French Reflexive Verbs [With Conjugations, Vocab Lists, & Audio]

Consider French reflexive verbs as they’re associated to the phrase “mirror.” They describe actions that you do to your self (in technical phrases, that mirror again on the topic). These are issues like getting dressed, brushing your hair, or introducing your self.

For instance, je me brosse les cheveux means “I brush my hair.” The reflexive verb right here is se brosser, conjugated for je. If I say je brosse les cheveux, it means “I brush the hair” — not my very own hair. So this phrase doesn’t sound fairly proper.

Not all French verbs are reflexive verbs, however a handful of them are.

Each rookies and superior learners should be acquainted as they usually come up in on a regular basis speech and writing. Think about — even saying your title in French is with a reflexive verb. Je m’appelle Yaren is how I’d say “my title is Yaren” however its literal translation is “I name myself Yaren!”

French Reflexive Verbs: Vocabulary Record

Let’s begin with a vocabulary checklist, overlaying the commonest French reflexive verbs that can come up later within the article:

What are Reflexive Verbs and How Do You Use Them?

Reflexive verbs are the verbs that mirror the motion again on the topic, with the assistance of reflexive pronouns.

For instance, lever means “to raise.” With a reflexive pronoun, se lever could have a unique which means, “to rise up.” Equally, laver means “to clean one thing.” Se laver is “to clean oneself.”

The reflexive verbs have two elements: the verb itself and a reflexive pronoun, one of many varieties of French pronouns. To determine which reflexive pronoun to make use of, we should always take a look at the topic who’s performing the motion. For instance, if I’m the one who’s getting up, I’d say je me lève. If I’m speaking about somebody who’s getting up, I’d say il se lève or elle se lève.

The infinitive type of the verb to rise up is “se lever.” To conjugate, we have to select the appropriate pronoun for every topic. Listed here are the reflexive pronouns in French:

  • me/m’ (“me, myself”)
  • te/t’ (“you, your self,” singular casual)
  • se/s’ (“he, himself; her, herself; it, itself; one, oneself; us, ourselves” – when used with on as an alternative of nous)
  • nous (“us, ourselves”)
  • vous (“you, your self,” plural/singular formal)
  • se/s’ (“them, themselves”)

When adopted by a vowel, me, te, and se change into m’ t’ and s’. Consider je m’appelle, tu t’appelles, or elle s’appelle. Whereas lots of phrases have a reflexive and non-reflexive kind, equivalent to lever (“to raise”) and se lever (“to rise up”), some verbs are solely used of their reflexive kinds. For instance, se moquer means “to make enjoyable of somebody.” It’s probably not widespread to say moquer. We’ll get to this later!

Instance Sentences with On a regular basis Reflexive Verbs

We’ve already lined se lever (“to rise up”), s’appeler (“to be referred to as”), and se laver (“to clean”), all a part of each day French vocabulary. Listed here are some instance sentences with widespread reflexive verbs:

VerbEnglish SentenceFrench SentenceAudio
Se lever (“to rise up”)“I get up early to go to work.”Je me lève tôt pour aller au travail.
Se brosser les dents (“to brush your tooth”)“He brushes his tooth twice a day.”Il se brosse les dents deux fois par jour.
S’habiller (“to dress”)“You at all times gown nicely.”Tu t’habilles toujours bien.
Se laver les mains (“to clean one’s fingers”)“I wash my fingers earlier than consuming.”Je me lave les mains avant de manger.
Se coucher (“to go to mattress”)“We often go to mattress round 10 pm.” (In French, nous and on each imply “we.” On is extra widespread in each day life.Nous nous couchons généralement vers 22 heures / On se couche généralement vers 22 heures.
Se réveiller (“to get up”)“She usually wakes up throughout the night time.”Elle se réveille souvent pendant la nuit.
Se maquiller (“to placed on make-up”)“They at all times placed on make-up earlier than going out.”Elles se maquillent toujours avant de sortir.
Se doucher (“to take a bathe”)“You are taking a bathe after the health club.”Tu te douches après la health club.
Se préparer (“to get ready”)“They prepare an hour upfront.”Ils se préparent une heure à l’avance.
Se détendre (“to loosen up”)“I loosen up by studying ebook.”Je me détends en lisant un bon livre.
Se dépêcher (“to rush”)“Are you able to hurry, please?”Tu te dépêches, s’il te plaît? 

These are just some examples of the various reflexive verbs utilized in on a regular basis French. As you’ll be able to see, they cowl a variety of widespread actions, from hygiene to each day routines, and from habits to non-public preferences.

Reflexive Verbs in Completely different Tenses

Mastering French phrase order can take some time. And with reflexive verbs, you also needs to take into account the place the pronoun goes within the sentence. Let’s check out how reflexive verbs are conjugated in numerous tenses. In case you haven’t lined the opposite tenses but, be happy to simply follow the current tense and are available again to this text while you’re prepared!

Current Tense: Select the appropriate reflexive pronoun and conjugate the verb as it could usually be conjugated.

  • Tu te lèves. “You rise up.”
  • Il se brosse les dents. “He brushes his tooth.”

Previous Tense – Passé Composé: With reflexive verbs, we should always at all times use être in passé composé, regardless of if the non-reflexive model of the verb makes use of avoir. The conjugated model of être comes between the pronoun and the verb, which should be previously participle of the verb.

  • Je me suis levé tôt. “I acquired up early.”
  • On s’est habillés rapidement. “We acquired dressed shortly.”
  • Vous vous êtes maquillées pour la soirée. “You placed on make-up for the night.”

Imperfect Tense: We conjugate the verb within the imperfect tense, imparfait. The pronoun stays as it’s.

  • Tu te couchais tard. “You used to go to mattress late.”
  • Ils s’habillaient bien. “They used to decorate nicely.”

Future Tense: We conjugate the verb sooner or later tense, le futur easy. The pronoun stays as it’s.

  • Je me réveillerai à 7 heures demain. “I’ll get up at 7 o’clock tomorrow.”
  • Elle se maquillera avant la cérémonie. “She is going to placed on make-up earlier than the ceremony.”

Conditional Tense: We conjugate the verb sooner or later tense, le futur easy. The pronoun stays as it’s.

  • Je me lèverais plus tôt si j’avais des cours. “I might rise up earlier if I had classes.”
  • Je m’habillerais différemment si je savais qu’on allait au sport. “I might gown in another way if I knew we have been going to do sports activities.”

Helpful Expressions with Reflexive Verbs

French isn’t in need of expressions and idioms — and generally, they embody reflexive verbs. Let’s check out some widespread expressions with reflexive verbs. Apart from the basic je me lève and je m’habille, these expressions will make your French vocabulary extra elaborate.

French VerbInstance Sentence (English)Instance Sentence (French)Audio
Se moquer de (to make enjoyable of)“They make enjoyable of me as a result of I am quick.”Ils se moquent de moi parce que je suis petit.
S’en aller (to depart, to go away)“I’m leaving, I’ve an appointment.”Je m’en vais, j’ai un rendez-vous. 
Se taire (to be quiet)“I’ll be quiet, we’re within the library.”Je vais me taire, on est dans la bibliothèque.
Se rendre compte que (to comprehend)“She realized that she forgot her keys.”Elle s’est rendue compte qu’elle avait oublié ses clés.
Se memento de (to recollect)“We keep in mind our first journey to Paris.”On se souvient de notre premier voyage à Paris.
Se passer de (to do with out, to handle with out)“I can do with out dessert tonight.”Je peux me passer de dessert ce soir.
S’y connaître (to be educated about, to be an skilled in)“ about French wine.”Vous vous y connaissez en vins français.
Se tromper (to make a mistake)“Sorry, I made a mistake.”Désolé je me suis trompé.
S’occuper de (to care for)“I care for my mom.”Je m’occupe de ma mère.
S’habituer à (to get used to)“She acquired used to her new life.”Elle s’est habituée à sa nouvelle vie.

Adverse Reflexive Verbs

Fast recap: to make a sentence detrimental in French, we’d like the phrases ne and pas. Instance: je ne marche pas, “I don’t stroll.” With reflexive verbs, French negation follows the same construction: ne + reflexive pronoun + verb + pas.

Listed here are some examples:

With passé composé, it’s barely completely different. The construction is: ne + reflexive pronoun + être + pas + previous participle. It might sound a bit difficult, however consider it as “there can solely be one verb between ne and pas.” Listed here are some examples that can make it clearer:

With Some Observe, You’ll Quickly Grasp Reflexive Verbs

When learning reflexive verbs, search for widespread patterns. Many verbs comply with related patterns with the common verbs — se laver is conjugated the identical means as laver, a first-group common verb, for instance.

The extra you watch French filmstake heed to French songs, and immerse your self within the language, the simpler it will likely be to know when to make use of reflexive verbs and the way to conjugate them. Observe makes good could also be cliché recommendation, however on this context, it’s true!

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Yaren Fadiloglulari

Freelance Content material Author & Journalist

Initially from Cyprus, Yaren is a freelance author for a lot of digital publications, journey and schooling manufacturers, and start-ups.

Speaks: English, Turkish, French, and Spanish

View all posts by Yaren Fadiloglulari

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