I am new to learning French language. I have a problem understanding and configuring the way French speakers are constructinging sentences. For example why do they say: "Tu te brosses les cheveux" instead of saying "Tu brosses tes cheveux" and why is the second one wrong? Or if it is not wrong how are they different.

3 Answers 3


You can say

  • "tu peignes tes cheveux" or

  • "tu te peignes" or

  • "tu te peignes les cheveux"

    but you can't say

  • "tu te peignes tes cheveux" or

  • "tu peignes les cheveux".

This last case is however correct if you add a complement.

  • Tu peignes les cheveux de Marie, tu peignes les cheveux de tes enfants le matin, etc.

The same goes for "brosser". That's just the way it is, you are here dealing with idiomatic phrases.



Tu te brosses les cheveux.


Tu brosses tes cheveux.

are correct French but the first one is much more what people would spontaneously say. The second is still possible and might sound literary.

On the other hand, if cheveux comes with an adjective, the first form becomes unidiomatic, e.g.

Tu te brosses les cheveux frisés.

and the second form prevails:

Tu brosses tes cheveux frisés.


Tu te brosses les cheveux.

In this exemple, you're just saying that someone is brushing his hair. This is called a phrase déclarative (but it's informal here).

Tu te brosses les cheveux ?

Here, you' re asking someone if they brush their hair. This is called a phrase interrogative.

The "?" is one way to show that you're asking a question. They don't sound the same orally.

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