Pronom réfléchi

French Reflexive Pronoun

See also: Pronom and Pronoun Types

A reflexive pronoun indicates that the action of a verb is performed by the same person it affects: the subjects are doing something to themselves or to each other.

For example, in "I shave myself", I is both the person doing the action and the person it is done to.

Pronoms réflexifs English equivalents
me / m' / moi
te / t' / toi
se / s' / soi
himself / herself / itself
nous ourselves
vous yourselves
se / s' / soi

Note that there is no distinction in French between "herself", "himself", "itself" and "themselves": they are all se in French.

Reflexive pronouns are mainly used to express 'self' as part of a pronominal verb (which may be reflexive or reciprocal).

These verbs require a reflexive pronoun as part of their conjugation.

For example:

Je me lève. - I get up.

Tu t'habilles. - You get dressed.

Il se rase. - He shaves.

Note that in front of vowel or mute h, the reflexive pronouns me, te, se become m', t' and s'. And in the affirmative imperative, they become moi, toi and soi.

ATTENTION: Most reflexive verbs in French are NOT reflexive in English! For example, the verb se laver is equivalent to 'to wash' in English, though literally it means 'to wash oneself'.

Je me lave tous les matins. - I wash [myself] every morning.

Reflexive pronouns are also used to express reciprocity:

Ils s'aiment. - They love each other.

Vous vous regardez. - You look at each other.

Note that, in the absence of a clear context, the same sentences could also mean ''They love themselves'' and "You look at yourselves".

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