Apprendre la Langue Française (Part 92): le ordre mot avec les verbes pronominal


Where to put the reflexive pronoun with negation and questions

Placement of the reflexive pronoun is exactly the same as for object pronouns and adverbial pronouns: the pronoun directly precedes the verb in all tenses and moods*

Je m’habille. I’m getting dressed.
Tu te reposeras. You will rest.
Il se levait quand… He was getting up when…

*Except the affirmative imperative, when it follows the verb, attached by a hyphen:

Repose-toi ! Rest!
Habillons-nous. Let’s get dressed.

Pronominal verbs in the negative
With negation, ne precedes the reflexive pronoun:

Je ne m’habille pas. I’m not getting dressed.
Tu ne te reposes jamais. You never rest.

Pronominal verbs in the interrogative
Questions with pronominal verbs are usually asked with est-ce que and the reflexive pronoun once again stays directly in front of the verb. If you use inversion, the reflexive pronoun precedes the inverted subject-verb:

Est-ce qu’il se rase ? Se rase-t-il ? Is he shaving?
Est-ce que tu te laves les mains ? Te laves-tu les mains ? Are you washing your hands?

Pronominal verbs in the negative interrogative
To ask a negative question with pronominal verbs, you pretty much have to use inversion. The reflexive pronoun stays directly in front of the inverted subject-verb, and the negative structure surrounds that whole group:

Ne se rase-t-il pas ? Isn’t he shaving?
Ne te laves-tu jamais les mains ? Don’t you ever wash your hands?


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