Are there a set number of reflexive verbs, or can you make almost any verb reflexive?

Claudia A2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Are there a set number of reflexive verbs, or can you make almost any verb reflexive?

Asked 5 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

There are verbs which you will almost exclusively use in a reflexive context. Other's may be used either reflexively or not, such as, e.g.:

J'appelle le chien. -- I'm calling the dog.
Je m'appelle Chris. -- My name is Chris.

Il arrête le moteur. -- He stops the engine.
Il s'arrête devant une vitrine. -- He stops (himself) in front of a shop window.

Marie attend son mari. -- Marie is waiting for her husband.
Marie s'attend à ce que son mari ne vienne plus. -- Marie expects that her husband won't come anymore.

Reflexive just means that the object and the subject of a verb are the same, meaning that the verb's action is performed on the subject itself. In this sense, you can make most verbs reflexive. In English one would often use "each other" or "oneself" in such a context.

Toi et moi nous parlons à notre professeur. -- You and I speak to our professor.
Il faut que nous nous parlions. -- We need to speak to each other.

I hope that helps to clarify matters somewhat.

 

CécileKwiziq team member

Hi Claudia, 

Just to add to Chris' excellent answer, not many verbs are exclusively reflexive but 'laver' isn't one of them as you can wash your car,

(laver sa voiture).

The ones I found are:

s'envoler to fly away (bird)/to take-off ( plane)

S'évanouir = to faint

Se méfier = to mistrust

Se souvenir to remember 

But most will have a version that is not reflexive.

hope this helps!

Are there a set number of reflexive verbs, or can you make almost any verb reflexive?

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