French › Level three lessons › Adolescence · L'adolescence

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Grammar review · Pronominal verbs [edit | edit source]

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. When pronominal verbs are conjugated in perfect tenses, être is used as the auxiliary verb. There are three types of pronominal verbs: reflexive verbs, reciprocal verbs, and naturally pronominal verbs.

Reflexive verbs[edit | edit source]

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.

Either the conjugated verb or the infinitive can be negated, each with different meanings:

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

In perfect tenses, the past participles agree with the direct object pronoun, but not the indirect object pronoun, in gender and plurality. Therefore it would only agree when the reflexive pronoun is the direct object; the past participle does not agree with the direct object if it goes after the verb:

Elle s'est lavée.She washed herself.
[[wikt:Nous nous sommes lavé(e) s.|Nous nous sommes lavé(e) s.]]We washed ourselves.
Elle s'est lavé les mains.She washed her hands.
Nous nous sommes lavé les mains.We washed our hands.

Reciprocal verbs[edit | edit source]

With reciprocal verbs, people perform actions to each other:

Nous nous aimons.We like each other.

Like reflexive verbs, the past participle of reciprocal verbs agrees in number and gender with the direct object if it goes before the verb. It therefore agrees with all reciprocal pronouns that function as direct objects:

[[wikt:Nous nous sommes aimé(e) s.|Nous nous sommes aimé(e) s.]]We liked each other.

The reciprocal pronoun can also function as an indirect object without a direct object pronoun:

Nous nous sommes parlé.We spoke to each other.
Elles se sont téléphoné.They called to one another.
Vous vous êtes écrit souvent ?You write to each other often?

Naturally pronominal verbs[edit | edit source]

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

Tu te souviens ?You remember?

In perfect tenses, these verbs agree with the direct object if it goes before the verb; otherwise, the past participle agrees with the subject:

Elle s'est souvenue.She remembered.

Grammar review · Imparfait and passé composé [edit | edit source]

The imparfait is used for past habitual actions, to set the scene:

Quand j'etais petite, je jouais au foot.
C'etait samedi. La lune brillait.

The passé composé , as well as the passé simple , are used to express punctual actions:

Hier, j'ai joué à Colin Maillard. La lune a brillé pendant trois nuits.

This does not mean that the action had to happen over a very short time, but that it is understood as a single punctual event, now finished.

The imparfait will express a more general statement while the passé composé will express a more precise action:

Les singes criaient violemment lors de ma visite du zoo.When I visited the zoo, the monkeys were loud.
Lorsque je suis passé devant leur cage, les singes ont crié violemment.When I walked by their cage, the monkeys shouted violently.

Examples[edit | edit source]

J'ai parlé français. I spoke French (on one particular occasion).
Je parlais français. I used to speak French (during a period of time, and I don't speak French any more).
Nous avons réussi à l'examen. We passed the test.
Il a été mon ami. He was my friend (and he is not my friend any more)
Il était mon ami lorsque … He was my friend when …
Ils ont fait leurs devoirs. They did their homework.
Il est venu. He came (and I don't need to say when)
Il venait tous les jours. He came/used to come every day.
Il était déjà venu. He had already come.

Dialogue [edit | edit source]

Culture · Adolescence in France [edit | edit source]

Vocabulary [edit | edit source]

l'adolescent (m) About this sound /a.dɔ.le.sɑ̃/ teenager
le préadolescent About this sound /pre.a.dɔ.le.sɑ̃/ preteen
la paresse About this sound /pa.ʁɛs/ laziness C’est par paresse qu’il ne va jamais se promener. It's by laziness that he never goes for a walk.
faire l’école buissonnière About this sound /fɛʁ l‿e.kɔl bɥi.sɔ.njɛʁ/ skip classes
flâner avec les copains hang out with friends
le flic About this sound /flik/ cop
le policier
le gendarme
About this sound /pɔ.li.sjee/
About this sound /ʒɑ̃.daʁm/
police officer
le (petit) copain
le petit ami
About this sound /pə.ti kɔ.pɛ̃/
About this sound /pətitami/
la (petite) copine
la petite amie
About this sound /pə.tit kɔ.pin/
About this sound /pə.tit‿a.mi/
faire du shopping (France)
magasiner (Canada)

About this sound /ma.ɡ
do some shopping Ma femme aime bien magasiner, alors je dois lui donner un peu d'argent pour ça. My wife loves shopping, so I have to give her a bit of money for that.
le centre commercial (France)
le centre d'achats (Canada)
shopping mall
la puberté About this sound /py.bɛʁ.te/ puberty

Grammar · Plus-que-parfait [edit | edit source]

The plus-que-parfait is used when there are two occurrences in the past and one wants to symbolise that one occurrence happened before the other. In English, this is used in a phrase like I had given him the toy before he went to sleep. In this example, there are two past tenses, but they occur at different times. The plus-que-parfait can be used to indicate the occurrence of one before the other (essentially, the past before the past).

In French, the plus-que-parfait is formed by conjugating the auxiliary verb in the imparfait and adding the past participle. So to conjugate je mangeI eat in the plus-que-parfait , one finds the appropriate auxiliary verb (avoir ), conjugates it (avais ) and finds the past participle of mangermangé . So, the conjugation of Je mange in the plus-que-parfait becomes j'avais mangé or, in English, I had eaten.

Examples[edit | edit source]

À ce moment, j'ai mangé le pain que tu m'avais donné. At that moment, I ate the bread that you had given me.
Tu m'avais déjà appelé, lorsque je suis parti. When I left, you had already called me.

Vocabulary · Dates [edit | edit source]

Text [edit | edit source]

Exercises [edit | edit source]