Construction causative réfléchie
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Constructing the reflexive causative
The French reflexive causative is formed with two or three components:
The reflexive causative can indicate that the subject chooses to have something done to himself.
|Il se fait raser régulièrement.||He gets shaved regularly.|
|Je me suis fait réveiller à 8h.||I got woken up at 8am.|
|Nous voulons nous faire faire* des robes.||We want to have some dresses made.|
*Yes, this is correct. See the note toward the end of the causative lesson.
Accidental / passive event
The reflexive causative can also state that something happens to the subject due to carelessness or some event out of the subject’s control.
|Tu te fais toujours avoir.||You’re always getting fooled.|
|Il s’est fait virer.||He got fired.|
|Attention, vous allez vous faire tuer !||Be careful, you’re going to get yourselves killed!|
There may be a direct object.
|Il se fait raser la tête.||He gets his head shaved.|
|Je me suis fait couper les cheveux.||I got my hair cut.|
|Vas-tu te faire faire un gâteau ?||Are you going to get a cake made for yourself?|
In terms of accidental/passive events, what’s the difference? The choice of the reflexive causative over the passive voice implies that the subject had something to do with what happened to him – it probably wasn’t a complete accident.
|Il s’est fait tuer.||He got (himself) killed.|
|Il a été tué.||He got/was killed.|
In the first example, the reflexive causative implies that the subject did something reckless and was killed, while in the second, the passive voice gives no indication as to whether the subject did anything wrong.
- Introduction to the causative
- Se faire – Reflexive causative
- Direct objects and agreement with the causative