CHAPTER 2 – Definition – Reflexive verb – Verbe réfléchi

Reflexive verbs belong to the broader category of pronominal verbs. In French, they are called verbes réfléchis.

A reflexive verb refers back to the subject of the  verb in a sentence.

For example, in “Je me lave” the pronoun me is the pronoun that refers back to the subject je.

In other words, by using a reflexive verb, we simply mean that the subject of the verb is doing an action directed at the subject himself/herself. The subject and the object are both the same unless a different object is mentioned.

  • Elle se lève [She gets up].
  • Elle se brosse les dents [She brushes her teeth]. In the latter example, although a pronominal verb is used, the the subject and object are not really the same. She is the subject [Elle] and les dents [teeth] is the object placed after the verb se brosse. This last detail is very important when you deal with the passé composé.

Here is the list of all pronouns used in a reflexive verbme, te, se, nous, vous, se. 

N.B. me, te and se change into m’, t’ and s’ when they are followed by a vowel or silent h.

Je m’habille. I am getting dressed.