French Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the French language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I read in Grammaire Progressive du Français written by Maia Grégoire, page 26, that “Les pronoms réfléchis se placent devant le verbe”, for example:

Je me lave; Tu te regardes;

Here “devant” means “before” when it should mean the opposite, right? “Devant” means “in front of” something? Is this a mistake by the author?

J'ai lu dans la Grammaire Progressive du Français, de Maia Grégoire, page 26, que « Les pronoms réfléchis se placent devant le verbe », par exemple:

Je me lave; Tu te regardes;

Ici « devant » signifie « avant », derrière mais, en réalité, il signifie le contraire, pas vrai?

share|improve this question

I think there is no mistake here, since “devant” can be translated to English as “in front of” (i.e. it refers to space), while “avant” refers to time and can be translated as “before”. It's rather subtle case, because when one speaks, he/she pronounces pronoms réfléchis before the verb, but when one looks at written text, pronoms réfléchis go in front of the verb. Generally, both words may be used, it's not big a deal in this case.

Je crois qu'il n'y a pas de erreur ici, parce que « devant » s'applique à l'espace et « avant » s'applique au temps. Ainsi, on peut utiliser les deux mots parce que le texte peut être écrit ou prononcé.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.