Don't know why this isn't imparfait

helen

Kwiziq community member

2 August 2018

3 replies

Don't know why this isn't imparfait

où on a degouté des specialities lyonnaises/ où on dégoutait des specialities lyonnaises (where we enjoyed Lyonnaise specialities)

I don't understand why this can't be in the imparfait as there's no end time. Is it passé composé because it is NOW finished?  It seems like this is something that happened over a period of time in the past, not quickly, so I used imparfait.

This question relates to:
French lesson "Conjugate regular -er verbs (+ avoir) in Le Passé Composé (conversational past)"

Chris

Kwiziq community member

3 August 2018

3/08/18

Hi Helen,

would you say, in English, "...where we used to sample Lyonnese specialites"? Or would it not rather be, "...where we samples Lyonnese specialties"? If the latter, then you use the passé composé in English.

-- Chris.

helen

Kwiziq community member

3 August 2018

3/08/18

Hey, Chris-- so is that a trick to use when deciding on the imparfait vs passé composé to think... "I, we, etc. used to + imparfait". That helps a lot if that's the case because so many times I'm deciding between which tense to use about something in the past and it's not clear cut because there's no definite end time.  Thank you.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

3 August 2018

3/08/18

The French imparfait describes a longer lasting or usual action in the past. Like you were describing a scene in front of which an action took place (the action is in passé composé). 

In English you would use constructs like the continuous past tense:

I was going to school when I met you. -- J'allais à l'école quand je t'ai rencontré. 

But the same sentence could also mean "I used to go to school..."' expressing something that happened as a habit in the past. 

J'allais à l'école avec mes potes.  -- I used to go to school with my buddies.

With these two crutches you should be well kn your way of figuring out the imparfait. 

-- Chris. 

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