Le passé antérieur in French
The past anterior (French: le passé antérieur) is used most often with the litterary past tense to express the anteriority of an action.
Formation of the past anterior in French
|Personal pronouns||Litterary past tense of avoir or être||Past participle||Object|
|Nous||Fûmes||allés||voir ton père|
|Il||Eut||donné||une très bonne leçon aux élèves|
Le passé antérieur with 'être'
Verbs using 'être' are state verbs. They do not designate an action but a statement. The past anterior with 'être' agrees in gender and number with the noun they qualify. There are many verbs and among them you find:
|Partir - to leave||Aller - to go||Venir - to come|
|Je fus partit||Je fus allé(e)||Je fus venu(e)|
|Tu fus partit||Tu fus allé(e)||Tu fus venu(e)|
|Il/elle/on fut partit||Il/elle/on fut allé(e)||Il/elle/on fut venu(e)|
|Nous fûmes parti(e)s||Nous fûmes allé(e)s||Nous fûmes venu(e)s|
|Vous fûtes parti(e)s||Vous fûtes allé(e)s||Vous fûtes venu(e)s|
|Ils/elles furent parti(e)s||Ils/elles furent allé(e)s||Ils/elles furent venu(e)s|
Others verbs that use the auxiliary verb 'être'.
- mourir (to die)
- devenir (to become)
- tomber (to fall)
- arriver (to arrive)
- sortir (to exit)
- revenir (to return)
- entrer (to enter)
- rester (to stay)
- retourner (to turn over)
- descendre (to go down)
- rentrer (to come back)
- monter (to go up)
- naître (to be born)
- repartir (to set off again)
The past anterior with 'avoir'
Verbs using 'avoir' are active verbs. They designate an action. The past participle conjugated with the auxiliary 'avoir' does not agree with the subject. It agrees with the Direct Object Pronoun placed before the verb.
|J'eus pris||J'eus mangé||J'eus fini|
|Tu eus pris||Tu eus mangé||Tu eus fini|
|Il/elle/on eut pris||Il/elle/on eut mangé||Il/elle/on eut fini|
|Nous eûmes pris||Nous eûmes mangé||Nous eûmes fini|
|Vous eûtes pris||Vous eûtes mangé||Vous eûtes fini|
|Ils/elles eurent pris||Ils/elles eurent mangé||Ils/elles eurent fini|
You use the auxiliary 'avoir' to conjugate the past participle of 'avoir' and 'être'
- Nous eûmes eu une bonne note, ce jour-là
- Nous fûmes été au zoo.
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