Reflexive Verbs

Verbes pronominaux réfléchis

Elle se regarde - French reflexive verb
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Reflexive verbs are the most common type of pronominal verb. Here, the reflexive pronoun indicates that the subject of the verb is performing the action on him/her/itself, rather than on someone or something else. The majority of reflexive verbs have to do with one’s body, clothing, relationships, or state of mind.

Par exemple…

Elle se regarde dans la glace.   She’s looking at herself in the mirror.
Je me couche Ă  minuit.   I go to bed at midnight.
Tu t’habilles trop lentement.   You’re dressing too slowly.

Most common French reflexive verbs

s’adjoindre   to take on, appoint
s’adresser Ă    to address, speak to
s’apprĂȘter   to get ready
s’approcher de   to approach
s’arrĂȘter   to stop oneself
s’asseoir   to sit down
se baigner   to bathe, swim
se brosser (les cheveux, les dents)   to brush (one’s hair, one’s teeth)
se casser (la jambe, le bras)   to break (one’s leg, one’s arm)
se coiffer   to fix one’s hair
se coucher   to go to bed
se couper   to cut oneself, to cut (something) for oneself
se dĂ©pĂȘcher   to hurry
se dĂ©shabiller   to get undressed
se disperser   to disperse, break up (a meeting, group)
se doucher   to take a shower
s’effrayer   to be frightened
s’Ă©loigner   to move (oneself) away
s’endormir   to fall asleep
s’Ă©nerver   to get annoyed
s’enrhumer   to catch a cold
se fĂącher   to get angry
se faire (un cafĂ©, un sandwich…)   to make (a coffee, sandwich…) for oneself
se fatiguer   to get tired
se fier   to trust
s’habiller   to get dressed
s’habituer Ă    to get used to
s’imaginer   to imagine
s’informer   to ask, find out; to inform oneself
s’inquiĂ©ter   to worry
s’inscrire   to enroll, register
s’intĂ©resser Ă    to be interested in
se laver (les mains, la figure)   to wash oneself (one’s hands, face)
se lever   to get up
se maquiller   to put on makeup
se marier (avec)   to get married (to)
se moucher   to blow one’s nose
se noyer   to drown
se nuire   to harm oneself
se peigner   to comb one’s hair
se prĂ©cipiter   to rush, quicken; to hurl oneself, jump
se promener   to take a walk
se raser   to shave
se rassembler   to gather, assemble (as a group)
se refroidir   to cool down, get cold
se rĂ©galer   to enjoy oneself, have a delicious meal
se regarder   to look at oneself
se relaxer   to relax
se reposer   to rest
se rĂ©server   to keep for oneself
se rĂ©veiller   to wake up
se soĂ»ler   to get drunk
se sourire   to smile at/to oneself
se suffire   to be self-sufficient
se suicider   to commit suicide
se taire   to be quiet

 Note that many of these verbs can also be reciprocal.

All of the above verbs require a reflexive pronoun when they indicate that the subject is doing something to itself. But they can also be used non-reflexively, indicating that the action of the verb is directed at someone or something else.

  En comparaison…

Je me réveille à 6h00. vs Je la réveille à 6h00.
I wake up at 6am.
  I wake her up at 6am.
Il se rase le menton. vs Il rase le menton de son fils.
He’s shaving his (own) chin.   He’s shaving his son’s chin.

  When talking about parts of the body, the reflexive pronoun and a definite article indicate the owner of that part of the body, rather than the possessive adjective that is used in English.

Par exemple…

Je me lave le visage.   Je lave mon visage.
I’m washing my face.
Il se brosse les cheveux.   Il brosse ses cheveux.
He’s brushing his hair.    

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

 Related lessons

French lesson plans French lesson plan

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French reflexive verbs

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