Is the passé simple used in spoken French at all in regions other than France, such as in Canada or in Africa? I know that it has largely fallen out of use in speech in France itself, but do these former French colonial areas maintain the use of the passé simple or of other historic grammar constructions?

  • 1
    Note that it has fallen out of use in France only in spoken french. It is still in use in written french in France.
    – Distic
    Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 16:38

2 Answers 2


In Canada, in the province of Québec, we do not use the passé simple in spoken french. We use passé composé instead.

We do however use it in litterature. Even then, we see it as formal and a lot of contemporary novels are written using passé composé. I would even say that it sets the tone of a book.

  • I'm from Montréal. I sometimes use the "passé simple", but in a comical way, the same way I'll use the "subjonctif imparfait". And with people who are apt to understand that I know that they know what I'm doing.
    – MasB
    Commented Nov 29, 2017 at 1:44

My wife is from Benin and I've never heard people there use the passé simple in everyday life. I suppose it is also true for most of French-speaking West Africa. West Africans can have more "châtié" French than French people though.

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