J'ai toujours su

CarlB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

J'ai toujours su

We were asked to translate "I always knew."  Seems to me this is an ongoing action in the past.  A description of the past.  I think this should be "Je savais toujours."  "J'ai su" is more like "I found out." 

Asked 7 months ago
AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Interesting question. Normally savoir is used in the imparfait, except, as you say, when it means something like "I found out". Similarly, toujours is often a sign that the verb should be in the imparfait. But when you combine them, I think it's a little different.

Toujours often implies a repeated action, e.g. "J'avais toujours du mal avec les maths." = "I always used to struggle with maths."

However "Je savais" doesn't refer to a repeated action, but a single action with no clear beginning or end.

If you combined them as "Je savais toujours", I think it might imply that you knew on multiple occasions, i.e. "I always used to know".

J'ai toujours su

We were asked to translate "I always knew."  Seems to me this is an ongoing action in the past.  A description of the past.  I think this should be "Je savais toujours."  "J'ai su" is more like "I found out." 

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