agréer flipped the subject and direct object like like (v.) and please (v.), correct? But what were the steps? I'm guessing French commenced with

  1. Mes desiderata m'agréent.

Syntactically how did this invert into

  1. J'agrée avec mes desiderata.


[14] Originally, if a thing ‘agreed you’, it was to your liking, it pleased you. This early meaning survives in the adjective agreeable [14], but the verb has meanwhile moved on via ‘to reconcile (people who have quarrelled)’ and ‘to come into accord’ to its commonest present-day sense, ‘to concur’. It comes from Old French agréer ‘to please’, which was based on the phrase a gré ‘to one’s liking’. Gré was descended from Latin grātum, a noun based on grātus ‘pleasing’, from which English also gets grace and grateful.

Word Origins (2005 2e) by John Ayto, p 13.

  • 3
    See ex. 28-36 here; that's only but one way this verb works. It's not necessarily the most casual verb really. Mar 15, 2021 at 0:47
  • 2
    Agréer is quite rare as @Amande already commented, I believe I never used that verb outside in the Veuillez agréer... letter ending. Desiderata is quite rare too. I guess the number of times I used that word in my whole life is less than the number of fingers in my hands. Agréer avec ses desiderata is then probably an expression there is zero chance for someone to say spontaneously, not to mention the bizarre tautology I agree with my wishes...
    – jlliagre
    Mar 23, 2021 at 14:20

1 Answer 1


Basically, the "agréer" verb translates as :

  1. Pronoun and verb or infinitive verb followed by a direct or indirect object : giving agreement/expressing convenience regarding the object. Example: "J'agrée à ses dires", "Ayant agréer les termes du contrat, ..."
  2. Non pronoun subject and verb followed by a direct or indirect object : subject gives an agreement/expresses convenience regarding the object. Example: "John agrée à cette condition", "Martin agrée les dires de Steven".
  3. Subject followed by a personal pronoun then verb : Subject pleases or is liked by the one designed by the personal pronoun or the one designed by the personal pronoun expresses liking / convenience regarding the subject. Example "Cela m'agrée", "Ce voyage t'agrée tant que ça ?" and indeed "Mes desiderata m'agréent.". Here, the personal pronoun gives a possessive means to the sentence and by this way gives to the verb "agréer" its original meanings expressing liking/convenience.

Thus, the invert for this verb in french has to keep the original meanings. In the case 3 and then your examples, it has to express the accordance with own (or subject) personal desire.

In the case "Mes desiderata m'agréent.", we have a subject "Mes desiderata", a possessive pronoun "m'" which means "to me / for me" and the verb.

The first step is to rephrase the sentence as it can be expressed in the form "Mes desiderata agréent à moi." where the personal pronoun become an indirect object.

The second step is then to conjugate the verb according to the indirect object as a subject : "J'agrée".

The last step is just to make the original subject as the new direct or indirect object : "J'agrée avec mes desiderata".

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