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In the sentence "La nuit d'Halloween, la ville de Darktown se retrouve envahie par les zombies", why does envahie agree in gender with la ville?

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  • Given that the previous comments were based on my faulty analysis of the grammar, I've archived them in a chat room and reopened the question for discussion.
    – Luke Sawczak
    Jul 29 at 16:27
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Past participles of reflexive verbs can agree either with the subject or with the object. But the sentence in your question is in the present tense and the fact that it is a reflexive verb is irrelevant here.

Se (re)trouver is what we call a stative verb1. Stative verbs express a state or manner of being, they have no objects (direct or indirect) but are usually accompanied by a predicate that often is an adjective. This adjective agrees with the subject of the verb, just as with être (which is a stative verb), grammatically you can always replace any static verb with être.

In your sentence, since there is an agent, les zombies, we can say that se retrouve envahie is a passive voice and envahie is the past participle. Whether adjective or past participle, the word agrees with the subject.

  • La ville se retrouve envahie/silencieuse...
  • La ville semble envahie/silencieuse...
  • La ville est envahie/silencieuse...
  • La ville s'est retrouvée/se retrouvera/sera envahie ...
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C'est la ville qui est envahie.

Et comme c'est le verbe "être", on accorde.

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