"This is the year when you broke your leg."
Translation:C'est l'année où tu t'es cassé la jambe.
I believe that Duo is in error here, but this appears to be quite a subtle point of grammar.
My understanding (so far) is that:
"En 1993 quand tu t'es cassé la jambe." is in fact grammatically correct but:
"C'est l'année quand tu t'es cassé la jambe." is not.
As yet, I do not understand the exception which validates "En 1993 quand …" and my dictionary does not explain it.
Anyone else old enough to remember the TW3 series? That was the week that was!
There was a serious point here, to whomever down-voted. There seems to be a difference in use of tenses between French and English when talking about events that happened in the past. Almost always in English we would say "That was the year etc....". However my understanding from discussions on here and Sitesurf's explanations that in French the statement is commonly made in the present tense, as in this case "This is the year....etc" and then to follow it with another statement in the past "..when you broke...". What is sadly lacking in these later lessons is a Tips section where these subtleties could be explained.
The pronoun "t'" is an indirect object and the direct object is "jambe".
In this case, the past participle is invariable: "tu t'es cassé la jambe"
But when "t'" is a direct object, the past participle can agree with it:
- Paul (male), tu t'es blessé (masc sing)
- Marie (female), tu t'es blessée (fem sing)
"Tu t'es cassée" does not tell what body part was broken. It would mean "you broke yourself" and I am not sure it means anything relevant.
"Tu t'es cassé la jambe" tells what body part was broken (la jambe = direct object) and the pronoun "t'" is an indirect pronoun, as if you said "to yourself". In that case, the past participle cannot agree with a preceding direct object since "t'" is not a direct object and the direct object "la jambe" is not placed before the verb.
"C'est la jambe que tu t'es cassée" would work because then, "la jambe" would be placed before the verb.
Reflexive verb with a direct and an indirect objects apply the same rules of agreement as those using the auxiliary "avoir":
- Elle s'est coupée: "coupée" agrees with the subject and "s'" is the direct object.
- Elle s'est coupée à la main: same case, "à la main" being a complement of place.
- Elle s'est coupé la main: "coupé" remains invariable because "s'" is an indirect object and the direct object is placed after the verb.
- C'est la main qu'elle s'est coupée: "coupée" agrees with "qu'", representing "main", the direct object placed before the verb.
Two things puzzle me:
Why doesn't the participle agree with the Subject if there is a Preceding Indirect Object (COI)?
How can a reflexive pronoun switch between direct and indirect for the same verb ? Which preposition has been introduced into the relationship? ie if you were able to extract it as a tonic pronoun for emphasis, how would it be expressed? I don't understand what makes it Indirect (other than the existence of a second Direct Object).
PS I have a nagging feeling that you have told me something before which contains an answer to the first question, but I can't track it down.
That's the beauty of French reflexive verbs. The reflexive pronoun can be a direct or indirect object if the verb allows for a double object.
"Elle s'est coupé la main" literally means "elle a coupé la main à elle-même", so the missing bit is "à".
The meaning is closer to "... la main d'elle-même = sa main" but indirect object pronouns only work if the preposition is "à". I agree it would be far easier for foreigners to use "Elle a coupé sa main", but the convoluted construction works better for us.
Typically, verbs don't have 2 direct objects (except in lists, of course). I'm not sure it is different in English:
Donner quelque chose à quelqu'un = To give someone something / To give something to someone.
- Elle a donné une chance à ce candidat = She gave a chance to this candidate/She gave this candidate a chance.
- Elle s'est donné une chance = She gave a chance to herself/She gave herself a chance.