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French grammar - Own and clean - propre

Own and clean - propre

The adjective propre has two meanings:


'own' - as in 'one's own'

Its meaning depends on its position relative to the noun it modifies.

After the noun - like all normal adjectives - it means 'clean'.

-- The feminine remains propre and the plural is propes.

But before the noun - and normally with a possessive - it means 'own' and is invariant.

La table est toute propre.
The table is completely clean.

After the noun so propre is 'clean'

Je viens de nettoyer la table, elle doit être propre.
I just cleaned the table; it must be clean.
Je veux ma propre chambre.
I want my own room.

Before the nous (with a possessive pronoun) so propre is 'own'

Maria a fabriqué la table de ses propres mains.
Maria made the table with her own hands.
Il ne porte pas ses propres chaussures !
He doesn't wear his own shoes!
Même si elle est toute petite, elle a déjà son propre vélo.
Even though she is very small, she already has her own bike.
Il creuse sa propre tombe.
He digs his own grave.
Il ne veut pas faire son propre travail.
He doesn't want to do his own work.
Ils ont leur propre culture unique.
They have their own unique culture.
Chaque État a sa propre constitution et son propre gouvernement.
Each state has its own constitution and its own government.
Il a suivi son propre chemin.
He followed his own path. *OR* He went his own way.
Chacun croit sa propre version des événements.
Everyone believes their own version of events.
Je dors dans mon propre lit.
I sleep in my own bed.

Before the nous (with a possessive pronoun) so propre is 'own'

Je dors dans mon lit propre.
I sleep in my clean bed.

After the noun so propre is 'clean'