Agreement with Subjects

Accord avec sujets

French verb constructions which include any form of être plus a past participle usually require grammatical agreement of the past participle with the subject, and this agreement is made the same way that regular adjectives are made to agree with their nouns:

  • add e for a feminine subject
  • add s for a plural subject
  • add es for a feminine plural subject

There are four verb constructions which require agreement with the subject.

1) Passive voice

Agreement is always required between the subject and past participle in the passive voice, in all tenses and moods.

La machine est réparée par mon frère.   The machine is repaired by my brother.
Les voleurs étaient recherchés par la police.   The thieves were wanted by the police.
Cette idée serait appréciée de tout le monde.   This idea would be appreciated by everyone.

2) Compound verb forms

Agreement is required with all compound verb tenses and moods (e.g., passé composé, conditional perfect) when the auxiliary verb is être.

Nous y sommes allés ensemble.   We went together.
Elle était rentrée à midi.   She had come home at midnight.
Ils seraient tombés.   They would have fallen.

When the auxiliary verb is avoir, there is no agreement with the subject.* There may, however, be agreement with the direct object.

* Except with verbs of perception.

3) Pronominal verbs

Agreement is required with pronominal verbs in compound tenses and moods when the reflexive pronoun is a direct object; when it’s an indirect object, there is no agreement – learn more.

 4) Verbs of perception

Even though they’re conjugated with avoir, verbs of perception also require agreement with their subjects.

 Related lessons

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French agreement
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