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In the following sentence, should I write "accordée" or "accordé"?

Pour comprendre la portée qu'ils ont accordée à cette théorie

In my opinion, the COD is "théorie" so we shouldn't write "accordée" but I'm not sure about that.

  • Your proposed sentence is correct. Direct object is "que" (standing for portée which is feminine), therefore the past participle will agree with the feminine. Théorie is indirect object in your sentence. You seem to know the rule of agreement but in case you need a reminder, have a look at this answer. – None May 12 '14 at 9:15
  • You're welcome. And by the way welcome to French Stack Exchange. Hope we'll see you again. Since you learn French don't hesitate to ask you questions in French. We don't mind mistakes, we even correct them. – None May 12 '14 at 9:32
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In this example, the gender agreement of the participle of accorder is feminine.

Therefore, you were correct in your example sentence:

Pour comprendre la portée qu'ils ont accordée à cette théorie

Here is why:

You asked about the COD, or complément d'objet direct, which here is the relative pronoun que. This relative pronoun refers to the feminine noun portée. Therefore, in order to make the past participle (accordé) agree, you must make it feminine as well (accordée).

théorie is the COI (complément d'objet indirect). This is marked by the preposition à in à cette théorie. The COI does not affect agreement of gender or number in your sentence.

  • I would add as a tip that this format of sentence (nom + pronom relatif + subjet + verbe conj. + verbe part. passé), just look at the relative pronoun to see to what it refers (here the noun). Then determine number and gender of the noun and modify the past participle accordingly. – Patrick Sebastien May 12 '14 at 13:39

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