Simple past and etre

KevinC1Kwiziq community member

Simple past and etre

I am somewhat confused by one of your examples "Je suis assis entre Léa et Tim." The point of the exercise is not lost on me you are using the sentence to demonstrate the use of "entre". What puzzles me is the use of "je suis assis" which combines the present tense of etre "je suis" with the simple past of to sit "assoier". I'm obviously missing something obvious but it totally confuses me. I thought you had suggested that "I am sitting" and "I sit" can be  expressed by the same construction, the meaning altered by context; so why not "J'assieds entre Léa et Tim"?

Asked 4 years ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Kevin,

In French, if you say -

Je m'assieds entre Léa et Tim I am sitting down between Léa et Tim

It described the action of sitting down.

But if you say -

Je suis assis entre Léa et Tim = I am sat ( seated) between Léa et Tim

it describes the result of sitting down.

This often creates confusion.

 

DavidA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I am sat between Léa and Tim.

I am sitting between Léa and Tim. 

They mean pretty much the same thing both in English and French. They are both valid in both languages. What in particular do you find confusing?

KathleenA2Kwiziq community member

In English, one would say "I sat between Lea and Tim.",  or "I sit between. . ." ; not "I am sat . . ."

LauraKwiziq team member

The problem here is that in English, "I'm sitting" can mean two different but similar things.

I am sitting down right now = I'm in the action of sitting down = Je m'assieds.

I am sitting between Tom and Paul = I am already in my chair / I am seated = Je suis assis.

When translating into French, you just need to think a bit more about whether you're referring to the action of sitting, in which case you use the verb s'asseoir, or if you're talking about the state of being seated, in which case you use être plus assis (past participle of asseoir).

DavidA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Someone liked this so I got an email. I missed your reply Kathleen. Maybe it's a regional thing but I would definitely say I'm sat between x and y if someone asked. I would also say I'm sitting between but I would use them interchangeably. I'm guessing it's the same in French. Similarly I would expect to hear "Where are you sat" just as often as "Where are you sitting". Like I say it may be a regional or possibly even a class thing but from my experience they are interchangeable. Thinking about it it's probably more of a class thing. Personally I would be more likely to say I'm sat between even though as you correctly point out it's probably technically incorrect. I do love this website because it makes you think about the subtleties of language and how much they can differ depending on region and class.

Simple past and etre

I am somewhat confused by one of your examples "Je suis assis entre Léa et Tim." The point of the exercise is not lost on me you are using the sentence to demonstrate the use of "entre". What puzzles me is the use of "je suis assis" which combines the present tense of etre "je suis" with the simple past of to sit "assoier". I'm obviously missing something obvious but it totally confuses me. I thought you had suggested that "I am sitting" and "I sit" can be  expressed by the same construction, the meaning altered by context; so why not "J'assieds entre Léa et Tim"?

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