Toolbox | Trousse


Verbs | Les verbes

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs | Les verbes transitifs et intransitifs




Transitive verbs | Les verbes transitifs


Transitive verbs:

  • have a direct object

  • typically use avoir as an auxiliary verb


Since transitive verbs usually use the auxiliary avoir and have a direct object, the past participle may or may not agree in gender (masculine or feminine) and number (singular or plural).


If the direct object precedes the verb the past participle must agree in gender and number with the direct object.


Examples | Les exemples


 

Compound Verb

With Avoir
Auxiliary

Direct Object
Pierrette a trouvé ses mitaines dans ses poches. | Pierrette found her mittens in her pockets.


To locate the direct object ask: a trouvé qui or quoi?

The direct object in this sentence is ‘ses mitaines’ (feminine, plural).

Because the direct object is placed after the compound verb ‘a sorti’, the past participle ‘sorti’ does not agree with the direct object.



Direct Object

Compound Verb

With Avoir
Auxiliary

Les mitaines que Pierrette a trouvées dans ses poches sont bleues. | The mittens that Pierrette found in her pockets are blue.

 To locate the direct object ask: a trouvées qui or quoi?
The direct object in this sentence is ‘Les mitaines’ (feminine, plural).
Because the direct object is placed before the compound verb ‘a trouvées’, the past participle ‘trouvées agrees in gender and number with the direct object (in this case feminine, plural).

 

Compound Verb

With Avoir
Auxiliary

Direct Object
Pierre-Oh a mangé la pomme. | Pierre-Oh ate the apple.


To locate the direct object ask: a mangé qui or quoi?

The direct object in this sentence is ‘la pomme’ (feminine singular).

Because the direct object is placed after the compound verb ‘a mangé’, the past participle ‘mangé’ does not agree with the direct object.




Direct Object

Compound Verb

With Avoir
Auxiliary

La pomme que Pierre-Oh a mangée est délicieuse. | The apple that Pierre-Oh ate is delicious.


To locate the direct object ask: a mangée qui or quoi?

The direct object in this sentence is ‘La pomme’ (feminine, singular).

Because the direct object is placed before the compound verb ‘a mangée’, the past participle ‘mangée agrees in gender and number with the direct object (in this case feminine, singular).



Intransitive verbs | Les verbes intransitifs


Intransitive verbs:
  • do not have a direct object

  • may use avoir or être as an auxiliary verb


When using the auxiliary avoir in the past tense of an intransitive verbs, the past participle does not agree in gender or in number since there is no direct object.


Examples | Les exemples

Le garçon a pleuré. | He cried( No direct object)

La fille a mangé. | The girl ate.( No direct object)

Les équipiers ont gagné. | The team members won.( No direct object)

Elles ont voyagé en train. | They travelled by train.( No direct object)


Intransitive verbs have no direct object. Therefore the past participle of the verb does not change in gender or in number.


When using the auxiliary être in the past tense for intransitive verbs, the past participle must agree in gender (masculine or feminine) and number (singular or plural) with the subject.


Examples | Les exemples

Le garçon (m. s.) est sorti (m. s.) hier soir. |The boy went out last night.

La fille (f. s.) est allée (f. s.) au marché. | The girl went to the market.

Mes parents (m. pl.) sont arrivés (m. pl.). | My parents arrived.

Les dames (f. pl.) sont rentrées (f. pl.) de leur séjour en France. | The ladies returned from their stay in France.