Many times when I watch French content with subtitles, I see “vous vous” but only hear “vous”. Even when I slow it down, I don’t hear it. Is the second vous skipped?

  • 2
    When followed by a vowel, vous vous often gets contracted to vous v'z (vous vous êtes [vʊvzɛːt̪], sometimes with the second v further reduced to an approximant [ʋ]), but I've never heard it so reduced that the two vous weren't recognisably there Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 21:44
  • 1
    @Eauquidort Vous ne vous rendez pas compte ?Vous vous rendez pas compte ?V'vous rendez pas compte ?Vous rendez pas compte ?
    – jlliagre
    Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 8:00
  • The reflexive is still quite important : I'm quite surprised by your "many times". Subtitles do not follow exactly the speech to be more readable, can you provide us with an exemple : approx timecode and movie, so that we can check it up ?
    – mansuetus
    Commented Jul 8, 2020 at 9:52
  • I fully agree with "Eau qui dort" 's answer. Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 12:02

1 Answer 1


You will notice such things quite a bit in spoken French (or other languages) where words that are obvious are omitted or just elided by fast speech.

Vous + Verb is frequently (somewhat) redundant so it is often a good candidate to be dropped in informal speech.

Reflexives (the 2nd vous) are often fairly obvious as well.

Combine these two and the tendency will be to omit it much of the time, or say it so quickly, softly, or without enunciation that it is undetectable.

I have studied some fast spoken French examples with software allowing for slowing and repeating any arbitrary portion (Praat, Audacity are both free), and found that sounds which appeared in the transcript and which were completely undetectable to my (poor French listening) ears were actually there, given enough care in analyzing the actual sounds.

Once heard, I could "not not hear them" in many cases.

So either they are omitted or you simply don't hear them, especially if there is background noise or other interference and especially at full speed.

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.