Nous nous habillions vs Nous nous avons habillés

NatashaA2Kwiziq community member

Nous nous habillions vs Nous nous avons habillés

Hello - 

I'm still confused about why "Nous nous habillions à 6 heures et demie", "We got dressed at half past 6", is imparfait and not passe compose. This seems to be one specific event (not describing a repeated action), is complete, has a clear beginning (6:30), and isn't an opinion or (I don't think) story background. What rule would I use to know it's imparfait?

Asked 3 months ago
AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

The English sentence could also refer to a repeated action, e.g.

"Every day we had the same routine. We got dressed at half past 6.  etc. "

ToddB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I remember reading that we use the imparfait if another past action interrupts it So, in English we might say: We were getting dressed at 6:30 when you called.

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

The French sentence isn’t trying to replicate the English - it indicates an habitual activity. It is, as Alan notes, one way in English to represent the French but does not convey the full meaning. 

If you were translating from the English to the French, you are correct that either imparfait or passé composé could be used, and which is best depends on context.

Nous nous habillions vs Nous nous avons habillés

Hello - 

I'm still confused about why "Nous nous habillions à 6 heures et demie", "We got dressed at half past 6", is imparfait and not passe compose. This seems to be one specific event (not describing a repeated action), is complete, has a clear beginning (6:30), and isn't an opinion or (I don't think) story background. What rule would I use to know it's imparfait?

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
Getting that for you now...