3 questions to master the Passe Compose

This form of the past is often difficult for students because of the use of two different auxiliary verbs for seemingly no reasons. Here are three steps that will help you identify the correct form of your verb.

1. Which auxiliary do I need : être ou avoir ?

The auxiliary should always be conjugated

Use avoir for action verbs

Use être for mouvement verbs and reflexive verbs

Tip: remember this list of irregular verbs using être, Dr, & Mrs Van Der Tramp:

Devenir Venir Tomber
Revenir Aller Retourner
& Naître Arriver
Monter Descendre Mourir
Rester Entrer Partir
Sortir Rentrer

2. What is the appropriate past participle

  • –er verbs : ex. travailler -> travaillé
  • –ir verbs : ex. dormir -> dormi
  • –re verbs : ex. attendre -> attendu

And as always quite a few common verbs have irregular forms. Here are some you should know:
  • avoir -> eu
  • boire -> bu
  • courir -> couru
  • naître -> né
  • devoir -> du
  • être -> été
  • faire -> fait
  • mourir -> mort
  • mettre -> mis
  • ouvrir ->
  • ouvert
  • pouvoir -> pu
  • prendre -> pris
  • vouloir -> voulu
  • venir -> venu

3. Do I need to agree the past participle with the subject

  • if you are using the auxiliary être, you always to agree
  • if you are using the auxiliary avoir, there are two situations
You will not agree the past participle with the subject.
However, if the direct object is BEFORE the participle, the participle will agree with the object. This happens if a pronoun is used as a direct object or if the verb is part of a clause subordinated to the object.
Ex.: J'ai entendu mon amie Claire. - Je l'ai entendue - l'amie que j'ai entendue


4 août 2017
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Caroline Mosser

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Bio: Caroline Mosser is an educator, translator, writer and independent scholar. She has lived and worked in both France and the United States, and is looking forward to more adventures. After earning her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of South Carolina, she has taught French as a postdoctoral fellow at Utah State University. As a graduate student, she participated in and taught for the competitive Social Advocacy and Ethical Life scholarship program at USC. Having always been fascinated by both the sciences and the humanities, she has focused her work on their connection through the study of the representations of science and technology in popular culture. A life-long learner, she enjoys sharing her knowledge through teaching and participating in various academic and cultural projects (such as translating, interpreting, and editing). In her free time, she enjoys watching science fiction movies and TV shows as well as skating and hiking to make up for her cookin...
Flag
Français
globe
France
time
1 086
Parle:
Français
Langue maternelle
,
Anglais
C2
,
Espagnol
B1
,
Allemand
B1
Bio: Caroline Mosser is an educator, translator, writer and independent scholar. She has lived and worked in both France and the United States, and is looking forward to more adventures. After earning her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of South Carolina, she has taught French as a postdoctoral fellow at Utah State University. As a graduate student, she participated in and taught for the competitive Social Advocacy and Ethical Life scholarship program at USC. Having always been fascinated by both the sciences and the humanities, she has focused her work on their connection through the study of the representations of science and technology in popular culture. A life-long learner, she enjoys sharing her knowledge through teaching and participating in various academic and cultural projects (such as translating, interpreting, and editing). In her free time, she enjoys watching science fiction movies and TV shows as well as skating and hiking to make up for her cookin...
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