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State-of-being verbs have various names* but no action. These verbs create a link between their subject and a noun or adjective that describes or defines it.
|Je suis médicin.||I’m a doctor.|
|Océane semble triste.||Océane seems sad.|
State-of-being verbs never have direct objects. Any noun that directly follows the verb is something called a "subject complement": a word that can basically replace the subject because they are one and the same.
You can always recognize a state-of-being verb by the fact that it can be replaced by "be" – the meaning might change slightly, but the essence is the same and the sentence is grammatical.
|Il paraît heureux.|
Il est heureux.
|He seems happy.|
(He is happy.)
|Le temps s’annonce orageux.|
Le temps fait orageux.
|The weather looks stormy.|
(The weather is stormy.)
State-of-being verbs can introduce
- feelings and moods
- states of being (changing, temporary, or permanent)
French State-of-Being Verbs
Here are the most common French state-of-being verbs with links to conjugations.
|s’affirmer (comme)||to assert oneself (as)|
|s’annoncer||to look, shape up (to be)|
|apparaître||to appear, seem|
|s’appeler||to be called/named|
|s’avérer||to turn out (to be)|
|avoir l’air||to seem|
|composer||to make up, form|
|consister en||to consist of, be made up of|
|constituer||to constitute, make up|
|être considéré comme||to be considered|
|se faire||to get, become|
|former||to form, make up|
|se montrer||to show/prove oneself to be|
|passer pour||to pass for, be regarded as|
|redevenir||to become again|
|représenter||to depict, portray|
|rester + adjective||to stay|
|se révéler||to reveal / show oneself|
|se sentir||to feel|
|servir de||to act / serve as|
|tomber + adjective||to fall / get|
|se trouver||to find oneself|
Note that some of these are only part-time state-of-being verbs, depending on how they’re used.
|Il est tombé malade.||He got sick.||(state-of-being verb)|
|Il est tombé par terre.||He fell on the ground.||(action verb)|
* Other names for state-of-being verbs:
|un verbe copulatif||copular verb|
|un verbe de liaison||linking verb|
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