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I am learning reflexive verbs. My study material has stated that: 'je me douche' = 'I am going for a shower'.

But I translate it as: 'je me douche' = 'I am showering myself' (or 'I shower myself').

I would translate 'I am going for a shower' as 'je vais me doucher' as it is a (near) future event.

Who is correct?

Also, do you always have to use the verb reflexively? For example, could you say 'je douche' or 'je vais doucher'?

Thanks in advance for your responses.

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Yes you're right : I am going for a shower= je vais me doucher

the exact translation of "je me douche" is I'm having a shower

Whenever you talk about yourself  you have to use the verb reflexively otherwise you must indicate a direct object:

Je vais doucher le chien/ le bébé/ Pauline....

What you say is true in terms of "literal" translations. But I'm wondering about something... the present tense is commonly used in French to refer to an "imminent planned future" where English would use a future-oriented expression. For example, when in French you say "Je te vois demain", in English you'd generally say "I'll see you tomorrow". So I wonder if this may be the intention of the example (it's difficult to say for sure without seeing the context) -- "Je me douche" could be used to mean something like "Je vais juste me doucher".

In the example he has given me exactly what I've given you: the phrase plus translation with no further context.

But it does seem to me it's a contextual translation rather than a literal translation. I can think of situations where in English you'd use the present tense for a (near) future intention. For instance, you announce to an audience 'I'm showering' after watching TV. You're not literally showering at that moment but from the context of the conversation it is clear you're about to get a shower.

So the phrase 'je douche' is meaningless in French without qualifying it to something (like a dog, baby, Pauline, yourself etc)? Whereas in English 'I'm showering' automatically applies to yourself and would be understood as such, there is no need to add 'myself' at the end of the sentence (and would actually sound quite weird if you did).

Maybe the choice of verb is poor in this example because showering is axiomatically applicable only to yourself in English (when used in the sense of washing with water). You can shower with someone but you do not shower them. 

So when you say 'the exact translation of "je me douche" is I'm having a shower' do you mean literally or contextually? If literally then I don't understand how the verb 'having' has appeared without the conjugation of 'avoir'. I was thinking (ironically whilst showering) of how many different ways you can express 'having a showering' in English (each as valid as the previous); you could say 'having'/'getting'/'taking' or just simply 'I'm showering'. Is 'je me douche' equivalent to 'I'm getting a shower' or 'I'm taking a shower' even though in French we haven't used the verbs 'get' or 'take'? As I understand it, 'je me douche' literally means something like 'I (am) (to) myself shower(ing)' which in English you would translate to 'I'm taking/getting/having a shower'?


Je me douche is unlikely to be a an imminent future, not impossible though in a specific context .

 "Je me douche" is the reflexive form of "Je prends une douche / je suis en train de prendre une douche"


"Je prends une douche" is perhaps a bit more likely to mean I'm going to have a shower in a very imminent future.

Tell me now I thought that "to take a shower" was more a US usage and that "to have a shower" the UK usage?

Very literally, "I shower myself" or "I am showering myself".  These other permeations have more to do with English (either American or British) than with French

@ Vedas

Tell me now I thought that "to take a shower" was more a US usage and that "to have a shower" the UK usage?

Well both sound natural to this UK speaker .

Perhaps "have a shower" is looser but I can't say  how  the US  phrases it.

So if you translated (literally) 'I'm having a shower' into French and said it to a French native would they understand its meaning (assuming they didn't know English)?

Vedas - the origins of 'to take a shower' may lay in American-English (I don't know) but its usage has certainly penetrated into UK English. If someone said it to me I wouldn't think "why are you using Americanisation's" in the same way I would if they used the words 'sidewalk' or 'trash'. Each way I previously mentioned all sound perfectly natural to me. Which one a person uses is most likely just down to dialect.

Hello !

I can only see one situation where you can use "je me douche" alone, it's if someone is asking you what you are doing.

"qu'est ce que tu fais" - "je me douche" => Given that you are already in the bathroom.

Otherwise "je me douche" must be associated with context elements to be understood as a close future.

"Je me douche et j'arrive"

So if you say to a native French "je me douche" in another situation than in response to "what are you doing (in the bathroom)?" it's gonna be awkward...

Sandra, this whole time I had the exact same thoughts. I am so happy my hunch is in fact in-line with how at least some Francophones think.


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