What is the passé composé in French?
The passé composé is one of the terms in French used the most, so it is extremely important to understand. This term is the French equivalent of the simple past.
Hier, j’ai travaillé dans un café. (passé composé)
Yesterday, I worked in a coffee shop. (simple past)
When and How to use the passé composé:
The passé composé is used when you want to talk about actions that occurred in the past and to put emphasis on their effects in the present.
The passé composé is a compound tense, meaning that it is made up of a combination of the auxiliary verbs être or avoir and the past participle.
How to conjugate the passé composé:
Following the coffee shop example above, the formation for a passé composé sentence would be the following:
Passé Composé Sentence Formation:
auxiliary verb avoir + past participle + verb
First, will need to learn how to conjugate the auxiliary verb:
|Pronouns||Auxiliary avoir (to have)||Auxiliary être (to be )|
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Then, moving on to the past participles, they vary according to the group they belong to:
Verbs ending in -er
Verbs ending in -ir
All the other verbs
-er becomes -é
-ir becomes -i
-rir becomes -ert
-oir and -re becomes -u
Voir-vu and perdre- perdu
-ire becomes -it
Mourir becomes mort
Être becomes été
faire becomes fait
Avoir becomes eu
But, be careful, the past participles have to agree in gender and number when used with the auxiliary verb être.
You have to add an s if the subject is plural and an e if the subject is feminine.
Here is a list of verbs that are used with the auxiliary verb être:
- entrer, sortir, retourner, rester, descendre, monter, tomber, arriver, partir, venir, aller, passer par, mourir, naître.
1. She came back early. (feminin+singular)
Elle est revenue tôt.
2. We were born on September 25th. (masculin+plural)
Nous sommes nés le 25 septembre.
3. They went to the beach. (feminine+plural)
Elles sont allées à la plage.