Passé composé

Compound past tense

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

1. j’ai visité   I visited   simple past
2. j’ai visité   I have visited   present perfect
3. j’ai visité   I did visit   past emphatic

The passé composé is used when talking about

Completed actions

Oui, j’ai visité le Canada.   Yes, I did visit Canada.
Il est tombé hier.   He fell yesterday.

Repeated actions

Je l’ai visité 3 fois.   I’ve visited it 3 times.
Il est encore tombé ce matin.   He fell again this morning.

Series of actions

J’ai visité le Canada et puis je suis allé aux USA.   I visited Canada and then I went to the US.
Après qu’il est tombé, il a commencé à pleurer.   After he fell, he started crying.

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

Learn Spanish En español

Learn Italian In italiano

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French passé composé

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