Why are there two vous in “Comment vous vous appelez”?

I thought “vous” means "you" (formally). So why two vous instead of one, like the same idea of using one “tu” in “Comment tu t'appelles ?”

2 Answers 2


For pronominal or reflexive verbs in French (e.g. s'appeler, se laver, se demander, etc.), you start with the pronoun and follow with the reflexive pronoun, whether directly or inversely.

Reflexive pronouns are:

Je me

Tu te (not tu)

Il/Elle/On se

Nous nous

Vous vous

Ils/Elles se

The pronoun vous will always be used in conjunction with the reflexive pronoun (which also happens to be vous) in the case of reflexive verbs.

What may confuse you is the fact that the reflexive pronouns for Je, Tu, Il/Elle/On, and Ils/Elles drop the end vowel when followed by a verb that begins with a vowel.

So it will always be,

« Vous vous demandez / Tu te demandes peut-être pourquoi l'on utilise encore vous... »

« Je lui ai dit que vous vous appelez / tu t'appelles Marius, mais... »

« Ma mère ne comprendra jamais combien il s'attache / vous vous attachez à ... »


In "Comment tu t'appelles ?" there is also two "tu". The "t'" is also a "tu".

"s'appeller" is a pronominal verb. So we need to put a pronoun.

"Comment vous vous appelez ?" or "Comment vous appelez-vous ?" is like "How do you call yourself ?" in english. And as you can see, in this question, you can find two "you".

  • 10
    In "Comment tu t'appelles", the "t" is a "te" not a "tu".
    – qoba
    Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 14:47
  • 1
    "How do you call you" is not proper English. Better use "What do you call yourself?" And one expects a nickname rather than an actual name in response. So it is different than "What is your name?"
    – MorganFR
    Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 14:49
  • 3
    "What is your name ?" is the english for "Quel est ton nom ?". Here I did not want to give the translate of "Comment vous vous appelez ?" because I think Shady Atef knows it. I wanted to give a sentence that is similar to give him an idea of "why is there two 'vous'" in that question. I know thats not syntaxically correct in english, but may be this can an idea of the semantics of "Comment vous vous appelez ?"... Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 15:03

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