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I am reading Les foules by Guy de Maupassant and I find this sentence:

Toutes ces personnes côte à côte, distinctes, différentes de corps, d’esprit, d’intelligence, de passions, d’éducation, de croyances, de préjugés, tout à coup, par le seul fait de leur réunion, forment un être spécial, doué d’une âme propre, d’une manière de penser nouvelle, commune, et qui ne semble nullement formée de la moyenne des opinions de tous.

I am confused about:

  1. where is the subject of forment?
  2. why we don’t need to put ont before doué?
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    Can you say why you think we need to put ont before doué. If we knew that, we might be able to clear up your confusion more easily. (And if we did put ont before doué, what would the subject of the verb ont be?) Clearly, you're misparsing the sentence, but I don't see what mistake you're making. Commented Sep 25, 2023 at 12:19

2 Answers 2

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  1. The subject of forment is Toutes ces personnes, i.e. Toutes ces personnes forment un être spécial.

  2. There is no need for an auxiliary verb before doué because doué is used as an adjective here, not as a conjugated verb: un être spécial doué d'une âme propre.

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  1. The subject of "forment" is "Toutes ces personnes":

Toutes ces personnes côte à côte, distinctes, [...] forment un être spécial

All these people, different from one another, form a single special being.

  1. Here "doué (d'une âme propre)" means "endowed with (a soul of its own)", "gifted with". Put simply it's a more graceful way to say "having a soul of its own".
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  • :::: You win ;-)
    – jlliagre
    Commented Sep 25, 2023 at 12:36
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    @jlliagre à 15 secondes près ^^ Commented Sep 25, 2023 at 14:03

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