Shouldn't this use dû instead of devaient?

MelisaA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Shouldn't this use dû instead of devaient?

According to the lesson linked to in this exercise ( Using "devoir" in the imperfect tense versus the compound past in French (L'Imparfait vs Le Passé Composé) ) "mes parents devaient" would mean "my parents were supposed to" and "mes parents ont dû" would mean "my parents had to." The exercise asked us to translate, "My parents had to drive me" so If this exercise isn't incorrect, then that lesson on Devoir is missing important information of some kind. 

Asked 4 years ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Melisa,

Choosing between the imparfait and the passé composé is done on a case to case basis.

Here, it is because we are talking of where the narrator 'used to live' and 'her parents had to drive her everywhere' , hence  the habitual nature of the action is conveyed by the imparfait.

But if you were talking about a particular incident -

Hier, les trains étaient en grève et mes parents ont dû venir me chercher = Yesterday the trains were on strike and my parents had to come and fetch me

Hope this helps!

 

 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Yes, but consider that the sentence describes a state of long duration in the past. This also calls for the imparfait.

KingsleyC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I feel like we use "were having to" ie "we used to live in a place with poor public transport, so my parents were having to drive me everywhere" and "had to" interchangeably in english in this same context. Does the passé composé really come across as being so nonsensical in french, comparatively?   

Melisa asked:View original

Shouldn't this use dû instead of devaient?

According to the lesson linked to in this exercise ( Using "devoir" in the imperfect tense versus the compound past in French (L'Imparfait vs Le Passé Composé) ) "mes parents devaient" would mean "my parents were supposed to" and "mes parents ont dû" would mean "my parents had to." The exercise asked us to translate, "My parents had to drive me" so If this exercise isn't incorrect, then that lesson on Devoir is missing important information of some kind. 

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