French Language

Discuss and learn French: French vocabulary, French grammar, French culture etc.

French Vocab Games app for iPhone/iPad French-English dictionary French grammar French vocab/phrases

For the latest updates, follow @FrenchUpdates on Twitter!

Here's the text, spot the error:  

 Au Canada, toutes les personnes qui ont déjà passé la

nuit dehors au froid, se sont demandé si elles pourraient payer leur logement, ont

craint d'être jetées à la rue avec leurs enfants,....

Opinions seem to be divided.

I would appreciate feedback.


Views: 342

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Is it demande  vs demandées ? I agree with how  you have written it .

"se" is an indirect object  (of demandé ) and so there is no need for it to agree with "personnes"

If I write: " Elles se sont demandé s'il était trop tard", is this correct?

In my book yes (and incorrect  if you add an "s" to the end of the participle. )

This may help:


Hi everybody. In this short French text, all past agreements are conditioned by the COD rule ( Complément d'Objet Direct. )

Here the main ways of this rule :

1 - The agreement is always possible with auxiliary verb “ETRE”

2 - No agreement is possible with the auxiliary verb “AVOIR” excepting if the COD is placed before the verb.

3 - When two auxiliaries are present in the same sentence and are adjoined ( that is to say : "a été" [ have/has been ] ), “ETRE” is always stronger than “AVOIR”. So, for the agreement, “ETRE” wins always.

4 - In addition, as the French tongue is sometimes a bit complicated according to the past agreements rule, you must know that it exists other possibilities of exceptions. And yet, they are rare. ( Even French people are not always agree concerning these exceptions... ^^ Consequently, if you are able to use the past agreements according to the first three points mentioned above, you can conjugate French verbs in 98% of all cases. )


toutes les personnes qui ont déjà passé [[la nuit]] dehors au froid,”

As “ont” [ AVOIR ] is used and like the [[COD]] is not before the verb, “passé” is correct.

Just for memory :

- “déjà” is written inside the verb composition. However, its position is neutral. It's surely like in English.

- “au” means “into” in this sentence. This usage is a bit particular, but exists even.

We continue...

[ les personnes ] “se sont demandé si elles pourraient payer leur logement,”

As “sont” [ ETRE ] is used. Normaly, it would be logical to make the agreement, that is to say : “ées”

- “é” is the past mark.

- “e” is according the genre of the subject, that is to say “personne”. “Une personne” is a feminine word.

- “s” is according to the plural mark. Like several people [ personnes ] are introduced in this sentence. The plural mark is necessary.

However, “se demander” is a rare exception!!

This verb enters in the fourth rule point and is, consequently, a 2% part of exceptions. We say that it is an “accidently pronominal”verb. That is why some French people are not agree with other because, in this case, we are in front of a special rule deeply confused! ( And, so, personaly, I can understand that French learners are able to forgot it! )

Just for memory : “se” means "oneself". So, “se demander” means “wonder” [ I wonder. ]

And we continue again...

[ les personnes ] “ont craint d'être jetées à la rue avec leurs enfants,....”

There are two parts in this verb composition : “ont craint” and “être jetées”.

The first, “ont craint”: As “ont” [ AVOIR ] is used, no agreement is useful.

The second “être jetée”: As “être” [ ETRE ] is used, the agreement is possible for the verb “jeter”

These two verb compositions are not adjoined even if they are near. Indeed, it's the “d'” who makes a separation.

For instance, it's possible to transform this sentence easier with other verb compositions :

“ [ Les personnes ] ont craint | de vivre sans logement...”

( Literaly : “These people are afraid to live without home” )

“ [ Les personnes ] ressentent la peur | d'être jetées à la rue...

( Literaly : “These people fell the fear to be thrown in the street...” )

An advice : For finding easier the agreement, you must ask “what” or “who”. This simple question allows to find quickly the COD position in the sentence part and to choose the final agreement according to the three rule methods named above. So, it's won for each time! ^^

Voilà pour un complet feedback*. J'espère que mon explication va pouvoir aider tout le monde.

A bientôt.

*This word is likewise used in French exactly like it is written in English.


PS : Sorry if my answer is behind a first reply. I needed to correct my English text and to add something concerning the verb “se demander”. I apolozise.


Follow BitterCoffey on Twitter

© 2022   Created by Neil Coffey.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service