"Did you sit on his knees?"

Translation:Tu t'étais assis sur ses genoux ?

February 12, 2013

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The question here simply asks to translate "did you sit on his knees", in this sense it is simply the passe compose.


present: tu t'assois imparfait: tu t'asseyais passé composé: tu t'es assise plus que parfait: tu t'étais assise


"s'être assis" expresses a past action, "s'asseoir" is for present. Hence "T'es-tu assis sur ses genoux ?" should be accepted here and probably be the best spoken answer. (or maybe "est-ce que tu t'es assis sur ses genoux ?") A wrong answer would be "T'assoies-tu sur ses genoux ?".


As others have pointed out, since this is an English sentence being translated into French, and since there is nothing about the English sentence that makes it obviously "pluperfect" in form, it seems like passé composé ought to be accepted. I take it passé composé was not accepted? I only knew to use pluperfect because I'm encountering this in that unit.


I agree that the passé composé would be suitable to translate this preterit (did sit is preterit).

"t'es-tu assise ?"

present: t'assois-tu or t'assieds-tu imparfait: t'asseyais-tu plus que parfait : t'étais-tu assise


i have two issues with sitting (whethe on someone 'knees' or not: 1. It's the worst thing for your back; 2. difficult to discuss it in French - level 17 and still am rubbish at it, lol, my grey matter seems incapable of absorbing. Anyone shares my issues with s'assesoir? I might be allergic...


Basically, you have 3 verbal forms: 2 active and 1 static (+ 2 conjugations):

  • j'asseois / j'assieds = I sit (someone) down or up. Active and transitive, using auxiliary "avoir". Past imperfect: j'assoyais/j'asseyais; Passé composé: j'ai assis; Simple future: j'assoirai/j'assierai.

  • je m'asseois / je m'assieds = I sit down, I am sitting down. Reflexive and using auxiliary "être". Past imperfect: je m'assoyais/je m'asseyais; Passé composé: je me suis assis(e); Simple future: je m'assoirai/je m'assierai.

  • je suis assis(e) = I am seated. Static with verb "être" (or any other state verb), using "assis/assise/assises" as simple adjectives. Past imperfect: j'étais assis/e; Passé composé: je suis assis/e; Simple future: je serai assis/e.


Thanks Sitesurf. Although your explanation nearly sent me into a panic mode. I'm going to spend a long time one of these days to actually tackle the challenge of the 'sitting' verb forms in French. Written down they look scary. I suspect that people who learnt a bit of French in a class are more familiar with the verb as teachers would use it a lot :)


Hi K..., yes teachers are very good at dealing with verb "asseoir/s'asseoir":

  • asseyez-vous, s'il vous plaît ! (please sit down!)
  • je vous demande de vous asseoir ! (I am asking you to sit down!)
  • quand le professeur entre dans la classe, ne restez pas assis ! (when the teacher steps into the classroom, don't remain seated!)
  • je répète, pour ceux qui sont assis au fond de la classe. (I repeat, for those sitting at the back of the class).

(pls check my translations!)


T'es tu assis sur ses genoux. est correct.


Yes, preferably with the hyphen: "T'es-tu assis sur ses genoux ?"


I actually failed a test due such errors which are considered as full mistakes (and too typos too).


Is this not supposed to be the passé composé?


No, this is pluperfect (plus que parfait). Passé composé is : "vous vous êtes assise"


yes but here it's said "did you sit" meaning "you sit" simple past tense. And simple past tense is translated in passe compose, isn't it?


you sat (preterit) = tu t'es assise (passé composé) or tu t'asseyais (imparfait) depending on context.

  • did you sit on his knees? yes, I sat on his knees = t'es-tu assise sur ses genoux ? oui, je me suis assise sur ses genoux.

  • I sat (or I used to sit) on his knees whenever I could = je m'asseyais sur ses genoux dès que je le pouvais.


Passe compose is:'vous vous AVEZ assise', not?

  • 1157

No, reflexive verbs (such as s'asseoir) all take "être" instead of "avoir" to construct the passé composé


passé composé: "vous vous êtes assis(e(s))"

s'asseoir (= to sit down) is pronominal and constructed with auxiliary "être".

"vous avez assis le bébé sur sa chaise" (you sat/seated the baby on his/her chair) : asseoir is constructed with auxiliary "voir"


I agree with the others. It should be in passé composé.

  • 1157

The actual English translation for "Vous vous étiez assises sur ses genoux ?" is surely "Had you sat on his knees?"


I'm used to the idea that in French you say 'the' (les) rather than 'my' (mes) body parts, but does this apply to other people's body parts too?

So could we say something like this:

"Tu te lui es assis sur les genoux?" ["You sat yourself on the knees of him?"]


Yes, we say "les" for our own body parts: "je me lave les mains" (it is obvious that these hands are mine).

But if the subject and the object do not belong to the same person, you have to specify whose is what: "je lui lave les mains" ("lui" means that they are someone else's hands).

In this sentence, the direct object is still "te" (= yourself), while the knees do not belong to the subject of the verb:

  • you sat on his knees = you seated yourself on his knees = tu t'es assis sur ses genoux


what is the past participle of s'asseior for singular male, plural male, singular female and plural female?


assis, assis, assise, assises


You are the subject and his knees are the direct object. It has etre s'asseoir as the verb and so the past participle agrees with the singular subject tu? Am I correct in this?


Yes, because this is a reflexive verb using the auxilliary verb être, the past participle agrees in number and gender with the subject, 'tu'. However, I believe that 'his knees' is an indirect object, not a direct object, because it uses the preposition 'sur'. Direct objects do not use a preposition. In the sentence "I give the box to her.", 'the box' is the direct object (no preposition) and 'her' is the indirect object ( using the preposition 'to'). Sorry, that is probably way more information than needed. :)


No. Thanks for clarifying. I have forgotten so much about Parts of Speech that I learned in school and it is helpful in figuring out the French grammar.


A fab discussion here. Just wanted to make one little point, than in English we don't really sit on somebody's knees, we sit on their lap :)


... which is way more comfortable than "knees"...

  • 701

Tu t'étais assise aux ses genoux? what's wrong with that? It was marked the wrong one of three choices.


The wrong part is "aux ses" which back translates to "to the his/her"

The suitable preposition is "sur" (on or onto), so "sur ses genoux"

  • 701

ah of course thx sorry

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