Bonjour Jim, Cheryl, Cary,
Interesting discussion you've had. :-)
Normally, Jim, you're right that you need a reflexive pronoun with parts of body, but lever is a particular case: se lever means "to get up" - it's a different meaning that "to lift." So if you say "il se lève la tête" it would mean something like "he gets up the head" = nonsense.
Aurélie is going to add a note about this - thanks for bringing this up so we can make the lesson better than ever. :-)
Marc lève la tête.
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Marc lève la tête.
This question relates to:French lesson "Using le, la, les with body parts and clothing (definite articles)"
Asked 6 years ago
LauraKwiziq team memberCorrect answer
Hello Cheryl, Thanks for your answer. If we write "Marc lève la tête" we do not know which head is being lifted. This is why we have to write "Marc se lève la tête" to make it clear that Marc is lifting his own head. This is my problem. I'm looking for somebody to argue the grammar or at least my understanding of the grammar. I don't understand why simply writing "Marc lève la tête" makes it clear that it is his head that is being lifted. I'm being pedantic but this is what is bothering me about the grammar. Regards, Alan
I understand what you say. I feel the same way about many aspects of learning French. Hopefully one of the kwizik team will post you an explanation that clears this up for you. I'll read it too. Cheers, Cheryl
p.s. - had another thought about this: I think that this sentence can only mean that he lifts his own head, and that if it were necessary to say that he lifts her head, for example, then you would say: il lève sa tête. The definite article is still used with body parts, when using reflexive verbs, e.g. Tu te làves les mains? Cheryl
In your reply to Cheryl, your first paragraph is correct. Then you follow by saying you don't understand why " Marc lève la tête " makes it clear it is his own head. It does NOT make it clear. If Mark is a new father who is going to give his baby a bottle, you could correctly say " Marc lève la tête de l'enfant...." Or, as you wrote in your first paragraph, you could add " se " after Mark and that makes it clear it is his own head he is raising. Remember that the French do not use possessive pronouns with reflexive verbs. Instead, they use reflexive pronouns and definite articles. Reflexive verbs are hard at first---hang in there.
Hi Cary, My question came about because I got this part of the quiz wrong. Unfortunately, at this moment I'm still not clear for the reasons given in my reply to Cheryl. I am of the understanding that we need to say "Marc se lève la tête" to express that Marc raises his head. Apparently, this is not necessary -- we need only to say "Marc lève la tête" to express that Marc lifts his own head. I remain confused by this aspect and am looking forward to seeing an explanation from a grammar expert to help me clear this up. Thanks for your input. Regards, Alan
Hi Alan, I am not a grammar expert. Could you tell me exactly what was the question you missed on the quiz, and what was your answer? I hope someone else will reply soon. Cary
Cary, Thanks for your continued interest. Question - Marc lève la tête means? Answer - Marc lifts his head. This is what is bothering me -- I say that to express "Marc lifts his head" we need to write "Marc se lève la tête" so why not "se lève" rather than simply "lève"? Regards, Alan
I think this is exactly right. There could be a mistake with the answer on the test....perhaps the answer should be " Marc lifts the head."
So sorry to give you wrong info! Thanks for weighing in, Laura.
Thanks Laura, I did research this issue and found that my understanding of the verb se lever was mistaken. Once that I realised that se lever means "to get up" as you point out; I was satisfied that my original question was invalid. It has been informative though and we certainly learn by exercising these issues of grammar detail. Best regards to all who took part. Alan
Thank you Laura, for clarifying the distinction between 'lever' & 'se lever'. Cheryl
Jim asked:View original
Marc lève la tête.
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