FR: nous nous appelons

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by ksbrandr, Sep 21, 2007.

  1. ksbrandr New Member

    Canada and English
    Why, if using an "er" verb in the present tense, do we use "nous" twice (nous nous)? For example, "nous nous appelons".
  2. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    It's not for all verbs in -er! It's for the reflexive verbs.

    The verb appeller (to be called) is special, because it's pronominal (s'appeller). It's always used together with a reflexive pronoun. So you can have two pronouns next to it, one standing for the subject, and the other being the reflexive:

    Je m'appelle.
    Tu t'appeles.
    Il s'appelle.
    In the case of the 1st and 2nd persons plural, the reflexive just happens to be identical to the subjective pronoun:

    Nous nous appellons
    Vous vous appellez
    Ils s'appellent​
  3. ksbrandr New Member

    Canada and English
    Thank you very much. Very informative.
    Yet, I must ask: What is a reflexive verb?

  4. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    In the most general sense of the term, a reflexive verb is any verb which is used along with a reflexive pronoun. In English, the reflexive pronouns are myself, yourself, himself, etc. In French, they are me, te, se, etc.

    In a more strict sense, a verb or pronoun is reflexive when the action described by them is performed by the subject upon itself. For example, Je me lave les mains, "I'm washing my hands" (my own hands).
  5. ksbrandr New Member

    Canada and English

    Say, we use "se laver", I would write "Je me lave", right? What if I were to use "Ils"? Would it be "Ils sont lavent"?
  6. c_bli New Member

    Français, Canada
    It would be "ils se lavent" or "ils se sont lavé" if you use the passé composé.
  7. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
  8. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    Welcome, ksbrander! :)

    First off, the verb appeler exists. It means "to call." You can see its conjugations here. (Note that there is only one "L" in the nous form).
    Ex. Nous appelons ça une hypothèse = We call that a hypothesis.

    You can think of s'appeler as a different verb. It means "to called oneself" or in more natural English, "to be named/called." You can see its conjugations here. As people explained to you, this is a reflexive verb. You can read more about reflexive and pronominal verbs here (click through the links on that page for more detail).
    Ex. Nous nous appelons les frères Dupont = We call ourselves the Dupont brothers = We are (called) the Dupont brothers = Our name is the Dupont brothers.

    There is one final possibility. If you wanted to say, "We call each other often (on the telephone)." that would be Nous nous appelons souvent (au téléphone). Actually, you'd really be saying "We call us..." and the first nous is the "we" while the second nous is the direct object pronoun "us." You can read more about direct object pronouns here.

    I hope that helps! :)

    PS. I transferred your new question to a new thread (as per rule 10). You can find it in your subscriptions list.

    Member and moderator

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