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I was a bit surprised to find out that while attendre takes a direct object, s'attendre takes an indirect object. E.g.

Je l'attends but Je m'attends à lui. Is it a widespread phenomena? Is there any pattern or is it necessary to memorize what kind of object each verb and its reflexive form expect?

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    I'm not sure I understand your question, I just want to be that annoying guy who says "Je m'attends à lui" isn't French. Sorry ! – MonsieurTruite Dec 18 '17 at 9:38
  • Thanks, what's the French translation of "I'm expecting him" as opposed to "I'm awaiting him"? – dimid Dec 18 '17 at 11:13
  • @MonsieurTruite: I does sound correct to me, with the meaning “I expect him to be there”. – Stéphane Gimenez Dec 18 '17 at 11:25
  • @StéphaneGimenez J'ai peut être été un peu trop sévère dans ma réponse ; je voulais dire que je ne pense pas que nous utilisions cette phrase dans le moindre contexte. J'aurais plutôt dû dire que ça ne "sonne" pas très Français.. – MonsieurTruite Dec 18 '17 at 12:20
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In French, you can translate

I'm expecting him.

by

Je l'attends.

The sentence "Je m'attends à lui." does not look like a valid French syntax. The correct syntax would be

Je m'attends à ce qu'il arrive bientôt.

which would translate too :

I'm expecting him to arrive soon.

  • Merci, so Je l'attends means both 'I'm awaiting him' and 'I'm expecting him'? – dimid Dec 18 '17 at 19:13
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    Yes, both translation are correct. Note that "I'm awaiting him." is more formal. Therefore, it might be more accurate to say it translates too "I'm waiting for him." instead. – Emilie Picard-Cantin Dec 18 '17 at 19:32
  • I see, thanks. When googling I encountered je m'attends à toi, so I thought it's valid french. – dimid Dec 18 '17 at 19:37
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    @dimid "Je m'attends à lui" is syntactically correct, just unidiomatic. For a more usual variant using the same verb valence, you could very well have someone enter a room, notice someone they didn't expect to be here (either because they expected someone else, or didn't expect anyone at all) and utter "Je ne m'attendais pas à toi" - i.e. "I didn't expect to see you here". – Eau qui dort Dec 18 '17 at 23:50
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    @dimid "Je ne m'attendais pas à le voir là" – Eau qui dort Dec 19 '17 at 9:45

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