• French grammar
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  • 1 French alphabet
  • 2 French pronunciation and phonetics [0/7]
  • 3 Nature and function of French words [0/23]
  • Multiple choice exercise about the nature of French words (Score -/-)
  • Multiple choice questions about the function of French words (Score -/-)
  • 3.1 The subject in French [0/3]
  • 3.2 The apostrophe and apposition in French [0/2]
  • 3.3 The complement object in French [0/12]
  • 3.4 The circumstancial complement in French [0/2]
  • 3.5 The agent complement in French [0/2]
  • 4 French articles [0/9]
  • 5 French nouns [0/13]
  • 6 French pronouns [0/20]
  • Multiple choice questions about the pronouns in French (Score -/-)
  • 6.1 French personal pronouns - je, tu, il [0/3]
  • 6.2 French possessive pronouns - le mien, le tien [0/2]
  • 6.3 French reflexive pronouns - me, te, se [0/2]
  • 6.4 French demonstrative pronouns - celui, celle, ceux [0/2]
  • 6.5 French relative pronouns - qui, que, qu' [0/4]
  • 6.6 French indefinite pronouns - tout, chacun [0/2]
  • 6.7 French interrogative pronouns - qui, que, lequel [0/2]
  • 6.8 French adverbial pronouns - en, y [0/2]
  • 7 French adjectives [0/17]
  • Multiple choice questions about the epithet, attribute in French (Score -/-)
  • 7.1 Endings of regular and irregular French adjectives [0/3]
  • 7.2 Comparative and superlative of French adjectives [0/3]
  • 7.3 Placement of French adjectives [0/2]
  • 7.4 French possessive adjectives - mon, ton, son [0/4]
  • 7.5 French demonstrative adjectives - ce, cette [0/2]
  • 7.6 French indefinite adjectives - toutes, quelques [0/2]
  • 8 French adverbs [0/18]
  • 9 French prepositions [0/10]
  • 10 French verbs [0/135]
  • 10.1 Tenses and moods in French [0/63]
  • 10.1.1 Indicative in French [0/26]
  • 10.1.1.1 Present tense in French [0/2]
  • 10.1.1.2 Past tenses in French [0/13]
  • 10.1.1.3 Future tenses in French [0/11]
  • 10.1.2 Subjunctive in French (le Subjonctif) [0/11]
  • 10.1.3 Conditional in French (le conditionnel) [0/10]
  • 10.1.4 Imperative in French [0/3]
  • 10.1.5 Infinitive in French [0/4]
  • 10.1.6 Gerund in French [0/2]
  • 10.1.7 Present participle in French [0/3]
  • 10.1.8 Past participle in French [0/4]
  • 10.2 French auxiliary verbs (avoir, être) [0/11]
  • 10.3 Modal verbs in French [0/17]
  • Fill in the blank exercise for the modal verbs in French (Score -/-)
  • 10.3.1 Conjugation of pouvoir (can) in French [0/4]
  • 10.3.2 Conjugation of devoir (should) in French [0/4]
  • 10.3.3 conjugation of vouloir (want) in French [0/4]
  • 10.3.4 Conjugation of savoir (to know) in French [0/4]
  • 10.4 Passive voice in French [0/4]
  • 10.5 Reflexive verbs in French [0/4]
  • 10.6 Irregular verbs in French [0/24]
  • Fill in the blanks exercise of the irregular verbs in French (Score -/-)
  • Fill in the blanks exercise of the irregular verbs in French II (Score -/-)
  • 10.6.1 Conjugation of venir (to come) in French [0/4]
  • 10.6.2 conjugation of aller (to go) in French [0/4]
  • 10.6.3 conjugation of faire (to do) in French [0/4]
  • 10.6.4 conjugation of prendre (to take) in French [0/3]
  • 10.6.5 conjugation of voir (to see) in French [0/3]
  • 10.6.6 Conjugation of partir (to leave) in French [0/4]
  • 10.7 Regular verbs in French [0/8]
  • 10.8 Reported Speech in French [0/4]
  • 11 French sentence structure [0/25]
  • Multiple choice questions about the sentence structure in French (Score -/-)
  • 11.1 The phrases in French [0/5]
  • 11.2 The forms of phrases in French [0/7]
  • 11.3 The types of phrases in French [0/8]
  • 11.4 The propositions in French [0/4]
  • 12 French si clauses [0/3]
  • 13
  • Past tenses in French

    Types of past tenses in French

    One of the most remarkable differences between the English and French grammar are the verb tenses. So before you start studying them you have to know that some tenses might be different in English and the other way round. 

    In English In French
    Imperfect

    Imparfait

    Completed Past

    Passé composé

    Pluperfect

    Plus-que-parfait 

    Past anterior Pass antérieur
    Litterary past tense Passé simple

    Passé composé vs Imparfait

    In general we have to make a big difference between the passé composé (present perfect) and the imperfect tense in French. Therefore pay close attention to the following rules:

    • The imperfect tense is used to describe continuing actions, habitual actions or past actions of longer duration.
    • The completed past is used to express an action which definitely began and was completed in the past.  

    Examples

    L'imparfait (Imperfect) Le passé composé (Completed past)

    Il jouait au football tous les samedis.

    (He played football every saturday.)

    Il a joué au football hier.

    (He played football yesterday.)

    Elle parlait souvent au professeur.

    (She often spoke to the teacher.)

    Elle a parlé une fois au professeur.

    (She spoke to the teacher once.)

    Plus-que-parfait vs Passé antérieur

    When it comes to the plus-que parfait (past perfect) and the passé antérieur we also have to make several distinctions.

    • The plus-que-parfait is used to express actions that took place before a certain point in the past. 
    • The passé antérieur is used after conjunctions of time (lorsque, quand) and aims to describe actions that have already been completed after another action took place. 

    Examples

    Le plus-que-parfait Le passé antérieur

    Hier j'ai vu Sandra qui avait été quinze jours sur la Côte d'Azur.

    (Yesterday I saw Sandra who had spent fifteen days at the French Riviera.)

    Je fus arrivé à la plage.

    (I had arrived at the beach.)

    Il était allé à l’école de management.

    (He had gone to management school.)

    Anne et Christiane se furent téléphoné.

    (Anne and Christiane had spoken on the telephone.)

    yes For further information concerning the past tenses in French check out our subchapters!

    Exercises

    Imperfect vs Completed past exercise

    Litterary past tense vs Past anterior exercise

    Next lessons

    1 Imperfect in French Get an overview about the imparfait and passé simple in French and study this topic online.
    2 le passé simple in French Get an comprehensive overview about the litterary past tense in French
    3 Completed Past in French (Passé composé) Get an overview about the present perfect in French and study this topic online.
    4 Pluperfect in French (Plus-que-parfait) Get an overview about the pluperfect in French and study this topic online.
    5 Le passé antérieur in French Get an comprehensive overview about the past anterior in French and learn the topic online