Past Participle

French past participles
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Participe passé

The past participle is a verb form with several roles. It’s essential in the creation of compound verb tenses/moods and the passive voice, and it can also be used as an adjective.

The French past participle usually ends in -é, -i, or -u, and is equivalent to –ed or –en in English. It has three primary uses.

1) Compound verb forms

Compound verb tenses and moods are two-word verb forms made up of a conjugated auxiliary verb (avoir or être) plus a past participle.

Par exemple…

  Compound verb form
J’ai perdu mes clés.I lost my keys.passé composé
J’étais déjà tombé.I had already fallen.pluperfect
Je l’aurai essayé.I will have tried it.future perfect

2) Passive voice

Être plus a past participle forms the passive voice.

Par exemple…

Paris est aimé de tous. Paris is loved by all.
Les stations-service sont souvent braquées.  Gas stations are often held up.
Le mariage sera suivi d’une réception. The wedding will be followed by a reception.

3) Adjectives

When used as an adjective, the French past participle may be equivalent in English to a past or present participle, or to a regular adjective.

Par exemple…

Il y a une voiture arrêtée au carrefour. There’s a stopped car in the intersection.
Les enfants sont assis dans le salon. The kids are sitting in the living room.
Pourquoi est-elle fâchée ? Why is she angry?

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French past participles

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