French Grammar: Reciprocal Reflexive Verbs


French Grammar: Reciprocal Reflexive Verbs
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French Grammar: Reciprocal Reflexive Verbs
la grammaire française: les verbes réfléchis réciproques

Reciprocal Reflexive Verbs in French help us identify actions done by two or more people – to each other!


Reciprocal Reflexive Verbs in French help us identify actions done by two or more people – to each other!

Reciprocal Reflexive Verbs are a certain kind of Reflexive Verb in French. Be sure to review the lesson on Reflexive Verbs first before moving on to this lesson!

French Reciprocal Reflexive Verbs take the exact same pronouns as other French reflexive verbs.  BUT, Reciprocal Reflexive Verbs are ONLY used in the plural – because the action always involves more than one person/subject.

Remember! The Reciprocal Reflexive Pronoun MUST match the subject(s) involved!

NOUS : ourselves/each other
VOUS : yourselves/each other
SE (or S’) : themselves/each other

Note that the pronoun SE becomes S’ before any verb that starts with a vowel (such as s’acheter and s’écrire).

Once you understand how to use Reflexive Verbs in French, learning how to use Reciprocal Reflexive Verbs is really easy!  Just use the reflexive/reciprocal pronoun in front of the verb (action) that you want to express is mutual. Rule of thumb: If you would use the phrase ‘each other’ in English, then you’ll use a Reciprocal Reflexive Verb in French!

Like Reflexive Verbs, a Reciprocal Reflexive Verb is identified by the reflexive pronoun SE that precedes it in its infinitive form.  Here are some common French Reciprocal Reflexive Verbs:

s’acheter : to buy (something for) each other
s’adorer : to adore each other
s’aider : to help each other
s’aimer : to love each other
se comprendre : to understand each other
se connaître : to know each other
se détester : to hate each other
se dire : to tell/say to each other
s’écrire : to write to each other
s’envoyer (des courriels) : to send each other (emails)
se mentir : to lie to each other
se parler : to speak/talk to each other
se plaire : to like each other
se poser des questions : to ask each other questions
se promettre : to promise each other
se regarder : to look at each other
se rencontrer : to meet / to run into each other
se ressembler : to look like each other
se téléphoner : to phone/call each other
se voir : to see each other

See the ADAPT section for more examples!


Jacques et Marie se regardent.
James and Marie are looking at each other.

Les étudiants s’aident beaucoup.
The students help each other a lot.

Lucie et moi, nous nous voyons souvent.
Lucie and I see each other often.

Vous vous connaissez?
Do you all know each other?