Freeform Writing Exercise B1
In “Je me suis fait une promesse”, ‘fait’ doesn’t agree with its subject because, in this instance, it is part of French verbs which are occasionally pronominal. As such it follows the same rule of agreement that is used for Le Passé Composé with ‘avoir’: agreement if the verb is preceded by a direct object.
To find it out you need to do the following: is there a direct object (which can be the reflexive pronoun or something else)? And ask the usual question: verb + qui? or verb + quoi? Is it before or after the verb?
- agreement if direct object and reflexive pronoun match one another
Elles se sont insultées = they insulted each otherinsulter qui? → se = reflexive pronoun → in French before the verb = agreementinsulted who? → each other = se → In French before the verb = agreement
- no agreement if direct object and reflexive pronoun don’t match
Elle s’est fixé des objectifs = she set herself some objectivesfixer quoi? → des objectifs → in French after the verb = no agreementset what? → some objectives → in French after the verb = no agreement
Je me suis fait une promesse = I made myself one promisefaire quoi? → une promesse → in French after the verb = no agreementmake what? → one promise → in French after the verb = no agreement
I hope this is helpful.
Assuming there isn't a typo here, I think this is because «je me suis fait..» is considered to be in the causative, and in that case the past participle «fait» is invariable. Hence the gender of «l'astronaute» (masc. and fem. noun) does not affect this. (The gender of the writer doesn't affect the translation anywhere that I can see)
Happy to be corrected if I have the explanation wrong !
On review, the reason for non-agreement may be 'easier' than that. If there is a direct object following reflexive verbs (se faire), there is no agreement of the past participle, following the same rules as passé composé conjugations with avoir. See part C on this link (Alan posted a general link in another discussion previously) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_verbs#Past_participle_agreement
Céline - that is the best discussion with examples that I have seen on this topic. It should all be incorporated into releveant lessons or at least linked from them.
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