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Le Passé Composé

Le Passé Composé

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Published by: IBscrewed4ib on Jul 13, 2010
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07/27/2013

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Passé Composé
The Perfect Tense
Le passé composé is the most commonly used form of the past tense in French. Once youknow it, you will be able to express a huge range of ideas in spoken form. It is also aplatform for other tenses, including the
pluperfect
[
Plus-que-parfait 
],
future perfect
[
 futur antérieur 
],
past conditional
[
 passé du conditionnel 
],
past anterior
[
 passé antérieur 
] and the
 passé surcomposé
. While the prospect of learning all these additional tenses may frightenyou, I can assure them that you will find them easy if you simply get a good mastery of thepassé composé.Le passé composé is also called the conversational past tense, and is used when talkingabout an action that was completed at a definite time in the past. The English equivalent is
I asked; she said; we went 
.” However, in form, it is like “
I have asked; she has said; we havebeen.
 
Form
Le passé composé is a compound tense, which means that it has two parts: the auxiliaryverb and the past participle. The auxiliary verb is either the present form of 
avoir
or
être
.
 J’ai vu
Tu as eu Il a parlé
I saw You had He spoke
Past Participles
The past participle is the last word in all of the phrases [
vu, eu, parlé
].Short adverbs, like bien, are placed before the past participle. However, others, likelentement, are placed after it.Elle a
bien
chanté Elle a chanté
lentement 
She sang well She sang slowly
 
 
Regular 
– 
er Verbs
Regular -er verbs drop the
 –
er from the infinitive and replace it with
 –
é to form the pastparticiple.parler
 –
to speak
 parlé
 j’ai
 parlé
nous avons
 parlé
tu as
 parlé
vous avez
parlé
 il/ elle/ on a
 parlé
ils/ elles ont
 parlé
 
-ir Verbs
Although many
 –
ir verbs are irregular in the present tense, some of these still have regularpast participles. The
 –
ir is replaced with
 –
idormir
 –
to sleep
dormi 
 j’ai
dormi 
nous avons
dormi 
 tu as
dormi 
vous avez
dormi 
 il/ elle/ on a
dormi 
ils/ elles ont
dormi 
 
-re Verbs
Again, although many
 –
re verbs are irregular in the present tense, some of them still haveregular past participles. The
 –
re is replaced with
 –
u.répondre
 –
to respond
répondu
 j’ai
répondu
nous avons
répondu
 tu as
répondu
vous avez
répondu
 il/ elle/ on a
répondu
ils/ elles ont
répondu
 
 
 
Irregular Past Participles
Note that many of these can be grouped together:
Infinitive English Past Participle
être
to be
étérire
to laugh
risourire
to smile
sourisuffire
to suffice
suffisuivre
to follow 
suiviacquérir
to acquire, purchase
acquisconquérir
to conquer, capture
conquismettre
to put 
misprendre
to take
prisapprendre
to learn
appriscomprendre
to understand 
comprissurprendre
to surprise
surprisereprendre
to recapture
reprisdire
to say 
ditécrire
to write
écritdécrire
to describe
décritconduire
to take/ drive sbsomewhere
conduitconstruire
to construct, build 
construitcuire
to cook 
cuitdétruire
to destroy 
détruitproduire
to produce
produitrecontruire
to reconstruct 
reconstruittraduire
to translate
traduitfaire
to do, make
fait

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