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Je n’ai pas pu dormir

LizA2Kwiziq community member

Je n’ai pas pu dormir

Can you also use ‘je ne pouvais pas dormir’ - if not why please..

Thanks 

Liz

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Liz, 

Not in this context.

Although,

'Je ne pouvais pas dormir' and 'Je n'ai pas pu dormir'

can both mean, 'I wasn't able to sleep ',

this refers to an action which happened last night ( la nuit dernière) and it is finished which is a classic case for using the passé composé.

Distinguishing between imparfait and passé composé is really tricky for learners as it is almost always because of context.

It is just a question of getting used to it gradually but not easy I know...

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

You can use the imperfect tense but it would alter the meaning of the sentence:

Je n'ai pas pu dormir. -- I could not sleep.

Je ne pouvais pas dormir. -- I didn't use to be able to sleep. (i.e., over a longer period of time)

Je n’ai pas pu dormir

Can you also use ‘je ne pouvais pas dormir’ - if not why please..

Thanks 

Liz

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