Vous me raconterez comment s’est passé votre entretien à votre retour.

{instead of}: Vous me raconterez comment se sera passé votre entretien à votre retour.

At the time of their conversation, the interlocutor has not yet gone through an interview. So I'd be tempted to use a future-related tense. I wonder why Passé Composé "s’est passé" is the one to plump for here?

  • We use both, i'm not sure if the passé composé is correct here, but we definitely use it more, maybe because it's easier. We would say tu me diras ce qui aura été décidé, or tu me diras ce qui est décidé. The first one is more precise since in the second it could also mean you'll tell me in future what has been already decided a I'm speaking. Then I think it's more correct but in every day french, no one would notice. I' curious to other people's answer... Oct 14, 2017 at 13:00
  • @EmmanuelBRUNO Hi. This is just a wild guess, but the idea of uncertainty (regardless of its degree) might be intrinsic to Futur Antérieur. {e.g.: « Dès que la neige aura fondu, je partirai. » The snow might let up as expected, or just turn into a blizzard, contrary to all expectations.} Oct 14, 2017 at 15:18
  • @EmmanuelBRUNO ... Whereas in this example, the interview will take place beyond a shadow of a doubt, whether the outcome be good or bad. Which is why the speaker regarded "se passer" as certainty, hence the use of Passé Composé, I wonder? Oct 14, 2017 at 15:22
  • 2
    It's a natural and cross-linguistic phenomenon, an on-the-fly mental transposition of the speaker in the SRE schema. It's done in English too: "You'll be back in November? You'll have to tell me how your trip went" (as opposed to "will have gone"!). Why is this done? Perhaps it's cognitively or conjugationally easier to position yourself posterior to the event that will be recounted, even if in reality you're in the past...
    – Luke Sawczak
    Oct 14, 2017 at 15:46

2 Answers 2


The first sentence with "s'est passé" is not semantically correct as the interlocutor has not yet had the interview (but it is grammatically correct).

The passé composé should only be used when the action is in the past when we talk (for instance see here).

So with:

Vous me raconterez comment s’est passé votre entretien à votre retour.

we should understand that the interview is already in the past (when the interlocutor is talking).

But (as said in the comments) this tense is more simple and is often used as, in many situations, there is no ambiguity about the "when" the action was or will be accomplished.

The difference is more obvious in this example (and probably in many cases using a verb with "avoir" as auxiliary):

Tu me diras quand tu as terminé (incorrect)

Tu me diras quand tu auras terminé (correct)

PS about the (un)certainty mentioned in the comments: these tenses are not used to express a doubt or uncertainty even if what we are talking about may never occur. The sentence itself is not uncertain: "when X, then Y" can be always true even if X never occurs.

  • 2
    Hmmmm... @lemon it's funny, I think we don't make the error if we reorder the sentence. We always say Quand t'auras terminé tu me diras and not Quand t'as terminé tu me diras we'd rather say Quand t'as terminé, tu me dis... Bizarre...
    – jcm69
    Oct 14, 2017 at 18:57
  • But for the 1st sentence... Can't we say Comment s'est passé votre entretien, vous me le direz à votre retour"... It's just like if *Comment s'est passé was a kind of citation, a frozen expression...
    – jcm69
    Oct 14, 2017 at 19:10
  • 1
    @jcm69, I think it is because "Tu me diras quand tu as terminé" can be ambiguous. Is it "to know when it will be finished" or "to be warned once finished"?
    – lemon
    Oct 15, 2017 at 7:40

The French usage is identical to English usage. It may be grammatically more correct to say "Tell me how it will have gone on your return" than "Tell me how it went on your return", but no-one really says or writes the former.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.