if present tense is used for historical events, why use ‘La Fontaine est né’ and not ‘La Fontaine naît’?
Reading B2, Listening or Seeing B2
Thank you for your comment! This sentence has now been amended to include Le Présent historique so as to be consistent with the rest of the text.
I hope this is helpful.
Bonne journée !
You are reporting on a completed action; that is, someone's birth.
Jean de La Fontaine est né. Passé Composé is the normal way to report this but apparently in this case past historic Jean de La Fontaine naquit.
This is how I understand it but the text is a bit confusing.
understood. However, the article says that historical events are narrated using the present tense. The whole article about Jean de La Fontaine is in the present tense even though all those events, obviously are completed actions since he is already dead.
Narrating historical events using the present tense is common in romance languages.
The question is why this particular sentence was used in the past (passé composé)
In French it is always je suis né(e), tu es né(e), il/elle est né(e) etc.
Rare that you will hear unqualified present tense per se : more likely to hear “en train de naître” for being born right now etc Some expressions are exceptions : un enfant naît toutes les secondes
The 'rule' on using present tense in historical writing, is not a fixed rule - it is simply that French will more often use present tense, where English would use past tense. You will, however, find imparfait/passé composé and passé simple etc used - depends on context.
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