


Vous vous êtes bien amusés?
Did you enjoy yourselves?


Je me suis bien amusée.
I really enjoyed myself.


Je me suis lavé les dents.
I brushed my teeth.


Nous nous sommes déguisés en zombies.
We dressed up as zombies.


Q&A

Natasha

Kwiziq community member

7 June 2019

1 reply

"Elle s’est tourmentée." Do I need the extra e accord for the past tense?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

10 June 2019

10/06/19

You need to accord the participle when the past tense is formed with être. There are some other cases when it needs to match, like when you use avoir and the COD comes in front of the participle.

Stephen

Kwiziq community member

21 May 2019

3 replies

Did you shave this morning? HINT: Conjugate se raser (to shave) using the Passé Composé vous êtes rasé êtes rasés

Chris

Kwiziq community member

22 May 2019

22/05/19

Vous vous êtes rasé ce matin? -- Did you shave this morning (using formal you, talking to a single person)

Stephen

Kwiziq community member

22 May 2019

22/05/19

In this case "vous" is singular, referring to "you" as an individual, as apposed the plural "you's guys" :))

Chris

Kwiziq community member

28 May 2019

28/05/19

Yes, exactly. Otherwise it would be Vous vous êtes rasés ce matin? (unless you are talking to a group of ladies shaving their legs, of course, in which case it would be ....rasées...)

Aarti

Kwiziq community member

23 March 2019

1 reply

How do we analysis what is reflective verb and auxiliary verb?

Details it

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

24 March 2019

24/03/19

Hi Aarti,

Reflexive verbs are explained in the following Kwiziq lesson -

https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/revision/glossary/voice/la-voix-pronominale

Auxiliary verbs are explained in the following Kwiziq lesson-

https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/revision/glossary/verb-types/verbes-auxiliaires

Bonne continuation!

Melisa

Kwiziq community member

12 March 2019

3 replies

Gender agreement of examples

I don’t understand why  “Je me suis bien amusée.” adds the “e” for the feminine subject but “Je me suis lavé les dents.” does not when both speakers are female.

Melisa

Kwiziq community member

20 March 2019

20/03/19

It's been a while. Does no one know the answer?

Alan

Kwiziq community member

21 March 2019

21/03/19

It's because there is a direct object "les dents". This question has been asked a lot, but so far the lessons have not been updated to explain this. Look at the answer to Gabrielle's question at the end of the Q&A here:

Agreeing past participle with subject's gender and number with (+ être) verbs in Le Passé Composé

Melisa

Kwiziq community member

21 March 2019

21/03/19

Thanks so much for pointing me to the answer, Alan. I understand now but it's getting complicated! :) It would surely help if they'd add a note about it to both those lessons. I did read through all the questions on the lesson I asked about and didn't see an answer there. It should really be part of the lesson, or have a link to a lesson discussing it.

Ann

Kwiziq community member

8 December 2018

1 reply

In the weekend challenge why does the pp not free: Ce qu'ils se sont déclaré (no s even though they are renewing vows) était émouvant.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

13 December 2018

13/12/18

Hi Ann,

Could you point me towards the specific challenge you are referring to?

Pauline

Kwiziq community member

16 May 2018

2 replies

How do you tell whether vous is singular or plural ?

An example gave "vous vous etes bien amuses?"

Whereas the correct answer in the quick Test was "Vous vous etes cache"

example showing vous is plural

test question showing vous is singular

Chris

Kwiziq community member

17 May 2018

17/05/18

Hi Pauline,

"Vous" can be either singular or plural. In this respect it is very much like the English "you". If you use "vous" as a polite form of the 2nd person singular you must also match anything that depends on it to be in singular as well. The same goes for "vous" in the 2nd person plural.

Vous vous êtes bien amusé? -- Did you enjoy yourself? (addressed at one person).
Vous vous êtes bien amusés? -- Did you enjoy yourselves? (addressed to a group).
Vous vous êtes bien amusées? -- Did you enjoy yourseves? (addressed to an all female group).

Note that even in English you would use "yourself" if "you" stood for a single person and "yourselves" in case of a group of persons. Not so much different than French, eh?

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Christopher

Kwiziq community member

18 May 2018

18/05/18

Sometimes it's a matter of context and if don't have all the information, you may not know.   For example "Je vous vois". You don't know if I see one or more than one person.  Without more information, you just don't know. And that's OK.  Always look for clues such as plural adjectives.

Pauline

Kwiziq community member

16 May 2018

1 reply

How do tell whether vous is singular or plural?

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

16 May 2018

16/05/18

Hi Pauline - if you mean in a kwiz question, then it should be either clear from the context of the french or english, or specified explicitly in the hint if not.

If you mean in conversation, then it's usually evident from the context. 

Deborah

Kwiziq community member

28 April 2018

5 replies

Passe compose for a reflexive verb.

The answer to a question in the Kwiz was "Nous nous sommes brosse" (with an accent).  Shouldn't that have been brosses (with an accent)?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

28 April 2018

28/04/18

Nous nous sommes brossés. Or alternatively, for an all female group: Nous nous sommes brossées  

-- Chris (not a native speaker). 

Chris

Kwiziq community member

28 April 2018

28/04/18

Nous nous sommes brossés. Or alternatively, for an all female group: Nous nous sommes brossées  

-- Chris (not a native speaker). 

Nicholas

Kwiziq community member

28 August 2018

28/08/18

Hi Deborah.  This caught me out too.  But I think the Kwiz answer (full answer: "Nous nous sommes brossé les cheveux") is correct.  According to e.g. http://la-conjugaison.nouvelobs.com/regles/orthographe/l-accord-du-participe-passe-des-verbes-pronominaux-188.php there is no agreement of the past participle with the subject when a direct object follows.  They give the example of "Ils se sont lavé les mains".  This would seem to apply here also.

Perhaps there is a lesson on this that I haven't found.  If not, it would be nice to have one.

ps. I read a recent article where it said that French school kids spend 80 hours on average learning the rules for past participle agreement!

Nicole

Kwiziq community member

3 November 2018

3/11/18

Hi Deborah, I had this same question. Did a little research online, and it turns out there is agreement with the past participle IF the reflexive pronoun is a direct object of the verb, as in "Nous nous sommes habillés." But when the reflexive pronoun is an indirect object, as in "Il se sont acheté un chien" there is no agreement. The answer is here in this link under #5: http://www.leaflanguages.org/french-grammar-reflexive-verbs-passe-compose-past-tense/

Arndis

Kwiziq community member

8 November 2018

8/11/18

I had the same problem. An explanation of this should be added to the lesson above. 

Philippa

Kwiziq community member

28 April 2018

1 reply

How do I get to the next lesson?

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

30 April 2018

30/04/18

Hi Philippa - it depends where you mean from. Your recommended lessons are in your studyplan on your dashboard, and when you open a lesson from there, you can also navigate forward and backwards to the other lessons. If you have opened a lesson from a kwiz report using the "explain this" button, just close the lesson to go back.

Does this answer your question?

Paul

Kwiziq community member

25 April 2018

1 reply

Continuation Question on tense and gender.

"the verb must agree with the gender and number of the person."

Can you please explain the discrepancy between these two sources of information? Thanks. 

Chris

Kwiziq community member

26 April 2018

26/04/18

Hi Paul,

I believe you are confusing the verb with the past participle. Let's take a look:

Alice s'est bien amusée. -- Alice had a lot of fun.

The verb is "est", which is the third person singular and hence agrees with Alice, the subject. The verb always needs to agree with the subject of the sentence, no matter what.

The participle in the example is "amusée". In the case of composite tenses which have être as their conjugated verb (as in this example), the participle needs to match the verb in number (singular) and gender (female), therfore you use "amusée".

Jean et Marc, vous vous êtes bien amusés?

Another example of the same kind: Jean et Marc are the subject in the second person plural and hence referred to as "vous". The verb (êtes) is matched to it. In the particular case of passeé composé with être as the conjugated verb, the participle needs to match the subject in gender and number: amusés. Another example, this time with avoir instead of être as the conjugated verb.

J'ai mangé du pain. -- I ate some bread.

Again, the verb "ai" is matched to the subject "je". The past participle "mangé", however, is not matched because the conjugated verb is avoir and not être.

With this clarification you should be able to reconcile the two explanations.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

I'll be right with you...