Use of être/avoir for non-reflexive verbs that use reflexive pronouns

JohnC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Use of être/avoir for non-reflexive verbs that use reflexive pronouns

Do non-reflexive verbs used in the past tense with a reflexive pronoun use être or avoir?

For example, if the above sentence "Les deux chiens se fixèrent avec méfiance" is put in the past tense, do we use être with the verb "fixer" (-->"Les deux chiens se sont fixées avec méfiance")?

Or, am I asking the wrong question? In other words, in French perhaps there is no such thing as verbs that are "non-reflexive." Instead, is it that case that any verb used with a reflexive pronoun automatically becomes a reflexive verb, which means the rule regarding use of être in forming the past tense applies?

Asked 1 week ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi John,

If I have understood your question correctly, the verb 'se fixer' is reflexive, so it will use the auxiliary verb 'être'. Here, it conveys a reciprocal action.

But if you used the verb 'fixer' on its own , it would use 'avoir' in the past tense -

La dame m'a fixé/e avec un air de méfiance The lady stared at me , with a look of mistrust

Hope this helps!

Use of être/avoir for non-reflexive verbs that use reflexive pronouns

Do non-reflexive verbs used in the past tense with a reflexive pronoun use être or avoir?

For example, if the above sentence "Les deux chiens se fixèrent avec méfiance" is put in the past tense, do we use être with the verb "fixer" (-->"Les deux chiens se sont fixées avec méfiance")?

Or, am I asking the wrong question? In other words, in French perhaps there is no such thing as verbs that are "non-reflexive." Instead, is it that case that any verb used with a reflexive pronoun automatically becomes a reflexive verb, which means the rule regarding use of être in forming the past tense applies?

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