black friday cyber monday last chance to save 25% on all packages »

Imperfect used for a one-time action...?

TomC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Imperfect used for a one-time action...?

In this sentence - 'William Jones déclarait au sujet de cette langue ancestrale : "La langue sanscrite...' - why is the imperfect used with an action that happened only once, and on a specified date ?

Asked 1 month ago
CélineKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Tom,

You are correct that normally one would use Le Passé Composé. In this sentence, the action is seen in its duration as if the action is still ongoing. In French, it is called 'L'Imparfait historique' emphasising on the duration of the action and on the consequence of the action. It is usually accompanied by a precise expression of time (a date for example - like in the exercise).

I hope this is helpful.

Bonne journée !

TomC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Thank you Céline !

Imperfect used for a one-time action...?

In this sentence - 'William Jones déclarait au sujet de cette langue ancestrale : "La langue sanscrite...' - why is the imperfect used with an action that happened only once, and on a specified date ?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Ask a question

Find your French level for FREE

Test your French to the CEFR standard

Find your French level
Thinking...