Reflexive verbs signify that one is doing the action to oneself. For example se reveiller (one wakes oneself up, or more simply in English : one wakes up).
In most tenses, the reflexive pronoun is simply placed before the verb (..je me brosse les dents).
- (je) me
- (tu) te
- (il/elle/on) se
- (nous) nous
- (vous) vous
- (ils/elles) se
In tenses which use an auxiliary verb, such as the perfect tense, verbs with a reflexive pronoun always use the auxiliary être, and the reflexive pronoun comes before the auxiliary. eg. je me suis reveillé'.
Some common reflexive verbs (by no means an exhaustive list)
- s'habiller (to dress oneself)
- se reveiller (to wake up)
- se lever (to get up)
- se brosser (to brush (teeth, hair etc.))
- se laver (to wash(hands etc.))
- se doucher (to take a shower)
- se maquiller (to put on make-up)
- se marier (to get married)
- se moquer de (to make fun of)
- se raser (to shave)
Remember that some verbs are reflexive in English and not in French, and that some are reflexive in French but not in English.
Reflexive verbs in the past tense
Reflexive verbs take 'être' in the passé composé, and have the same rules: adding an 'e' when the subject is feminine, and an 's' when the subject is plural. The pronoun (me, te, se, etc.) is placed before the auxiliary verb 'je me suis lavé(e)' (passé composé version of 'je me lave'), 'nous nous sommes habillé(e)s'.