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Hi all,

I  have a problem in understanding the precise meaning and the usage of double object prononus. I have a list as below:


Je me

Tu te

Il/elle se

Nous nous

Vous vous

Ils/elles se


For example when we use "se lever" in a sentence, we say "Je me léve" which means "I am standing up" in English. What I want to learn is:


  • What are the verbs in French which are used with "se" in French. I won't ask if there is any rule for this gramattical case, because I learnt that the answer of most of such questions in French is "it is this in French, memorize" :-)
  • When I say "Je m'apelle Tuba" the m with apostrophe must be the "me" above. This is translated into English as "my name is Tuba". But the word appelle may also be used  as "j'appele". So in this case I start thinking of a rule for the double object pronouns. Is there any? :-) 

Another question is about two words carrying the similar meanings. Boir and prendre. If I can make both of the sentences below, what is the difference between the two?


Je prends du the

Je bois du the


Thanks very much.




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Verbs with double object pronouns in a sentence are taking the role of being reflexive. Here is a more detailed piece of info.


It may be very difficult to understand for English or Korean speakers. It is, however, an important part of understanding French.

In Spanish the same verb, tomar, means take and also drink. It's almost the same in French but I think prendre would only be used in the immediate context of drinking.

"Que voulez-vous boire?"  "Je prends du thé, s'il vous plait."

In a more abstract context boire is required.

Chez moi je bois du whisky, mais quand je suis au sud de la France j'aime boire le pastis comme apéritif.

I think prends and prendre would be inappropriate in the above sentence. Any native French speakers agree?




I agree, in theses sentences, we can't say prends. But in others, we can. Hmm, how can i explain...

Au petit-déjeuner, je prends du café is correct.

Quand je vais au restaurant, je prends toujours du vin avec mon plat too.

Boire is really restricted to the action of drinking, meanwhile prendre is more about the idea of "ask/have somethink to drink.

A bar waiter will tell you "Qu'est-ce que vous prendrez ? ". Once he had serve you, you can say "j'ai pris une bière avant que tu arrives" or "j'ai bu du pastis avant le repas"

Merci Ed.

You think of the extra pronoun as carrying the "self" meaning (myself, yourself etc).


As a rough guide, if there's any logical sense at all in "self" being inserted, it tends to be in French, even though In English, it might not be the most idiomatic way to say things. So for example, in English "I washed myself" is a logical, grammatical sentence, but it just turns out that people would tend to say "I had a wash". In French, the "self" version, using "me", "te" etc as appropriate, is often the most idiomatic way.


I want to say that many European languages (except for English) rather have slightly limited ways to use passive verbs compare to English. It might be because of the reflexive verb qualities in French, German, etc.

Yes, it's true that the picture we're giving here of "reflexive" verbs is a little limited. A similar construction is actually used:


- with a passive function, especially when the human agent is implied but not specified, and/or when there's a sense of "generality" (le vin rouge se boit chanbré)

- with many verbs, when the subject is inanimate and there's no human agent as such, to mark "intransitivity" (la porte s'est ouverte; la pièce s'est remplie de fumée)


To some extent in French, the passive and the "middle" construction (the first type above) complement one another, so that in cases where a "true" passive isn't used, a middle ("reflexive") construction tends to be, and vice versa: so French speakers wouldn't tend to say le vin rouge est bu chambré, but they also wouldn't tend to say ce vin s'est bu hier).


Note that some limitations on the passive exist in both French and English. So that it appears to sound just as odd in French to say Julie a été mariée par Jean as it does in English to say "Julie was married by John" (to mean they got married).


Reflexive verbs are basically middle voices. True. This grammar-related nature is also the reason why English has so many intransitive verbs (in the Indo-European Language Family sense).

Note that there are differences between the middle construction and "true" reflexives which carry a notion genuine "self". With true reflexives, you can insert ne...que into the sentence and use the corresponding reflexive object pronouns (lui-même, elle-même etc); with the middle construction, this makes no sense:


elle s'est lavée -> elle n'a lavé qu'elle-même ("she washed only herself")

la porte s'est ouverte -> la porte n'a ouvert qu'elle même


Bonjour Tuba


I can add following to answer your questions:


what are the verbs in French which are used with "se" in French -

As you said, 'se' is used with il/elle / ils form. It will be used every where where the action is on the person himself. Like in your example, Je me léve, the action of getting up is on the person himself.  Another eg: Il s'apelle Pierre, ie his name is Pierre.


When I say "Je m'apelle Tuba" the m with apostrophe must be the "me" above. This is translated into English as "my name is Tuba". But the word appelle may also be used as "j'appele". -

you are right about the 'me' . the general rule in French is that when a word ends with a vowel and the next word starts with a vowel or mute 'h', then usually, the words 'elide' - so je me appelle - je m'apelle. Another example - ce ne est pas (it is not / this is not) - actually written as ce n'est pas; Le hôtel - actually written as "l'hôtel'.


for "my name is xxx" - it is je m'apelle and not j'apelle, because the action is on yourself. If you have to say -' i am calling Lisa', then simplistically speaking, you will be saying -' j'apelle Lisa' .


Hope i am clear. I am also a  learner of French language, and have tried to  explain, what i understand.


Any other person may pls correct, if i am wrong somewhere.











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