Choisir Entre Passe Compose Et Imparfait

Imparfait and Passe compose are both used to talk about the past. The difference is used depending on the context and the speakers perspective.

Imparfait:

  • describes how things were, and the way things used to be
  • indicates what a situation was like
  • describes what was going on, or a state of mind
  • recalls repeated past actions

The Imparfait sets the scene and provides the backround information. The imparfait also describes a particular circumstance.

Adverbs used with imparfait:

  • generalement- generally
  • d'habitude-usually
  • toujours- always
  • souvent- often
  • rarement-seldom

Example of Imparfait:

1. Un jour, je suis allé travailler.
Generalement, je serait aller à l'école.

One day, I went to work.
Generally, I would go to school.

J'ai toujours a la classe.
Je manque rarement de classe.

I always go to class.
I rarely miss class.

Passe Compose

  • tells what happens next
  • narrates past events and actions
  • relates a series of past actions or events
  • introduces an interruption to an ongoing action

The Passe Compose enables the speaker or the writer to tell the audience what happened.

Adverbs used with Passe Compose:

  • un jour- one day
  • d'abord- first
  • puis- then
  • ensuite- next
  • enfin- finally
  • soudain- suddenly
  • tout d'un coup- all at once, suddenly

Example of Passe Compose:

1. D'abord, j'ai fait du café, puis j'ai préparé le petit déjeuner. J'ai toujours cuits souvent.

First, I made coffee, then I prepared breakfast.
I used to cook often.

Un jour, je vais d'etudes superieures.
Puis, je vais trouver un emploi.

One day, I will graduate.
Then I will get a job.