Imparfait v pass compos
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Imparfait v. Passé Composé. Imparfait vs. Passé Composé. The imparfait and the passé composé are both used to express past occurrences, but their uses are distinctly different. Uses of Passé Composé. The passé composé is used to express. completed. past. actions. For example:

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Imparfait v. Passé Composé

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Imparfait v pass compos

Imparfait v. Passé Composé


Imparfait vs pass compos

Imparfait vs. Passé Composé

The imparfait and the passécomposé are both used to express past occurrences, but their uses are distinctly different.


Uses of pass compos

Uses of Passé Composé

The passé composé is used to express

completed

past

actions

For example:

Hier, j ’ai fini ma rédaction d ’anglais.

Ce matin, nous avons vu un film dans la classe d ’histoire.


Uses of pass compos1

Uses of Passé Composé

In these sentences, whether or not it is stated, one could specify an exact time at which the event took place.

(à 3h15)

Hier, j ’ai fini ma rédaction d ’anglais.

(à 9h36)

Ce matin, nous avons vu un film dans la classe d ’histoire.


Uses of imparfait

Uses of Imparfait

The imparfait, however, by definition, means imperfect. Its uses are much less clearly defined.

They fall into three basic categories:

  • habitual past actions

  • continuing past actions

  • conditions (non-actions)

(used to do)

(was doing)

(did)


Habitual past actions

Habitual Past Actions

An habitual past action is one that occurred repeatedly over a long period of time.

For example:

We used to play baseball every day.

Nous jouions au baseball tous les jours.


Habitual past actions1

Habitual Past Actions

Careful! Habitual past actions are not necessarily translated as « used to.. »

For example:

Quand j ’étais jeune, je me promenais à l ’école tous les jours.

might be translated

When I was young, I walked to school every day.

The key is that the action occurred repeatedly in the past.


Continuing past actions

Continuing Past Actions

For example:

Je faisais la vaiselle quand tu m’as téléphoné.

I was doing the dishes when you called me.

The imparfait is also used to express actions that were going on when something else happened.


Continuing past actions1

Continuing Past Actions

When it is used to express a continuing past action, the imparfait is often,but not always, used in combination with the passé composé.

Examples:

Quand j’ai vu Charles, il parlait avec Georges.

Il faisait beau. Le soleil brillait et il y avait une belle brise. (Eventually, an action occurs in a later sentence.)


Conditions non actions

Conditions (non-actions)

There is a class of verbs which do not express action at all. Rather, they express conditions, states of being, or states of mind. When these verbs occur in a past tense, it is almost always the imparfait.


Conditions non actions1

Conditions (non-actions)

Some of these verbs are:

être avoir vouloir

pouvoirsavoir désirer

connaîtrepensercroire

se sentirespéreraimer

faire (w/ expressions of weather)


Conditions non actions2

Conditions (non-actions)

Examples:

Quand j ’avais six ans, j ’aimais jouer au cache-cache.

Ce matin, nous ne voulions pas aller à l ’école.

Jean ne savait pas faire son devoir, et il était très frustré.

non-action

non-action

non-action

non-action

non-action


Summary

Summary

Remember that the passé composé is used to express completed past actions.

The imparfait expresses

habitual past actions

continuing past actions

conditions (non-actions)


Test yourself

Test Yourself

Complete the following sentences with the appropriate verb form:

Anne-Marie ______ en France quand

(habiter)

elle __________.

(se marier)

continuing past action

habitait

completed past action

s ’est mariée


Test yourself1

Test Yourself

completed past action

ont quitté

Quand ils ____________ le château,

(quitter)

ils _________ fatigués, et il

(être)

__________ très chaud.

(faire)

étaient

condition

faisait

condition


Test yourself2

Test Yourself

completed past action

a demandé

Le garçon ____________ à nos amis

(demander)

ce qu ’ils ___________ prendre. Ils

(vouloir)

____________ une glâce.

(commander)

voulaient

condition

ont commandé

completed past action


Test yourself3

Test Yourself

condition

était

Quand elle _________ plus jeune,

(être)

Suzanne ________ français et

(parler)

anglais. Mais elle __________

(oublier)

l ’anglais.

parlait

habitual past action

a oublié

completed past action


Test yourself4

Test Yourself

continuing past action

jouait

Ma soeur __________ au football

(jouer)

quand elle ___________ et

(tomber)

___________ la cheville.

(se fouler)

est tombée

completed past action

s ’est foulé

completed past action


Test yourself5

Test Yourself

condition

avais

Quand j ’_________ neuf ans,

(avoir)

j ’ __________ à Paris, et j(e)

(habiter)

_________ le métro tous les jours.

(prendre)

habitais

condition

prenais

habitual past action


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