When do you need to agree the past participle when using the passé composé?

  • Google+ icon
  • LinkedIn icon
  • 416 views

Participles are tricky little things, but when it comes to agreeing them, all you've got to do is learn the rules – there aren't any pesky exceptions!

Participles agree in gender and number. To form the plural, add an -s; to form the feminine, add an -e. (To form the pl. fem., add an -es.)

1. Agrees with subject – after auxiliary être

• When the participle is used with the auxiliary être, the participle automatically agrees with the subject.

Thus: She fell out of the tree – Elle est tombée de l'arbre or We arrived on time – Nous sommes arrivés (ou arrivées) à l'heure

2. Agrees with object – when object precedes participle

• This is where it gets complicated. Basically, in phrases such as Il l'a choisil' is a pronoun which replaces the object and the object therefore comes before the participle in the sentence. When this is the case, the participle agrees with it.

Thus: She saved them – Elle les a sauvés (ou sauvées) or We ate them (say, the peaches) – Nous les avons mangées (les pêches).

I hope this clears some things up – now get practising!

Rebecca B. GCSE English Literature tutor, A Level French tutor, 13 Pl...

About the author

is an online A Level French tutor with MyTutor studying at Oxford, Pembroke College University

Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist.

95% of our customers rate us

Browse tutors

We use cookies to improve your site experience. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss

mtw:mercury1:status:ok