5

I learned that we add s to make the sentence sound better. Like:

Vas-y

Manges-en

I noticed that whenever the verb ends with a vowel, and I'm using a pronoun that starts with a vowel, it adds the "s".

Do I still add "s" when it is not a pronoun?

Dites à votre amie d'aller en classe tous les jours. -> Vas en classe tous les jours!

5

Add the -s only when the imperative is followed by a pronoun that starts with a vowel (which means y or en). Add -s only when the pronoun is a complement of the verb, not when it's the beginning of a longer expression that happens to follow the verb. There's always a hyphen after the s.

Vas-y.
Va en classe.   (en)
Va en parler avec lui.   (en is a complement of parler)
Vas-y (pour) voir ce qui s'y passe.   (“Go now and see what is happening there” — y is a complement of voir)
Va y voir ce qui s'y passe.   (“Go there to see what is happening there” — y is a complement of voir)

For natives, the rule is “add an -s if it there's a [z] sound”, which obviously only helps if you speak French fluently and are learning to spell it. Even so, natives sometimes get this wrong. There's no s at the end of the imperative singular for first group (-er infinitive) verbs because it's derived from a Latin ending which was just a (long) vowel, but there's an s at the end of the corresponding indicative form which derives from a Latin -s ending. I suspect that in a few centuries, the imperative singular will align with the indicative (this has already happened with -ir and -re verbs). In the meantime, “no -s except before complement pronouns that start with a vowel” is a rule that natives do mostly follow in spoken language, even if they'd occasionally misspell it.

  • "Va y voir ce qui s'y passe" ? Ne doit-on pas plutôt dire "Va voir ce qui s'y passe" ? ou "Vas-y voir ce qui se passe" ? – jcm69 Jun 25 '17 at 20:18
  • 2
    @jcm69 “Vas-y voir ce qui se passe” is also possible. It has a different meaning: “Vas-y” is “go away now”, where as “Va y voir …” means “go there and see …”. – Gilles 'SO nous est hostile' Jun 25 '17 at 20:25
  • @Giiles Cette phrase avec deux y me semble un tantinet improbable. Mais pourquoi pas... – jcm69 Jun 25 '17 at 20:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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