Conjugation: The Compound Past
Hi folks! Bonjour à tous !
I realized it's been a while since I last shared a lesson on the French tense (The Near Future ; Savoir / Connaître ; Avoir / Être) so I decided to share more in depth the construction of the Compound Past.
The first thing to know (and it's in the name!) is that the CP is a composed tense, meaning it is formed by the use of an auxiliary and a Past Participle.
The CP is almost the simplest tense to conjugate (see here). It's formed with one of our two auxiliaries (Avoir / Être) conjugated at the present tense + the Past Participle of the verb, that doesn't (usually) change form no matter the gender or number of the subject).
For example : to eat = > J'ai mangé.
But, the compound past can be translated in 3 different ways:
- I ate (Simple Past)
- I did eat (Past emphatic)
- I have eaten (Present perfect)
The first translation is the most common, but you can still find the other two around.
Most common verbs used with Avoir:
- Manger (to eat) = J'ai mangé
- Chanter (to sing) J'ai chanté
- Voir (to see) = J'ai vu
- Lire (to read) = J'ai lu
- Jouer (to play) = J'ai joué
Unfortunately, conjugation with the verb "être" is a tiny bit harder when it comes to the CP. Though it keeps the same formula Present + Past Participle, it has a little trick to it, being that we have to adapt the Past Participle to the gender and number of the subject. Easy peasy?!
Therefore: to come = Je suis venu(e).
=> I put the letter "e" separately. If the subject is male, "Je suis venu", if the subject is female "Je suis venue".
Most common verbs with être:
- naître (being born) = Je suis né(e)
- venir (to come) = Je suis venu(e)
- entrer (to come in) = Je suis entré(e)
- rester (to stay) = Je suis resté(e)
How do you feel, simple enough? This lesson is normally part of an A1 program, the first part of the stage from beginner to Basic Fluency. I encourage you to review the Present and the Near Future as well, together the three basic tense for common French expression.
Below, you can find the (free) WallPaper bundle, which contains all of my infographics + Conjugation WallPapers, or you can register and access the resource library!