Bootstrap French Grammar

Learn French Grammar step-by-step

French grammar - To find and to be located - the verbs trouver and se trouver

To find and to be located - the verbs trouver & se trouver

The verb trouver and its reflexive counterpart se trouver are both very common.

The verb trouver means 'to find' or 'to be able to find'.

-- It's meaning can also be figurative (like in English) to give one's impression of something - as in 'I find that strange'.

-- Trouver does not means 'to look for' - that is the verb chercher.

The reflexive form se trouver means 'to find oneself' or 'to be located'

-- The form is commonly used to talk about the location of something.

-- It is also be used to talk about one's state of being.

Both trouver and se trouver are regular -ER verbs.

Examples:
Je ne trouve pas mes lunettes.
I can't find my glasses.

In the present tense trouver in the sense of 'to find' is only used in the negative - 'to be unable to find'. Je trouve mes lunettes. doesn't really make sense.

Je cherche mes clés, mais je ne les trouve pas.
I'm looking for my keys but I can't find them.

chercher (verb) means 'to look for'

Je trouve ça très bizarre.
I find that very odd.

bizarre (m) means 'odd' or 'strange'

Je trouve ses parents très cool.
I find his parents very cool.

cool (m) means 'cool' (Very common in young colloquial French)

Je les trouve trop cool.
I find them so cool.

trop colloquially can also mean 'so' or 'really'

Je ne le trouve pas du tout intéressant.
I don't find him interesting at all.
L'escalade - trouvez-vous cela dangereux ?
Climbing - do you find it dangerous?
Je trouve ça extrêmement dangereux !
I find that extremely dangerous.

extrêmement (adverb) means 'extremely'

Où se trouve la poste ?
Where is the post office?

The reflexive se trouver talking about location

La poste se trouve au bout de cette rue.
The post office is at the end of this street.

bout (m) means 'end'

Où se trouve la tour Eiffel ?
Where is the Eiffel Tower?
La tour Eiffel se trouve à Paris.
The Eiffel Tower is located in Paris.
Nice se trouve dans le sud de la France.
Nice is in the South of France.
Les Champs-Élysées, ils ne se trouvent pas à Lille ?
The Champs Elysées, aren't they (isn't it) in Lille?
Vous vous trouvez devant une maison très ancienne.
You are in front of a very old house.

Or 'We find ourselves in front of'

Nous nous trouvons d'accord avec le président.
We agree with the president.

Or 'We find ourselves in agreement with the president'

Je me trouve bien.
I am well.

The reflexive se trouver talking personal state of being

Je ne me trouve pas bien.
I don't feel well.
Je me trouve mal.
I fainted. / I passed out.

The past tense must be implied

On se trouve belles.
We find ourselves beautiful.
Elles te trouvent sympa.
They (females) find you nice.
Et maintenant, nous nous trouvons dans une situation difficile.
And now we find ourselves in a difficult situation.