approcher / s'approcher

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by Medman, Feb 7, 2007.

  1. Medman New Member

    English, UK
    Which is correct?

    Nous approchons du but ,ou nous nous approchons du but

    Au fur et a mesure que la seance approche, ou que la seance s'approche

    If they are all correct but with differences of meaning, please expain.


    Moderator note: multiple threads merged to create this one
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2013
  2. aliday Junior Member

    Anglais, Canada
    je m'approche du but

    i am reaching the goal myself.. i think you would use the reflexive verb in this case

    approcher is correct but when you are talking about yourself/ourselves/themselves you use the reflexive verb.

    we are reaching the goal ourselves

    et pour l'autre je dirais - la seance approche

    i am confusing myself here!
  3. ForzaMilan Senior Member

    When is the proper time to use the two. I'm not quite clear on that.

    Is approcher used more to signify time approaching or an object?

    L'heure approche.

    Is s'approcher used for a person approaching, for example, Il s'approche????

    Your help is greatly appreciated.
  4. BMR

    BMR Senior Member

    S'approcher is the reflexive form. It's not specific to "person".
    Example :
    Le bateau s'approchait trop vite du quai.

    Approcher is the non-reflexive form.
    It's not specific to "objects".
    Example :
    J'approche du moment où je vais enfin comprendre quelque chose.

    I think the reflexive form (s'approcher) translate more the idea of movement between the person (or the object) and the goal :
    Je m'approche du but.
  5. ForzaMilan Senior Member

    So the elections are approaching would be " Les elections approchent?
  6. distille Senior Member

    France, french
  7. BMR

    BMR Senior Member

    Les élections approchent = les élections s'approchent.
    But the reflexive form (les élections s'approchent) sounds weird because "les élections" don't move ! That's us (or the time line) which are moving toward, not the elections.
    The reflexive form is more emphatic on the idea of moving.
    So, in my opinion :
    Les élections approchent = nous nous approchons des élections.
  8. bonjourparis Junior Member

    What's the difference of usage between qn approcher de qch and qn s'approcher de qch?

    Elle approche du bassin.
    Elle s'approche du bassin.
  9. chogall Senior Member

    In that particular context, the first one is not really correct, you wouldn't say it. Whereas the second one yes.

    The difference is the s' which stands for "oneself" if you want : Elle s'approche du bassin (= She is getting (herself) closer to the pool).
    And it really emphasizes the action of someone getting closer to an object or a person.

    You would use "approcher" without the s' in a more general context: Il faut oser approcher les clients. (= One should dare approach customers)

    It's not that easy to explain though. If someone has a better way to say it...

    Hope it helps.
  10. Moon Palace

    Moon Palace Senior Member

    There is actually no real difference, except that the first use is no longer commonplace, and rather found in literary texts. Nothing wrong with it though.
  11. bonjourparis Junior Member

    Thanks for the explanation. That's true, I found the first sentence in a book.
    I think in dialy communication, the second version is much preferred.
  12. Mauricet Senior Member

    near Grenoble
    French - France
    As I understand them, approcher is more objective and s'approcher is more intentional. A very tiny difference though.

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