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Complete post:

Nov

14

2013

«Il m'a emmené faire une petite promenade en vélo… »

«He brought me on a little cycling trip…»

A listener asked about this sentence, from our lesson 65 ("I'm so stiff today!…")

  • 1. Il m'a emmené faire une petite promenade en vélo…

Specifically, our listener wondered why the auxiliary verb avoir (–> a emmené) was used. After all, in sentences like:

  • 2. Je me suis levé à 7 heures ce matin.(I got up at 7 o'clock this morning.)

… the auxiliary verb être is used.

The answer… In example 1 above, the m' is an object pronoun (technically called the complément d'objet direct in the sentence. ('He' – the subject – brought 'me' – the object – on a cycling trip.) In this situation, the auxiliary verb avoir is used to form the passé composé of emmener ('to bring').

On the other hand…

In example 2, the word me is a reflexive subject pronoun (un pronom réfléchi). It refers to the subject of the sentence –> Je. This situation requires the use of être as auxiliary verb. Similarly, we have…

  • Je me suis réveilléI woke…
  • Je me suis lavéI washed…
  • Je me suis douchéI showered…

There's a lot more to the story of auxiliary verbs and the passé composé but, in the cases of the examples above, avoir is used where we have a subject–verb–direct object pattern whereas in example 2, a reflexive pronoun necessitates the use of être as auxiliary verb.

You'll find numerous uses of both types of auxiliary verb throughout our lessons.

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