I came across the phrase “je me suis assoupi”, whose translation I found to be “I dozed off”. Now, I know that a reflexive verb is used qhen the object and the doer (subject) are the same as in “I called myself”. In the case of “assoupir”, could anyone explain how the subject and the object of action are the same. Also, if “assoupir” in “Je me suis assoupi.” is in the reflexive form then why isn’t “courir” in “J’ai couru.” also in the reflexive form?

  • 1
    Reflexive verbs are, roughly speaking, normally transitive verbs that take on objects. Not all verbs that on objects: for example, courir does not take objects. (Run doesn't in English either!) Neither do aller or retourner (when used in sense of returning somewhere).
    – Maroon
    Apr 11, 2020 at 8:03
  • Doze off doesn’t take an object either, but it is used in its reflexive form. Why? Apr 11, 2020 at 8:06

1 Answer 1


To doze means to fall asleep or to sleep into a light sleep while assoupir means endormir, i.e. "to make someone/something fall asleep":

Le ronronnement du moteur a assoupi les enfants.

English seems to lack a single verb translating assoupir or endormir so uses periphrasis like "to put someone to sleep".

When the person being "assoupied" is the subject, which is by far the most usual way assoupir is used, the reflexive form is naturally expected :

Les enfants se sont assoupis à cause du/grâce au ronronnement du moteur.

On the other hand, courir doesn't mean to make someone run so the reflexive form is not needed.

J'ai couru un cent mètres.

There are however a few reflexive usages with courir:

Les enfants se courent après.

Le marathon s'est couru sous la pluie.

and even (colloquial):

Je me suis couru un petit cent mètres.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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