Special cases when the past participle agrees (in number & gender) when used with 'avoir' in Le Passé Composé

In most cases, the past participle when used with avoir as an auxiliary never changes:

Nous avons mangé. / Ils ont fini.
We ate. / They finished.

BUT when the direct object of the verb is placed before the verb, you  the past participle has to agree with this object.

CASE of the object pronouns

Look at these examples:

Et la télé? -  Il l'a regardée.
What about TV?  - He watched it.

Et les bonbons?  -Elle les a mangés
What about the sweets?  -She ate them.

Et les pompiers, tu les as vus ?
And the firemen, have you seen them?

Ces statues... Tu les as faites toi-même ?
These statues... Did you make them yourself?

When you replace the direct object by an object pronoun (le/la/l'/les), it moves before the verb and then the past participle has to agree.

J'ai regardé la fille.     la fille is the object of ai regardé but it's behind, so no agreement.
I watched the girl.
-> Je l'ai regardée.     l' replaces la fille -feminine/singular- and it's before the verb, so agreement.
I watched her.

CASE of the subordinate clause with que

Look at these examples:

J'aime les fraises que Maman a cueillies.
I love the strawberries Mum picked up.

J'ai rencontré les actrices que j'ai appréciées.
I met the actresses whom I have appreciated.

Les matchs que Marseille a perdus étaient truqués.
The games (that) Marseille lost were fixed.

Les photos que tu as prises sont toutes floues.
The pictures (that) you took are all blurry.

When you give extra details about a noun by including que..(that...), then this noun is the object of the second clause, and que being before the verb, the past participle agrees with this object

J'ai senti les fleurs  -->  Les fleurs que j'ai senties      
--> que is repeating les fleurs and is the object of ai senti, so there is agreement)

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Les matchs que Marseille a perdus étaient truqués.
The games (that) Marseille lost were fixed.


Les photos que tu as prises sont toutes floues.
The pictures (that) you took are all blurry.


Ces statues... Tu les as faites toi-même ?
These statues... Did you make them yourself?


Et les pompiers, tu les as vus ?
And the firemen, have you seen them?


case of the object pronoun


Et les bonbons?  -Elle les a mangés
What about the sweets?  -She ate them.


Et la télé? -  Il l'a regardée.
What about TV?  - He watched it.


case of the subordinate clause with 'que'


J'aime les fraises que Maman a cueillies.
I love the strawberries Mum picked up.


J'ai rencontré les actrices que j'ai appréciées.
I met the actresses whom I have appreciated.


Q&A Forum 11 questions, 24 answers

I don't ever remember learning that. Thank you.

Asked 1 month ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Merci, Geraldine et bonne continuation!

I don't ever remember learning that. Thank you.

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Doubt in the concept

Bonjour Madame,

In the sentence "Hier,quelle robe as-tu portée pour la soirée?"

Why has the accord 'e' been added in the past participle 'porté'

Asked 8 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Varsha,

Because in the case of verbs which take 'avoir' in the passé composé, the past participle (porté) agrees with the object when it precedes the verb, 'robe' being feminine , an 'e' is added and it becomes 'portée'.

There are many examples in this lesson.

Hope this helps!

Merci Madame

Ok, but this would seem to be a third case not explicitly handled in the lesson, right? The lesson introduces two cases:

CASE of the object pronouns
CASE of the subordinate clause with que

But this question seems to address a third case:

"CASE of object appearing before verb"

Or am I understanding wrong?

regards, Scott

CécileKwiziq language super star

Hi Scott,

 If you re-read the lesson it is the first case of the object pronouns which is covered in this lesson:

 J'ai regardé la fille -----  Je l'ai regardée

l' la fille,  which now precedes the verb so, regardée, has an extra 'e' to mark the feminine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi Cécile,

thanks for the answer! I understand the concept, however, "robe" is not a pronoun but a noun, and the explanation you refer to is in the section "CASE of the object pronouns". So I would respectfully suggest that the lesson is worded not quite clearly. It might be better if the section were labeled "CASE of the object appearing before the verb" and would include examples of nouns as well as object pronouns appearing before the verb.

regards, Scott

Je suis d'accord avec vous, Scott. "La robe" n'est pas un  pronom, mais un nom. 

Donc, il y doigt être un autre cas, juste pour faire parfaitement claire que lors un COD (complément d'objet direct) précède le verbe, il ne fait rien s'il est un nom ou un pronom - la participe passé doigt s'accorder avec le COD.

Doubt in the concept

Bonjour Madame,

In the sentence "Hier,quelle robe as-tu portée pour la soirée?"

Why has the accord 'e' been added in the past participle 'porté'

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

I am still confused with past participles agreement with the verbs. e.g. Les fleurs que j'ai senties.

Asked 9 months ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

The rule is: if the COD comes before the participle, then you need to agree the participle.

Les fleurs -- COD (feminine, plural)
que -- relative pronoun, referring to "les fleurs"
je -- subject
ai -- auxiliary verb (form of avoir)
senties -- participle of sentir.

Since "que" comes before "senties", the participle needs to match feminine, plural.

 

Some may rightly argue that "que" is the COD. That doesn't change the result, though, because "les fleurs" determine ultimately the matching of the participle. 
Merci Chris pour votre response. Je comprends maintenant.

I am still confused with past participles agreement with the verbs. e.g. Les fleurs que j'ai senties.

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Examples showing agreement without an object pronoun.

In the Weekend Challenge: 'My plan for the day of the exam' one of the translations required is 'that I'll have chosen the day before'. 

The answes given are: 

'que j'aurai choisiS la veille'  OR 'que j'aurai sélectionnéS la veille'

There is no object pronoun in either of these answers, so why are the past participles 'choisi' and 'sélectionné' writen with an S added for agreement?

Thank you

Asked 11 months ago

Hi Stewart, it all hinges on the little pronoun "que". It is the stand in for the direct object in the relative clause. If it refers to a masculine noun in plural, you would need to have agreement between it and the participles.

I am not sure of the entire sentence, but when you check, you'll find that "que" refers to a masuline noun in plural.

-- Chris.

Thanks Chris, I now see that the use of 'que' was in the lesson after all!

Examples showing agreement without an object pronoun.

In the Weekend Challenge: 'My plan for the day of the exam' one of the translations required is 'that I'll have chosen the day before'. 

The answes given are: 

'que j'aurai choisiS la veille'  OR 'que j'aurai sélectionnéS la veille'

There is no object pronoun in either of these answers, so why are the past participles 'choisi' and 'sélectionné' writen with an S added for agreement?

Thank you

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

AlexA0

tu les as vus

"tu les as vus"  cant it also be as tu les vus 
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Alex,

It  could only be 'Les as-tu vus?" or 'Est-ce que tu les as vus?

as an alternative.

Hope this helps!

Hi Akex,

"As-tu les vus" is an inverted question and means "Did you see them?"

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Alex asked:View original

tu les as vus

"tu les as vus"  cant it also be as tu les vus 

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

AnnC1

Aren't there some past participles that don't ever agree? In 501 verbs, some are listed with their pp showing possible agreement and some not.

Eg réveillé(e)(s) but réussi
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Ann,

In the case of true 'intransitive'  verbs which by definition don't have an object , the past participle will not agree .

I am not sure that a list would help with this.

(N.B. some verbs can be both intransitive and transitive like servir, commencer ...)

Impersonal verbs as in expressions like 'il faut' or 'il y a' will always be become 'il a fallu' and  'il y a eu'.

There is a group of verbs however which is interesting like coûter, valoir, peser, mesuser, courir...which express measure, quantity and duration  will be 'invariable' with 'avoir' even if the object precedes the verbs because the object is a quantity and answers to the question 'combien' and not 'quoi'.

e.g. 

Les millions d'euros que cette réparation nous a coûté...

Les kilos que ce paquet a pesé... 

Les heures que j'ai couru...

Hope this helps!

 

Hi Ann,

no, in fact, all past participles follow the rules explained in the lesson. I am not aware of some verbs which wouldn't follow it.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

AnnC1
Yes, thanks!

Aren't there some past participles that don't ever agree? In 501 verbs, some are listed with their pp showing possible agreement and some not.

Eg réveillé(e)(s) but réussi

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Bonjour,

Asked 2 years ago
Sorry, accidentally pressed enter :D Anyhow, I was wondering about a particular sentence : "Ils se sont lavé les mains." Does "lavé" not agree with "les mains" because the COI is before the COD? I didn't find a sentence like this in the lesson so I figured I'd ask. Merci! :)
There is no agreement when something other than the person(s) is having the action of the verb done to them. So, Ils se sont lavés has an agreement because ‘they are washing themselves' (therefore, the reflexive pronoun ‘themselves’ se is the direct object which requires an agreement) but Ils se sont lavé les mains has no agreement because 'They're washing their hands' (the hands are now the direct object, ‘themselves’ se has become the indirect object pronoun and doesn’t require an agreement). 

Bonjour,

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Vu et regarde

When does one use either or the other? In the examples/quizzes - les fleurs uses voir( vues) and les films goes with regarder.
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Meghna ! The difference between "voir" and "regarder" is the same as between "to see" and "to watch". "Tu as regardé ce film ?" (Have you watched that film?) "Tu as vu ce film ?" (Have you seen that film?) "Tu as vu ces fleurs ?" (Have you seen these flowers?) "J'ai regardé les fleurs de mon jardin." (I watched the flowers in my garden.) I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !

Vu et regarde

When does one use either or the other? In the examples/quizzes - les fleurs uses voir( vues) and les films goes with regarder.

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Laura, is there a quiz for this?

Asked 2 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Kevin, At Kwiziq, kwizzes are created dynamically based on the lessons in your StudyPlan and/or Notebook. If the lesson isn't in your StudyPlan, you can add it to your Notebook and then click the kwiz button.

Laura, is there a quiz for this?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Confused with passé composé & the infinatif (the A sound)

Asked 2 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Sylvia, If you're asking whether e.g., aller and allé are pronounced differently - they're not.

Confused with passé composé & the infinatif (the A sound)

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

It's always "que," and not "qui" when referring to a person or persons?

Asked 2 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super star

Bonjour Susan,

No. You need the relative pronoun que when it's serving as the direct object, but qui when it's serving as the subject. All of the examples in this lesson happen to need the direct object.

See these lessons for more info:

Que = Whom, which, that (relative pronouns)%20">Relative pronoun que

Qui = Who, which, that (relative pronouns)">Relative pronoun qui

Merci, Laura!

It's always "que," and not "qui" when referring to a person or persons?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Thinking...