French Grammar: Agreement of past participles with preceding direct objects in questions
From Polyglot Club WIKI
Definitions[edit | edit source]
Subject—Verb Agreement[edit | edit source]
The subject-verb agreement in French is the way to choose the correct ending for verbs in terms of grammatical persons, gender and number, depending on their subject.
The Direct Object Complement[edit | edit source]
The direct object complement (French: le complément d'objet direct, COD) directly completes the verb without any preposition. The verb used with a COD is a direct transitive verb.
To find the COD of a verb, it is most often enough to ask questions:
- Quoi ? (What?)
Past Participle[edit | edit source]
The past participle is a verb form with several roles. It’s essential in the creation of compound verb tenses/moods and the passive voice, and it can also be used as an adjective. The French past participle usually ends -é, -i, or -u, and is equivalent to -ed or -en in English.
The past participle agrees with it in gender and number[edit | edit source]
Questions can be created in different ways. When they are constructed with the direct object before the past participle in compound tenses, the past participle agrees with it in gender and number:
- Quel disque as-tu acheté ?
Which record did you buy?
- Quelle chaise as-tu achetée ?
Which chair did you buy?
- Laquelle a-t-il choisie ?
Which one did he buy?
- Lesquels ont-ils voulus ?
Which ones did they want?
- Combien de melons as-tu achetés ?
How many melons have you bought?
- Combien de bouteilles de Champagne as-tu achetées?
How many bottles of Champagne did you buy?
Past participles of impersonal verbs[edit | edit source]
The past participles of impersonal verbs, like il y a "there is/there are", never agree with a preceding questioned complement:
- Quels remarques y a-t-il eu (NOT *eus)?
What remarks were there?
Agreement with personal use[edit | edit source]
This should be distinguished from the personal use where the agreement would take place:
- Quels remarques a-t-il eus?
What remarks did he have?'