"We listened to the water".
I would have considered that a past imperfect ie, "Nous ecoutions les bruits de l'eau" because you can't listen to water at a specific moment in time - it's a continuous action in the past. "Nous avons ecoute les bruits de l'eau" isn't appropriate.
We got splashed with water would be passe compose but not a continuous event of listening to the water?
Freeform Writing Exercise A2
Passé composé isn’t indicating a specific ‘moment’ (and doesn’t have to), but it is indicating a specific ‘event’ (listened to the water) that occurred within the defined period of the walk, while they were at the water’s edge.
I found the following link useful for developing a better feel for use of imparfait and passé composé. Worth reading, and also watching the short videos at the end.
Just to complement Maarten's reply with two examples:
Pendant la promenade, nous avons écuté les bruits de l'eau. -- During the walk, we listened to the sounds of the water.
Nous écoutions les bruits de l'eau quand mon portable a sonné. -- We were listening to the sounds of the water when my mobile rang.
Dans notre enfance, nous écoutions les bruits de l'eau. -- In our childhood we used to listen to the sounds of the water. (but not any longer)
Most kind of you to reply.
Thank you both for a very helpful answer.
Sign in to submit your answer
Don't have an account yet? Join today
Test your French to the CEFR standard