In the song "Tu es partout", Édith Piaf sings

Nous nous aimions bien tendrement
Comme s'aiment tous les amants
Et puis un jour tu m'as quittée
Depuis je suis désespérée

Evidently, "tu" applies to a man, so why is "quittée" in the feminine form? I believe I saw this usage several times, is it just an error?

  • 3
    Welcome to every french-speaking schoolkid's worst nightmare, the dreaded... « accord du participe passé avec l'auxiliaire avoir ! » *dramatic thunder strike* Jun 29, 2015 at 10:16
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    @RomainVALERI And then it gets worse: « accord du participe passé, le retour : les verbes pronominaux » Jun 29, 2015 at 11:02
  • I never will understand why this is so much of a trouble for so many french-speaking people. The rule is quite easy to apply in most cases, while I agree some very complicated sentences make it difficult to find the direct object)... As a side remark, there's nothing in the text implying "tu" is a man other than the (historical) context and extrapolation. "Tu m'as quittée" could refer to a woman...
    – Laurent S.
    Jun 29, 2015 at 11:22

1 Answer 1


When the auxiliary used to form the past tense is avoir, the past participle agreement is done with the direct object (provided that it appears before the verb, otherwise no agreement is done). In this sentence tu is the subject. The object is me, which refers to a woman, and therefore the past participle is correctly written quittée.

  • 1
    Just adding that "m'" is "me" abbreviated before vowel
    – Yohann V.
    Jun 29, 2015 at 12:00

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