Complément d’attribution: A Great Guide for French Learners

complément d'attribution a great guide for french learners

The Complément d’attribution is a grammatical construct that indicates who or what is doing an action in a sentence. It’s an essential topic in French that any learner has to be familiar with because it helps to give meaning and a clear message to your sentence. We’ll show you the types and give you examples so you feel confident enough to use them daily.

Three main types of Complément d’Attribution

When you’re talking about this specific grammatical construct, you need to keep in mind that there are three types of Complément d’Attribution, which in itself is a type of COI (Complément d’Objet Indirect). You have the nominal, the pronominal, and the verbal. In each, there are different words that are performing the sentence in question.

The nominal type is a noun or a pronoun that performs the action in the sentence.

You also have the pronomial type where the pronoun is what holds the role of performing the action in the sentence.

And finally, but certainly not least, you have the verbal type that it’s now the verb that performs the action in the sentence.

How to use them in a sentence?

So, if there are three types of Complément d’attribution, you might be wondering how to use them, don’t worry we’ll explain.

  • When you’re employing a noun or a pronoun for it to do the action, you’re using the nominal type. They’re normally placed after the verb.

Marie écrit une lettre.

Marie writes a letter.

For example in the sentence above, Marie is the nominal complement and it tells us that she’s the one that’s performing the action.

  • If you want to use the pronomial type, you need to employ a pronoun to perform the action in your sentence, you normally place it after the verb.

Ils jouent dans le parc.

They’re playing in the park.

In the sentence right above, ils is the pronomial complément d’attribution and is the pronoun that helps us know who is doing the action.

  • In the complément d’attribution in which the verb is the word that helps you know who or what is doing the main action in the sentence. This is usually placed after the main verb.

Je veux écrire un livre.

I want to write a book.

In this sentence, écrire is the verb that helps us spot the action the subject wants to do.

You need to keep in mind that not all verbs need a complement d’attribution and that some verbs can have more than one complement, it all depends on the meaning you want to give to the sentence or the context you’re using it with.

Now you can use a Complément d’Attribution in your sentences

Understanding and using the Complément d’Attribution is an essential tool you now have to boost your grammar knowledge. The main thing you need to keep in mind is that there are three branches of complements and that the role they play is the same, they’re helping people know who or what is doing the main action. So now that you know when and how to use them, feel free to put your knowledge to the test.

Read more about All you Need to Know About French COI: Compléments d’objet indirect

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