If I understand correctly, the sentence means "His stomach started to rumble/growl". I just don't understand which tense is it? If "se mettre a faire + infinitive" means to "begin doing something" (correct me if I'm wrong) and we want to say "someone began/started to do something" shouldn't it be in passé composé and hence "se a (s'a?) mis à gronder"?


1 Answer 1


Pronominal verbs like se mettre always use être as an auxiliary to form compound tenses.

Ils se sont envolés pour Rome.

It's also the case for normal verbs accidentally used reflexively.

Il a frappé son voisin.
Il s'est frappé sur la tête.

But beware of the agreement of the past participle in some reflexive uses of the verbs. Even though the auxiliary is être in appearance, the agreement is still done with a potential direct object, which may in some cases be different from the subject.

  • Elles se sont offert des cadeaux. (the direct object appears after the verb)
  • Les cadeaux qu'elles se sont offerts. (the direct object appears before the verb)
  • Ils se sont téléphoné. (no direct object)
  • Ils se sont entendus. (the direct object is identical to the subject)
  • Wow that was extremely useful to me , thank you very much
    – noam b
    Dec 10, 2015 at 15:31
  • I can't see the difference between the last 2 examples, could you explicit it a bit more ?
    – Random
    Dec 10, 2015 at 15:47
  • 1
    @Random On téléphone à quelqu'un, mais on entend quelqu'un. Dec 10, 2015 at 16:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

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