French › Level two lessons › Everyday life · Le quotidien

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Dialogue [edit]

Culture · Daily life in France [edit]

Grammar · Pronominal verbs [edit]

Pronominal verbs are verbs that include pronouns. These pronouns are me, te, se, nous, and vous and are used as either direct objects or indirect objects, depending on the verb that they modify. There are three types of pronominal verbs: reflexive verbs, reciprocal verbs, and naturally pronominal verbs.

Reflexive verbs[edit]

Reflexive verbs reflect the action on the subject.

Je me lave. - I wash myself.
Nous nous lavons. - We wash ourselves.
Ils se lavent. - They wash themselves.

Reflexive verbs can also be used as infinitives.

Je vais me laver. - I'm going to wash myself.
Je ne vais pas me laver. - I'm not going to wash myself.

Reciprocal verbs[edit]

With reciprocal verbs, people perform actions to each other.

Nous nous aimons. - We like each other.

Naturally pronominal verbs[edit]

Some verbs are pronominal without performing a reflexive or reciprocal action.

Tu te souviens ? - You remember?

Examples[edit]

Vocabulary · Waking up and getting yourself ready [edit]

se lever About this sound /lǝ.ve/ (luh-vay) to get up conjugated like acheter Je me lève, je me lave. I get up, I wash.
se laver About this sound /la.ve/ (lah-vay) to wash (oneself) Elle s'est lavé les mains. She washed her hands
se raser About this sound /ʀa.ze/ (rah-zay) to shave Il se rase le matin. He shaves in the morning.
se doucher About this sound /du.ʃe/ (doo-shay) to take a shower Elle va se doucher plus tard. She is going to take a shower later.
se baigner About this sound /be.ɲe/ (bay-nyay) to bathe (oneself)
se brosser les cheveux/les dents to brush one's hair/teeth Il faut se brosser les dents chaque matin. One must brush one's teeth every morning.
le brosse
la brosse à dents
la brosse à cheveux
About this sound /bʁɔs/ (brohs)

brush
toothbrush
hairbrush
Elle adore sa brosse à dents rouge. She adores her red toothbrush.
se peigner les cheveux About this sound /pe.ɲe/ (pay-gnay) to comb one's hair
le peigne About this sound /pɛ.ɲ/ (peh-gn) comb
s'habiller About this sound /sa.bi.je/ (sah-bee-yuhay) to get dressed, to dress (oneself) Il s'habille très vite. He gets dressed quickly.

If the subject is performing the action on him or herself, the verbs are reflexive. However, if the subject were to act on someone else, the verb is no longer reflexive; instead the reflexive pronoun becomes a direct object.

Je m'habille - I get (myself) dressed.
Je t'habille - I get you dressed.

In the passé composé, the verbs use être and the participle must agree in gender and number with the subject.

Pierre s'est habillé.
Alice s'est habillée.
Georges et Martin se sont habillés.
Lisette et Rose se sont habillées.
Marc et Claire se sont habillés.
Je m'appelle Lucie, et je me suis levée à six heures.
Jean et Paul, vous vous êtes levés assez tard.

Grammar · Devoir, Falloir, and avoir besoin de [edit]

To have need of · avoir besoin de[edit]

The word le besoin /bǝ.zwɛ̃/ (buh-zwa(n)) means need, and thus the expression avoir besoin de translates to to have need of.

To have to · Devoir[edit]

devoir Listen /dǝ.vwaʁ/ (duh-vwahr) to have to
je dois /dwa/ (dwah) I have to
tu dois /dwa/ (dwah) you have to
il doit /dwa/ (dwah) he has to
nous devons /dǝ.vɔ̃/ (duh-voh(n)) we have to
vous devez /dǝ.ve/ (duh-vay) you have to
ils doivent /dwav/ (dwahv) they have to
du /dy/ (dew) had to

The past participle drops the circumflex accent in its other forms: feminine singular due; masculine plural dus; feminine plural dues.

Used as a noun, le devoir means duty or exercise.

To be necessary · Falloir[edit]

falloir About this sound /fa.lwaʁ/ (fah-lwahr) to be necessary
il faut About this sound /fɔ/ (foh) it is necessary
il a fallu About this sound /fa.ly/ (fah-lew) it was necessary

Comparison[edit]

The verb falloir differs from similar verbs such as avoir besoin de [faire quelque chose] (to need [to do something]) and devoirmust, duty, owe . Falloir is always used with the impersonal il only in the third person singular, whereas devoir can be used with all subject pronouns in all tenses.

Falloir expresses general necessities:

To live, one must eat.
To speak French well, one must conjugate verbs correctly.

Devoir expresses more personally what someone must do:

I want to pass my French test, so I must study verb conjugations.

Avoir besoin de [faire quelque chose] expresses need:

J'ai besoin d'étudier pour mon examen, il est demain. - I need to study for my test, it's tomorrow.

Examples[edit]

Il doit aller en France un jour. He must go to France one day.
L’officier doit veiller aux besoins du soldat. The officer must ensure the needs of the soldier.
Vous devez passer un examen médical. You need to take a medical examination.
Il faut faire venir le plombier pour réparer cette conduite d’eau. One must have the plumber come to repair the water line.

Supplementary grammar · To sleep · Dormir[edit]

Dormir, meaning to sleep, is an irregular French verb.

dormir Listen /dɔʁ.miʁ/ (dohr-meer) to sleep
je dors /dɔʁ/ (dohr) I sleep
tu dors /dɔʁ/ (dohr) you sleep
il dort /dɔʁ/ (dohr) he sleeps
nous dormons /dɔʁ.mɔ̃/ (dohr-moh(n)) we sleep
vous dormez /dɔʁ.me/ (dohr-may) you sleep
ils dorment /dɔʁm/ (dohrm) they sleep
dormi /dɔʁ.mi/ (dohr-mee) sleep

The verb endormir /ɑ̃.dɔʁ.miʁ/ (ah(n)-dohr-meer), meaning to put to sleep, and its reflexive form s'endormirto fall asleep are conjugated in the same way as dormir. The noun le dortoir /dɔʀ.twaʀ/ (dohr-twahr), meaning dormitory, is derived from dormir.

Examples[edit]

Endormez cet enfant. Put this child to sleep.
Je me suis endormi vers les trois heures. I was asleep about three hours.

Text [edit]

Exercises [edit]