from my textbook : "ce sont ses amies , elle (lui , leur , la) montre les photos"

if i were to choose one , i would not choose any of them , actually i will go with something like "se" because "Se montre" is a reflexsive verb where "se" refers to "ses amies" so sentence should translate to : "these are her friends, she shows them the photos"

however my textbook says that the correct answer is "leur" which makes no sense to me because "leur" is a possessive adjective and should be used in something like : "c'est leur maison" (it's their house)

thanks in advance.

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    "Ces est ses amies" is blatantly wrong, it should be "ce sont ses amies". Are you sure this is what the textbook says ? – Greg Oct 17 '19 at 4:28

"Se" is indeed reflexive, but I think you may have the wrong idea of what a reflexive pronoun is: a reflexive pronoun is a pronoun that refers to the subject of the verb, and is used if the subject does an action to themselves.


Ils se lavent (they wash themselves)

Compare with the use of a personal pronoun:

Ils les lavent (they wash them - not themselves)

In the sentence "elle (lui , leur , la) montre les photos", you should not select a relexive pronoun, as the subject is not showinng the pictures to herself. You need to select a personal pronoun that refers to a plural noun, and that has the function of indirect object. The only choice for that is indeed leur

elle leur montre les photos

It has indeed the same form as the possessive adjective leur. Just note that the personal pronoun leur is always plural but never takes an "s" at the end, whereas the possessive adjctive is "leur" in the singular, and "leurs" in the plural.

Il a vu leur maison (singular)

Il a vu leurs maisons (plural)

  • i still have some confustion about reflexive verbs , for instance : "je t'aime" it translates to : "i love you" and not "i love yourself" despite that fact that the sensentce contains reflexsive pronoun "te" , another example would be "je t'invite" it translates to "i invite you" and not "i invite yourself" , why some reflexive verbs are not used in a reflexive way ? – AmirWG Oct 17 '19 at 13:55
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    @AmirWG > Once again the distinction between the subject (Je / I) and the complement (toi / t' / you) is important. As the action of the verb is towards the complement and not the subject "aimer" is not a reflexive verb in your example. "Je t'aime" = "Je aime toi". "S'aimer" is a reflexive verb and could be used to describe the love between 2 people (or the self-love of someone on some occasions): "Ils s'aiment" => "They love each other". "Elle s'aime" => "She loves herself". – Laurent S. Oct 17 '19 at 14:21
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    @AmirWG: I have also the feeling you are confused by French using sometimes the same form for both reflexive and personal pronouns (ex: "me"/"te" can be either reflexive or personal pronouns, whereas "se" is always reflexive, and "le/la/les/leur" pronouns are personal pronouns but never reflexive). I suggest you check this out, it contains a great summary: dummies.com/languages/french/french-personal-pronouns (just note a typo for "elle" !) – Greg Oct 17 '19 at 14:43

"leur" is a possessive adjective, but it is also an indirect object pronoun: it means "them".

"She shows them ..." would translate to "Elle leur montre ..."

However, the first part the sentence ("ces est ses amies") is incorrect.

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