Passé composé

Compound past tense

French has several different past tenses, but the most important one is the passé composé. Just to make things interesting, it has three possible English equivalents:

1. j’ai mangé   I ate   simple past
2. j’ai mangé   I have eaten   present perfect
3. j’ai mangé   I did eat   past emphatic

The passé composé is used when talking about

Completed actions

Oui, j’ai mangé à 8h.   Yes, I did eat at 8am.

Repeated actions

J’y ai mangé 3 fois.   I’ve eaten there 3 times.

Series of actions

J’ai mangé et puis je suis sorti avec Paul.   I ate, then I went out with Paul.

Condition in likely situations (si clauses)

Si tu as perdu, tu dois féliciter le gagnant.   If you lost, you have to congratulate the winner.

  The passé composé is often used alongside the imperfect, which can be very confusing for French students. For detailed info, see passé composé vs imparfait.

 Passé composé quizzes

Think you’ve got it? Test yourself on the passé composé with these fill-in-the-blank exercises:

Note: You must be logged into your Progress with Lawless French account to take these tests. If you don’t have one, sign up – it’s free!

 Related lessons

French lesson plans French lesson plans

 Share / Tweet / Pin Me!

French passé composé

Any Questions?

 Get help on the forum.

More Lawless French

 Subscribe to my twice-weekly newsletter.

Support Lawless French

  This free website is created with love and a great deal of work.

If you love it, please consider making a one-time or monthly donation.

Your support is entirely optional but tremendously appreciated.