Imparfait vs Passe Compose

NanisB1Kwiziq community member

Imparfait vs Passe Compose

Hello, i have classic Imparfait vs Passe compose questions: 

Can someone explain to me why "je n'ai pas toujours aimé ça" and not " je n'aimerais pas toujours ça". I thought this is the case where you describe opinion in the past.

Also instead of "je m'y suis habitué" can I use "j'en avais l'habitude" or "j'en ai l'habitude". Is the use "avoir l'habitude de" or "se habituer" can be interchangeable or they should be use in different context?

Asked 2 years ago
JimC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

I would like to help but must confess that I'm a bit confused by your queries.

1) You seem to be seeking to make equivalent two different moods. a) indicative b) conditional.

2) The other confusion for me is the second query  -- the three expressions are not conveying the same thing, yet you wish to interchange them?

If you could help me, to help you, then perhaps I can make a more positive input to help you?

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Assuming you meant «n'aimais» as imparfait. Not sure, but I think this doesn't fit here because the story is that the 'not liking' was in the past and is finished, which was also indicated by the preceding «swimming is my passion». The imparfait would leave open that the not liking was ongoing. «Je m'y suis habitué» - in the reflexive means "I got used to it", not quite the same as «J'en ai l'habitude» which means "I am used to it". However, «j'y suis habitué» (not reflexive) also means "I am used to it" and can be used  interchangeably with avoir l'habitude.  Perhaps Jim can jump in and add/correct where necessary.

NanisB1Kwiziq community member

Thank you maarten, your answer for the first question is quite clear. However if i used the same logic, why does the translation for this sentence "I hated the smell of the chlorine"  is "je détestai l'odeur du chlore" and not "j'ai déteste l'odeur du chlore" ?

@Jim, regarding the second question:  I am confused if i should use "avoir l'habitude de" or  "se habituer à"  (do both has the same meaning ?) to express the following sentence"

1. I am used to it --> Je m'y habitue or J'en ai l'habitude

2. I got used to it --> Je m'y suis habitué or J'en ai eu l'habitude or J'en avais l'habitude

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

I think the sentence «When I was younger, I hated the smell of chlorine» is easier to understand, as it is a typical situation for imparfait in both clauses: when I was young(er), and then because 'used to hate' easily fits into the translation, with a vague time descriptor. 

It is more the explanation of your first query I am not 100% confident of - I am confident the phrasing recommended is correct, and think my explanation may be, but not certain. 

With regard to "I am used to it" (present) or "I got used to it" (past) - there is a difference in meaning in English, and also in French. They are in different tense - 'present' gives you certainty on current state without information on how you got there; 'past' gives you information on the situation previously, but doesn't give certainty on current state (you may assume it is the same, but without clarification that may be incorrect).  As the phrase to translate is 'got used to', that requires «se habituer». 

For contexts requiring 'I am used to',  the expressions «être habituer à»  and «avoir l'habitude de» are both correct (although the latter may be more used based on what I heard in France, and that lawlessfrench.com dedicates a topic to it, but only lists the former as an alternative without further detail).  Hope this helps a bit more

JimC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

The important point to keep in mind is this issue of context, context, context.

I agree with Maarten's assessment throughout.

KingsleyC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I swear I'm going to need some kind of degree in temporal mechanics before I get a solid grip on the imparfait...

JimC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Kingsley,

Many years ago one of my many French teachers use the chant for l'imparfait   -- wasing, wereing or would.

By which she meant l'imparfait is used were in English we would use "was"  "were" or "would"

to describe an ongoing past action (was, were) or habitual past action (would).

This has always stuck with me to help me remember when the l'imparfait is applicable.

This may help you?

Jim

Imparfait vs Passe Compose

Hello, i have classic Imparfait vs Passe compose questions: 

Can someone explain to me why "je n'ai pas toujours aimé ça" and not " je n'aimerais pas toujours ça". I thought this is the case where you describe opinion in the past.

Also instead of "je m'y suis habitué" can I use "j'en avais l'habitude" or "j'en ai l'habitude". Is the use "avoir l'habitude de" or "se habituer" can be interchangeable or they should be use in different context?

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