Voice

French voice
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La voix

Voice is a grammatical term related to verb conjugation. The voice of a verb form expresses the relationship between that verb and its subject: whether it is active, passive, or pronominal (reflexive).

Voix active | Active voice

The default voice is active and indicates that the subject does something. You use the active voice every day and you don’t even think about it.

Le chat voit la souris.   The cat sees the mouse.
Un bruit a réveillé mes enfants.   A noise woke up my children.
Je parle français.   I speak French.

Voix passive | Passive voice

In the passive voice, something is done to the subject. English speakers are told to avoid it as much as possible.

La souris est vue par le chat.   The mouse is seen by the cat.
Mes enfants ont été réveillés par un bruit.   My children were woken up by a noise.
Le français est parlé sur cinq continents.   French is spoken on five continents.

Voix pronominale | Pronominal voice

The pronominal voice expresses that the subject does something to itself. It’s much more common in French than in English.

Le chat et la souris se voient.   The cat and mouse see each other.
Mes enfants se sont réveillés à 8h.   My children woke up at 8am.
Le français se parle ici.   French is spoken here, We speak French.

 The pronominal voice is sometimes erroneously called the reflexive voice, but reflexive verbs are in fact just one of three types of pronominal verbs.

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French verbal voice

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