French Verbs and their Favorite Past Tenses
Predilections of Classes of French Verbs
Tips for deciding between the imparfait and the passé composé in French, and in particular classes of verbs that tend to be in the one rather than the other.
Compound Past: Tips for Translating
Don't Let the Passé composé Trip You Up!
Certain forms of the passé composé or Compound Pass are easy to mistake for something they are not. Not only House-of-Being verbs, but pronominal verbs and verbs in the passive voice, when they are in the passé composé, may trick the inexperienced into thinking they are in some other tense.
A Semi-Auxiliary Without Peer
The verb devoir in all its many forms and meanings: as a verb in its own right, but especially as a semi-auxiliary, in which capacity it performs an astonishing number of functions.
Both a Semi-Auxliary and a Verb in Its Own Right
The French verb savoir as a semi-auxiliary verb and as a verb in its own right; its uses and meanings in passé composé and in imparfait are contrasted.
The Ins & Outs of the Passé composé
The passé composé formed with avoir, with être; when the past participle agrees with…something…
To & Fro Twixt English & French Past Tenses
What Each Tense in One Language Can Be in the Other
A table showing what a French past tense can be in English and what an English past tense can be in French.
Aspects of French Past Tenses
On the great divide between the perfective (passé composé, passé simple) and the imperfective (imparfait) in French.
Temporal Expressions & Their Tenses
Prepositions of time such as depuis, il y a, and pendant, the tenses they are used with, and what they mean.
Formation of the simple past: regular & irregular verbs.
Ficelle, tu m’a sauvé de la vie!
A very happy song about a singer, who sings day and night… Very, very upbeat… From the incomparable Charles Trenet.
Il était une bergère
Ma fille, pour pénitence, / Nous nous embrasserons
This song is now relegated to children, but its matter is far from exemplary: misbehavior on the part of cats, shepherdesses, and clergy.
Il y a tout ce que vous voulez / Aux Champs-Elysées
The signature song (from 1969) of Joe Dassin. One of the positive remote effects of Hollywood blacklisting.
Au clair de la lune
Ouvrez votre porte, Pour le dieu d'amour
The arch-typical traditional French song, recounting the nocturnal adventures of Pierrot, Lubin, and an unnamed third person.