Reflexive verb – verbe réfléchi

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Let's Define It!

What's a *reflexive verb*?

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.

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Let's Pronounce It!

What does it sound like in French?

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Let's Have an Example or Two!

Can a little reinforcement do the trick?

Here is a French reflexive verb conjugated in all the persons. The reflexive pronouns are underlined for your convenience.

je me douche

tu te douches

il se douche

nous nous douchons

vous vous douchez

ils se douchent

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