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French Reflexive Verbs

Rise and Shine! Everyone has to get up in the morning and get their day started. What time do you get up? A quel heure reveillez vous?. (ah kell uhr ruh vay yay voo)

We are once again talking about the reflexive verb, because the French wake themselves up. Just as in "my name is" really translates to "I call myself", the French say "Je me leve a sept heures." ( je me lev ah set uhr) "I get up at seven o'clock." Since you already know how to say "My name is", "Your name is", etc., you can now use the same rules to say "I get up", "You get up", etc. Compare them:

Je m'appelle Marie Je me leve a sept heures
Tu t'appelles Marie Tu te leves a huit heures
Elle s'appelle Marie Elle se leve a six heures
Il s'appelle Francois Il se leve a neuf heures
Nous nous appellons Dubois Nous nous levons a onze heures (Nous sommes en vacances!- We are on vacation!)
Vous vous appellez Mme. Dubois Vous vous levez a sept heures et demi
Ils s'appellent Dubois Ils se levent a six heures et demis

We snuck a little something in there, didn't we? Well, not everyone gets up on the hour. We might get up at half past, a quarter after, ten before. Let's have a look at telling the time.

The French use the 24 hour clock, especially for train departures, appointments and the like. They may use the 12 hour clock, but they would usually be specific and say "two in the afternoon". If you look at the number table in the previous chapter, you will be able to ask what time it is and also tell people what time it is. We say "Quelle heure est'il?" (kell uhr ay teal) and "Il est___heures." (eel ay___ uhr). Easy right?

Il est une heure, Il est deux heures, Il est tres heures and so on. If everyone would only be so kind as to ask us the time on the exact hour, we would have no problem.

However, we have to be able to add fifteen minutes, a half hour or forty minutes. As you see in the table above, 7:30 is "Sept heures et demi" (set uhr ay demi). Here are some others, and as you plug in the numbers you have learned, you can have an infinite variety of times to talk about.

8:15-Huit heures quinze
10:25-Dix heures vingt cinq
6:35-Six heures trente cinq

Wait, we said 6:30 was "six heures et demi". The half hour can be expressed as thirty or as "half". Fifteen minutes can likewise be expressed as "quinze" or "le quart" (luh car).

Well, now that we are up, we have to use a lot more reflexive verbs to get ready. In French, you use the reflexive verb to do most things for yourself.

I wash my face Je me lave le visage Juh muh lahv luh vee sahge
I brush my teeth Je me brosse les dents Juh muh bross lay don
I shave Je me rase Juh me roz

Using the infinitives of each of these verbs, try to substitute you, s/he for each of the expressions above:

Wash-"laver"; brush-"brosser"; shave-"raser". You will have to look back at the endings for the "er" verbs, but this is how you will build your knowledge, since each chapter is building upon information found in a previous chapter.

What Did We Learn?

  1. I get up at seven thirty: Je me leve a __________.
  2. My daughter's name is Marie. She gets up at eight o'clock. Ma fille _______ Marie. Elle se leve a __________.
  3. What time is it? It is twenty past nine. Quelle heure est'il? Il est___________.
  4. Say out the following times: 8:15-________________, 10:25-_______________6:35-__________________________.
  5. I wash my face at 8:00.____________________________________________.
  6. I brush my teeth at 8:30.___________________________________________.
  7. He shaves at 7:15.________________________________________________.
  8. My brother and I, we get up at 6:15. Mon frere et moi, nous nous______a_____.
  9. She gets up early. Elle __________ tot.
  10. I get up at 7:15; it is now (maintenant) 8:15. ___________________________.


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