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This question is a duplicate of:
About “unusual” word order?

In French, a common phrase is "tu me manques". Everything about this phrase seems to me, as an English speaker, to indicate that the person doing the missing is "tu", and the person being missed is "me" - the verb even agrees with the subject "tu". Therefore the translation would be:

You miss me.

However, the phrase seems to actually mean:

I miss you.

Why does French totally switch the subject and object in this sentence, and modify the verb to agree with the new subject? Is this just a one-off phrase where this happens, or are there other examples, and is there any good way to figure out when the subject and object have been switched like this or do you just need to learn by rote?

Corollary question: How do you actually say "you miss me" (using the tu form) in French?

marked as duplicate by Evpok Feb 4 '12 at 12:54

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • Is it possible to unmark this as a duplicate, since it's a specific question about manquer while linked question is about french word order, using manquer only as an example. The reason I ask is that there's an accepted answer to the linked question which satisfies the question about french word order but doesn't very well explain manquer, yet the final answer in the linked question is an excellent explanation of manquer and I'd like to ask that author to repost the answer here to be accepted. Thanks! – liquidki Dec 1 '17 at 22:41
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The exact construction is the expression "manquer à + quelque chose/quelqu'un".

But:

Tu manques à moi

(litterally in English: You are missing to me)

is not used that way. However we see that "tu" is subject and "moi" is a "complément d'objet indirect" which can be put in front of the verb, as shown below :

Tu me manques

I think the problem comes from how French and English approach the verb and which word is the subject.

Edit: As seen on this page and to help in the understanding, in English to miss can be read as "fail to make contact with", or in our case "be sorry to be without". The French verb "manquer" is to be read as "to be lacking/absent". "Tu me manques" meaning "You are lacking in my life", you are the person "performing" the action of 'being absent in my life' right now.

I do know you / "Je connais toi" / Je te connais

I do see you / "Je vois toi" / Je te vois

(Could we say in English something like : I do do my homework? seems weird :P)

But in French, the subject is the person "verb-ing" if I may say.

Who is seeing you: I. Who is knowing you : I.

In "I miss you" : Who is missing : you.

The subject "is missing", is not here. And he's missing to someone.

To solve your corollary, you should say "Je te manque" which is saying "Je manque à toi" (I am missing to you)

I do not have any other verb in mind. The explanation is not backed up by proper grammatical references, but I hope it will help you get a clearer picture of the situation.

  • In your English examples do is usually used for emphasis: You don't know me, do you? I do know you! So you can certainly say I do do my homework! if the issue is in doubt. It is like the difference between I am doing my homework and I am doing my homework! – CJ Dennis Mar 7 '15 at 2:51

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