Reciprocal Verbs

Verbes pronominaux réciproques

French reciprocal verbs
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Reciprocal verbs are a type of pronominal verb, meaning they have both a subject pronoun and a reflexive pronoun. In the case of reciprocal verbs, the reflexive pronoun indicates that the action of the verb is exchanged between two or more subjects acting upon one another.

Par exemple…

Ils s’aiment.   They love each other.
Nous nous connaissons.   We know each other.
Vous vous parlez souvent ?   Do you talk to each other often?

Most common French reciprocal verbs

s’adorer   to adore each other
s’aimer   to love each other
s’apercevoir   to see each other
s’appeler   to call each other
se battre   to fight with each other
se chercher   to look for each other
se comprendre   to understand each other
se connaĂ®tre   to know each other
se croiser   to cross, pass each other
se dĂ©tester   to hate each other
se dire   to tell each other
se disputer   to argue with each other
s’Ă©crire   to write to each other
s’embrasser   to kiss each other
s’entendre   to get along, agree with each other
se nuire   to harm each other
se parler   to talk to each other
se promettre   to promise each other
se quereller   to quarrel with each other
se quitter   to leave each other
se regarder   to look at each other
se rencontrer   to meet each other
se sourire   to smile at each other
se suffire   to suffice, be enough for each other
se tĂ©lĂ©phoner   to call each other
se voir   to see each other

 Note that most of these verbs can also be reflexive. To stress the reciprocal nature of the verb, you can include something like

  • l’un l’autre – each other
  • mutuellement – mutually
  • rĂ©ciproquement – reciprocally
  • entre nous/vous/eux – between us/you/them

All of the above verbs require a reflexive pronoun when they indicate that the subjects are acting upon each other. But remember than they can also be used non-reflexively, to express the verb’s action directed at someone or something else (or nothing, in the case of intransitive verbs).

 En comparaison…

Ils se regardent.   Ils regardent la tĂ©lĂ©.
They’re looking at each other.   They’re looking at the TV.
     
Vous vous souriez.   Vous souriez.
You’re smiling at each other.   You’re smiling.

 Reciprocal verbs are just one type of pronominal verb. See the main lesson on pronominal verbs for details on using reciprocal verbs in different tenses and moods.

 Related lessons

Learn Spanish En español

Learn Italian In italiano

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French reciprocal verbs

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