This thing has been bothering me for some time and I hope to express myself clearly.

Use of s' verbs such as passer or se passer is sometimes tricky and the sense, if I understand correctly, is “to do something to something/someone”, which might very well be yourself. E.g. Je m'appelle Abhi means I call myself Abhi. Now in the third person, would you use s' form of a verb or the verb without s' (and use of est) etc.?

To give a simple example (here it's easy since I know but in normal conversation it seems difficult): Il s'appelle François and Il est appellé François.

  • Sorry I think this has already been asked here french.stackexchange.com/questions/7422/…. But in case you have further insights explained in a simple manner, I would appreciate it. – Abhimanyu Arora Jan 9 '14 at 23:14
  • I don't think this is the same question — both are about passive vs pronominal forms, but in different kinds of sentences. I'm not sure if there's a general explanation that can cover all cases. – Gilles 'SO nous est hostile' Jan 10 '14 at 11:04

Il s'appelle françois is the most used form, and is perfectly correct. This kind of verb is called a “verbe pronominal” because it is always used with a pronoun referring to the subject.

Il est appelé François is also correct, but it's not a common way to speak. The passive voice makes it more suitable for classical literature or poetry than for everyday conversation. It could also mean that is real name is not François, but some people call him François anyway.

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  • +1 for the last bit - il est appelé François sounds to me like his name is Jacques, but most people call him François – hairboat Jan 11 '14 at 17:11
  • My question was a bit more general, but thanks for clarifying anyway :-) – Abhimanyu Arora Jan 11 '14 at 19:00

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