In the examples below...

Elle l'a appelée. Elle a ouvert la porte.

... how can you tell whether or not to add the extra e to the end of certain verbs making them feminine?

Using the examples, why is it that "appelée" is feminine, but "ouvert" is not?

Thanks in advance.

  • 1
    This is a matter of past participles being used with either the auxiliary verb "être" or "avoir" and I'm afraid it is a question that's been already asked. Check as carefully as you can; a question that's been already asked is never accepted again.
    – LPH
    Oct 8, 2018 at 20:03
  • Could you provide a link to the question please?
    – John
    Oct 8, 2018 at 20:07
  • 1
    – LPH
    Oct 8, 2018 at 20:23
  • 2
    There are lots - also consider this one.
    – Luke Sawczak
    Oct 8, 2018 at 22:32

2 Answers 2


The rules of past participle agreement is a hot topic.

In your cases, the rule is simple: the past participle used with the auxiliary verb avoir agree with its direct object if the direct object is located before the verb.

However, your first sentence has an extra difficulty. It might be written either:

Elle l'a appelée.


Elle l'a appelé.

Here the direct object is l'. Some context is required to know if this object pronoun with an elided vowel refers to a feminine (la) or masculine (le) antecedent.

As appelée is used in you example, the antecedent is likely a woman:

Elle l'a appelée (She called her)

Should the pronoun had referred to a man, that would have been:

Elle l'a appelé (She called him)

As there is no neutral in French, She called it translation would use either appelée or appelé depending on the gender of the word behind it.

There is no issue with the second sentence, the direct object is after the verb, there is no agreement and the masculine is used:

Elle a ouvert la porte


Elle l'a ouverte


Une réponse non complète.

Elle a appelé sa mère.

" sa mère " est le COD (complément d'objet direct = accusatif) du verbe a appelé (passé composé).

Elle l'a appelée.

la=l' est le pronom personnel remplaçant le COD et venant avant le verbe conjugué (forme composée) => accord du participe passé.


Elle a ouvert la porte.

" la porte " est le COD du verbe a ouvert (passé composé).

Elle l'a ouverte.

la=l' est le pronom personnel remplaçant le COD et venant avant le verbe conjugué => accord du participe passé.


Elle a téléphoné à sa mère.

" sa mère " est maintenant, le COI (complément d'objet indirect=datif) du verbe a téléphoné (passé composé).

Elle lui a téléphoné.

lui est le pronom personnel qui remplace (à) sa mère => pas d'accord du participe passé !

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