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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