First i would like to have an explanation of how this grammar works:

Tu as acheté un cadeau pour votre amie ?


The answer is supposed to be:

Oui, je l'ai acheté.

I chose oui, je l'ai achetee, which is incorrect.

Please explain how my answer is incorrect.

Where my confusion happens

Tu as acheté un cadeau pour votre amie ?

The answer to that is supposed to be:

Oui, je l'ai acheté

How is that so?

3 Answers 3


I suppose you heard about the rule of past participle agreement with the direct object complement, if you're asking such a question, so I'm not going to explain it in details. Let's just see why it's not -ée:

Oui je l'ai acheté. / Yes, I bought it.

... l' is for it and it refers to le cadeau, which is masculine. You don't want to make the past participle agree with amie here.

Note that with the question Tu as acheté un cadeau pour votre amie ?, since it's un cadeau and not le cadeau, the answer should better be: Oui, j'en ai acheté un (I bought one).


To complete the @Simon Déchamps's answer

When you do not know to what it refers you can use this trick :

The sentence :

Oui je l'ai acheté/achetée (is "l" masculine or feminine ?)

Ask yourself :

Oui j'ai acheté quoi ? J'ai acheté le cadeau

You now know what is the object. In this case it is a masculine word then you do not add the "e"

Oui je l'ai acheté !


Accord avec l'auxiliaire avoir

Le participe passé ne s'accorde jamais avec le sujet lorsqu'il est employé avec l'auxiliaire avoir:

for example : elles ont mangé au restaurant du coin.

It means that when you have a phrase with the verb 'avoir' the past participle never agrees with the subject and it's always "e" and NEVER "ée"

For example : j'ai acheté une fleur. J'ai acheté un coffre.

  • Unless COD is placed before the verb.
    – Toto
    Aug 20, 2017 at 9:42
  • Bienvenue sur French Language. Il y a une rubrique d'aide pour en expliquer le fonctionnement. "Read the question carefully. What, specifically, is the question asking for? ". La question n'est pas sur l'accord du participe passé avec le sujet, il est clair que celui qui posé la question sait que l'accord ne se fait pas avec le sujet. it's always "e" and NEVER "ée, what about past participles ending with i or u?
    – None
    Aug 21, 2017 at 8:15

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