Imparfait vs Passe Compose

DraganaC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Imparfait vs Passe Compose

In the sentence: donc je me suis baignée tous les jours.

I used imparfait, since it is an ongoing activity - every day - and Juliette is describing what she is doing.

donc je me baignais tous les jours.

Why is passé composé being used here?


Asked 6 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

I keep repeating it over and over with this kind of question: just because something is an ongoing activity doesn't mean that imperfect is the correct tense to use.

A good test for usage of the imperfect is actually if you would use the -ing form (continuous form) in English:

I took a bath every day. -- Je me suis baignée tous les jours. You use simple past tense in English, hence you use passé composé in French.

I took a bath everyday. -- J'ai pris un bain tous les jours.
I was taking a bath everyday. -- Je prenais un bain tous les jours.

The difference using continuous past vs. simple past in English is just the same as using passé composé vs. imparfait in French.

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Passé composé is used in this setting of an activity that occurred in past and occurs or is ongoing at present. Check out this excellent video from Hugo on Youtube about use of imparfait versus passé composé - at about the 14 minute mark he speaks of advanced cases for use of passé composé  - noting the particular significance of 'jamais' and 'toujours' (or also tous les jours) to assist in determining usage. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rpQ5xeFneg 

The link to Camille's site is also very useful - she gives an excellent practical description also of imparfait and passé composé usage  

https://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/french-verb-conjugation/passe-compose-versus-imparfait/

Imparfait vs Passe Compose

In the sentence: donc je me suis baignée tous les jours.

I used imparfait, since it is an ongoing activity - every day - and Juliette is describing what she is doing.

donc je me baignais tous les jours.

Why is passé composé being used here?


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