Using reflexive pronouns to express 'each other'

Look how to express reciprocity in French:

Nous nous aimons tellement.
We love each other so much.

Vous vous envoyez des cartes de Noël tous les ans.
You send Christmas cards to each other every year.

Elles se font complètement confiance.
They trust each other completely.

Les deux chiens se fixèrent avec méfiance.
The two dogs stared at each other suspiciously.

Bien sûr qu'on se déteste!
Of course we hate each other!

 

Note that in French to express reciprocity (each other), you use the same reflexive pronouns se/nous/vous as to say themselves, ourselves, yourselves.

Therefore, in most cases, it's the context which will determine which kind of reflexives it is:

Les garçons se sont mordus.
The boys bit each other.
The boys bit themselves.


In some specific cases, it can even change the meaning altogether:

E.g. s'entendre (reciprocity)  =  to hear each other       

VS   s'entendre (reflexive verb)   =  to get along

Ils ne s'entendent pas avec cette musique assourdissante!
They don't hear each other with that deafening music!

Mes frères s'entendent très bien !
My brothers get along very well !

  

REMEMBER that reflexive verbs take être in compound tenses!  

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Ils ne s'entendent pas avec cette musique assourdissante!
They don't hear each other with that deafening music!


Vous vous envoyez des cartes de Noël tous les ans.
You send Christmas cards to each other every year.


Mes frères s'entendent très bien !
My brothers get along very well !


Les garçons se sont mordus.
The boys bit each other.
The boys bit themselves.


Bien sûr qu'on se déteste!
Of course we hate each other!


Nous nous aimons tellement.
We love each other so much.


Elles se font complètement confiance.
They trust each other completely.


Les deux chiens se fixèrent avec méfiance.
The two dogs stared at each other suspiciously.


Q&A Forum 6 questions, 6 answers

I'm confused.

The correct kwiz answers indicate "Bien sûr qu'on se déteste!" translates to both "Of course we hate each other!" and "Of course we hate ourselves!"

These English translations have different meanings -- i.e., "I hate you and you hate me" versus "I hate myself and you hate yourself."

My question:  does the French sentence also imply these two distinctly different meanings?

Asked 2 months ago

The French sentence encompasses both of those very different meanings. You need context (and common sense, sometimes) to distinguish between them.

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Ils se font face - could you also say: ils font face l'un à l'autre?

Asked 3 months ago

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Reflexive verbs

The question was:

Et vous ________ à une soirée.And you met each other at a party.HINT: rencontrer = to meet 

The answer given was vous vous êtes rencontrés however is vous vous êtes rencontréenot also a possible answer?

Asked 10 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi William,

If the people involved are all female it would be "Vous vous êtes rencontrées".

If it is a collection of male and female it will be "Vous vous êtes rencontrés"

Thank you

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S'entendre

The example given - Mes frères s'entendent très bien ! translated to my brothers get along well. Can it also mean 'my brothers hear each. Other well?´
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Meghna ! Yes, without a clear context, it could mean either of these :) Bonne journée !

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Une question

C'est juste si je dis: Bien sûr qu'on se déteste, mais on s'aime aussi.
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Loretta ! Yes, your sentence is correct, to say "Of course we hate each other, but we also love each other." Bonne journée !

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AurélieKwiziq language super star

D. asked: "In what context "His parents kissed themselves?" would be correct?"

Asked 9 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Dear D., Just like in English, I can't think of ordinary situations in which "His parents kissed themselves" would be used, but let's imagine they're under a spell, and start kissing themselves frantically ;) The fact is that without a clear context, the French sentence "Ses parents se sont embrassés" would be the way to express this idea, as well as it could also mean "His parents kissed each other", we agree a more common occurrence :) I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !

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