Je ne t’avais pas reconnue.

JudyC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Je ne t’avais pas reconnue.

The translation Is ‘I didn’t recognize you.’ 

Please explain why the plus que parfait is used here instead of the passé compose.

Thanks.



Asked 4 months ago
LauraKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Judy,

Great question! It's because there's an implied second event in the past that the not recognizing preceded: "I hadn't recognized you [but then I did (and now that we're talking both of those actions are in the past)]."

In English, we don't have a problem saying "I didn't recognize you" [implying "but now I do"], whereas in French, Je ne t'ai pas reconnu sounds like you didn't and still don't recognize the person, sort of like "I haven't recognized you."

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

It's a great question, but I'm not entirely convinced by the answer. I don't think "Je ne t'ai pas reconnu[e]" would be interpreted as "I haven't recognized you". It gets roughly the same number of hits on google as the pluperfect version, including a dictionary definition of "I didn't recognize you".

But it does seem that the pluperfect is equally common in French, while it sounds wrong in English. 

AurélieKwiziq team member

Bonjour Alan !

Indeed, you could translate both "Je ne t'ai pas reconnu" and "Je ne t'avais pas reconnu" as "I didn't recognise you" in English, but you wouldn't use these 2 French sentences interchangeably, hence the need for a hint here. 
In French, in this situation, i.e. you saw someone, didn't recognise them, *then* talked to them and recognised them *afterwards*, you will need Le Plus-que-Parfait, as explained by Laura.

Le Passé Composé would be used to state a simple fact in the past, as in:
"Je ne t'ai pas reconnu ce jour-là." / "Je ne t'ai pas reconnue quand tu es arrivée."

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

Je ne t’avais pas reconnue.

The translation Is ‘I didn’t recognize you.’ 

Please explain why the plus que parfait is used here instead of the passé compose.

Thanks.



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