Questions tagged [imparfait]

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3
votes
1answer
60 views

“je me suis dit qu'il valait mieux se rendre chez elle”

Translation: I thought it would be better to go to her place. I'm not sure if it's proper French grammar, but it was a line in a movie. Why is it "qu'il valait" (an imperfect form of valoir) rather ...
1
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3answers
84 views

était fermé vs a fermé

The book that I'm studying French from always translates "The door was shut" as "La porte était fermée" instead of "La porte a fermée". Why so? Also, what would be the translation of using "était ...
4
votes
1answer
109 views

“Passé composé” vs imparfait" [duplicate]

Is there any efficient way to differentiate between "passé composé" and "imparfait"? In the current state of my knowledge , I am able to differentiate only for certain cases , e.g I know descriptions ...
1
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1answer
43 views

Practice with l’imparfait

I’m practicing my usage of l’imparfait (as well as a few vocabulary words and phrases) by writing a blog entry about my childhood. I’d like to know if the following is grammatically correct, and makes ...
2
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2answers
244 views

L'imparfait, le plus-que-parfait ou le passé composé

I am having troubles to understand the choice of the verbal times in the examples below. I don't understand why we should use le passé composé in the first one and l'imparfait in the second one? I ...
1
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2answers
67 views

Passe compose vs imparfait in “elle est tombée quand elle est descendue”

I have read a sentence online Elle est tombée quand elle est descendue au rez-de-chaussée de son immeuble ce matin. In this case, why is it that we didn't use l'imparfait ? Isn't it the people ...
2
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3answers
188 views

Passé Composé or Imparfait with souvent

Here we use the word "souvent in the sentence". Should I use: Il a souvent lu ce livre or Il lisait souvent ce livre Can anyone briefly let me know when to use passé composé and when to use l'...
-2
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1answer
51 views

Translation request in imparfait [closed]

Can you help me translate this in imparfait please? I was energetic, silly, a little angel, a very smart kid.
2
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2answers
48 views

“Vouloir” in passé composé or imparfait

À l’âge de 34 ans, lors d'une procession à Troyes, en Champagne, elle a découvert sa vocation de missionnaire et elle a voulu rejoindre la Nouvelle-France dont l'expansion était en pleine actualité. ...
1
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1answer
268 views

Does “je suis désolé” mean “I am sorry” or “I was sorry”?

Is je suis désolé past tense or not? Google translate doesn't think so. Will we use imparfait for it's past form as it is a feeling?
0
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2answers
86 views

What is the difference between passé compose and imparfait in the verb “aimer”?

In the following sentences: Nous avons aimé ce repas. Nous aimions ce repas. In these two sentences, the English translation would be same: We liked this meal. At first I thought that the ...
2
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2answers
44 views

Imperfect introducing a quote?

In the December issue of the Nouveau Magazine littéraire, I find the following sentence (p. 6): Considérons déjà que nous avons tous en commun ce qu'écrivait Georges Bataille: "La littérature est ...
3
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2answers
297 views

« Il a été constaté » ou « Il était constaté »

Soit la phrase Il a été constaté que les élastomères chargés après relaxation convergent vers un état dit stationnaire ou encore d’équilibre. et sa variante Il était constaté que les ...
1
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2answers
52 views

Corresponding verbs in indirect speech

In my self-teaching book it is written that if in the main sentence the verb is in the "passé composé", in the subordinate clause the verb should be in the "imparfait"; here is an example (the book is ...
4
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2answers
210 views

What is the difference between “le repas était délicieux” and “le repas a été délicieux”?

I studied at French class that "passé composé" is used as simple past in French language while it means present perfect. When I visited French sites, they mostly use "passé simple". So my question is ...
2
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2answers
239 views

Does “appe-” as part of the imparfait forms of “appeler” give me one or two syllables?

According to Wiktionary's conjugation table (below captured in portions), it would appear that appe- in the imparfait forms is one syllable (/a.p/, or strictly speaking one syllable and the consonant ...
1
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3answers
186 views

Imparfait de narration : Emploi du verbe mourir à l'imparfait (il mourait)

Albert Camus est mort accidentellement en 1960. J'ai rencontré la variante : Albert Camus mourait accidentellement en 1960. dans le livre French Grammar in Context (p. 14). Les auteurs parlent de ...
2
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2answers
123 views

Why are all verbs in conditional+past tense sentence structure imparfait?

Example sentence En Anglais- "While I was studying, you were watching TV" Correct translation-"Pendant que j’étudiais, tu regardais la télé" Obviously the first part aka the conditional of ...
2
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1answer
162 views

Why does “je devais” mean “I was supposed to” instead of “I used to need to”?

The imperfect tense is supposed to mean an action in the past was (and possibly still is) habitual, repeated, or continuous? I don't understand how that would imply failure. If someone said to me, "...
2
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2answers
60 views

Comment combiner des passé simples et des imparfaits ?

J'ai un peu de mal avec le choix et la concordance des temps. Quelqu'un peut-il m'aider et m'expliquer comment choisir. Que faut-il écrire ? Je retrouvais la cabane du montagnard et vis un panneau ...
3
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1answer
98 views

When did the subjonctif imparfait/passé simple turn into literary tenses?

I was wondering when exactly the "subjonctif imparfait" (and passé simple) fell out of (spoken) use, since they are still very much alive in other Romance languages. I had a look through a few ...
1
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1answer
117 views

Subjonctif Présent - BIG confusion

Hi there (my 1st question on fr SE but I use Stack Overflow a lot). So, I have somewhat 'mastered' the present, imperfect, passé composé and future. Now, I am trying to move on to subjonctif présent....
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2answers
136 views

French literature : mixed usage of historic and imperfect

I understand that French literature uses past historic. But I also see some imperfect used mixed with past historic in literature. Without hopefully violating copyright with the below sample, here is ...
2
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2answers
639 views

Why do the french use the imperfect tense when saying “I was” and “it was”?

Is "I was" in french "J'étais" or "Je fus" because I thought "J'étais" would be "I used to be" because it is in the imperfect tense but I have never seen "Je fus" before?? Basically what I am trying ...
2
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2answers
118 views

How to interpret “pouvais toujours” here?

{I said}: Pour vous faire passer une radio, rendez-vous à la salle là-bas. {A patient said}: Ah, c’était donc bien par là. Je pouvais toujours chercher à un autre étage ! Merci. I've never heard ...
8
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2answers
4k views

Imparfait or Passé Composé: “j'étais absent” or “j'ai été absent”?

I am a beginner in French language and I still find it hard to wrap around my head between Imparfait and Passé Composé. I know that Imparfait is used to describe continuous actions in past as well as ...
1
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1answer
112 views

Tense in “Chaque jour + past”

Quand j'étais enfant, chaque jour ma mère ___ un conte. Should the passé composé m'a lu or the imparfait me lisait go there? I tend toward the imparfait because the sentence is about an action that ...
3
votes
1answer
354 views

Imparfait or Passé Composé?

Fill in the blank using the appropriate conjugation of the given verb (vouloir): Hier, tous les gens ______(vouloir) parler ensemble. I think the verb should be conjugated in the Passé Compose ...
3
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1answer
152 views

How tenses formed in french

I've recently been studying the: -Imperfect; -Simple Future; and -Conditional (mood) in French, and I'm wondering why the tenses are constructed in the way that they are. For the imperfect, one ...
1
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2answers
115 views

Tense in “There wasn't enough time”

"I couldn't finish the exam in time yesterday. There wasn't enough time." Je n'ai pas pu finir l'examen à temps hier. Il (n'y avait pas / n'y a pas eu) assez de temps. Is the imparfait or the ...
3
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1answer
120 views

Understanding “Et comme si le temps eût pu s’arrêter avec moi”

The question is on this beautiful passage from chapter 7 of La porte étroite by André Gide and particularly the highlighted words. Elle était au fond du jardin. Je m’acheminai vers ce rond-point, ...
1
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2answers
86 views

Is there a greater suggestion of continuance in historic present than in imperfect?

This question is on these two sentences. The first one is from chapter 6 of La porte étroite by André Gide. Miss Ashburton, dont la santé depuis quelques mois déclinait, mourut quatre jours avant ...
2
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1answer
267 views

Expanding Infinitif passé to imparfait or plus-que-parfait

The question is on this sentence from chapter 7 of La porte étroite by André Gide. (P) Alissa t’attend dans le jardin, me dit mon oncle, après m’avoir embrassé paternellement lorsque, à la fin d’...
2
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2answers
156 views

How to turn imparfait into infinitif when the imparfait denotes a duration terminated by passé simple

The question is on this sentence from chapter 6 of La porte étroite by André Gide. Miss Ashburton, dont la santé depuis quelques mois déclinait, mourut quatre jours avant Noël. Dorothy Bussy's ...
0
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3answers
90 views

Tense in “avoir/vivre une vie difficile”

"He had/lived a difficult life." Should we use the imparfait or the passé composé in the translation? Il avait/vivait une vie difficile. Il a eu/vécu une vie difficile. On the one hand, a ...
2
votes
1answer
110 views

Why do we use the passé composé when saying “there have always been x”?

For instance, "There have always been racists" is "Il y a toujours eu des racistes" NOT "Il y avait toujours des racistes". Based on what we're taught in French textbooks/classes, the passé composé ...
1
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2answers
386 views

Passe Compose vs Imparfait - Inconsistency in Usage

The difference between le passé compose et l'imparfait is clearly explained to a French learner by differentiating between a 'once off' event vs. something habitual or over an extended period of time. ...
2
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1answer
1k views

What is the difference between “il fallait” and “il a fallu”?

Il fallait trouver un autre solution. Il a fallu trouver un autre solution. This question has been bugging me for a while. Should I use "il fallait" to mean... There was a situation in the ...
4
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2answers
1k views

Translation of “I was there”

-- A: Were you at the party yesterday evening? -- B: Yes, I was there! What should be the translation of "I was there"? -- A: Est-ce que tu as été à la fête hier soir? -- B: Oui, j'y ai ...
3
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2answers
116 views

Tense in “I had a cold (for three days) last week.”

"I had a cold last week." Should this be translated using the imparfait "J'avais un rhume la semaine dernière" or the passé composé "J'ai eu un rhume la semaine dernière"? I think it should be the ...
4
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3answers
531 views

Utilisation de l'imparfait avec des questions

J'ai une question concernant l'utilisation de l'imparfait avec des questions. Donc, pourquoi "Comment étaient tes vacances?" est-il correct (et pourquoi n'utilise-t-on pas "Comment ont été tes ...
2
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1answer
122 views

Why the need to say “je l'ai été” instead of “je l'étais”?

Vous avez l'air d'être l'un d'eux, comme je l'ai été moi-même, autrefois. Vous avez l'air d'être l'un d'eux, comme je l'étais moi-même, autrefois. The phrase "I used to be one of them myself" ...
1
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1answer
122 views

Passé composé ou imparfait dans le cas du verbe « savoir »

Imaginez quelques personnes qui ont découvert hier un magasin à côté de leur maison qui existe depuis longtemps. Est-ce qu'il faut exprimer cette pensée avec imparfait (ils ne savaient pas assez ...
2
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3answers
90 views

An English equivalent for: “on voyait s'élever”, “on leur répondait” in an ambiguous context?

What is the exact sense of "on voyait s'élever" in the text below? Depuis quelques années déjà les amis de M. Ader avaient vent d'une machine à voler que le savant électricien devait un jour ou l'...
2
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0answers
53 views

Quelle est la difference entre devoir en l'imparfait et devoir dans le passe composé ? [duplicate]

Quelle est la difference entre « devoir » en l'imparfait et « devoir » dans le passé composé ? Je sais que « devoir » dans le passé composé signifie « what had to have happened » ou « what had to be ...
4
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1answer
152 views

“Alors qu'il s'était allongé” or “alors qu'il s'était allongeait”?

I saw the following sentence in the tale "three little pigs" (you have to start somewhere, right :); Alors que le petit cochon venait juste de finir de construire sa maison et qu'il s'était allongé ...
1
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1answer
321 views

(L'Étranger de Camus) A past tense mental-state verb to introduce an irreal in présent conditionnel

In this older post, I got an answer from Kyrio, which may be summarized as Principle: Imparfait indicatif and présent conditionnel used for an irreal situation backshifts to plus-que-parfait ...
4
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2answers
1k views

« Je n'avais pas le temps » ou « Je n'ai pas eu le temps » ?

Quelle est la différence entre : Je n'avais pas le temps. et Je n'ai pas eu le temps. Dans quelles occasions utilisez-vous chaque phrase ?
2
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3answers
495 views

Why is “Personne n'arrivait” using passé composé and not imparfait?

I would like to extend further this question No one has arrived in English would translate to Personne n'est arrivé in French. In English we would use present perfect tense because it signifies ...
2
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5answers
2k views

How to say “we didn't have fun there” in French ?

Nous sommes allés à la piscine. I then want to say that we didn't have fun there because the water was too cold. Can I say: Nous n'allons pas eu nous amuser parce que l'eau était trop froide. ...