Simple Past - why/when?

BrianC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Simple Past - why/when?

Hi, the text seems to sometimes, but not that often, use the Passé Simple (e.g. from the text: adoptèrent, acceptèrent).

I know that this tense is used almost exclusively in written, as opposed to spoken, French. Do you have any other guidelines on when this tense is invoked, as it seems to be used only occasionally even in a single piece of written French. 

Asked 1 year ago
CélineKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Brian,

Le Passé Simple is, just like Chris mentioned, a tense used in literary work. It is used for storytelling. For example, French people would use it for historical accounts, literature or journalistic accounts. It is also used in many French children storybooks (French kids spent a lot of time studying the differences between narrating stories with Le Présent de narration or Le Passé Simple - the effects it has on the story etc ;-) )

See links here: the-french-simple-past-le-passe-simple - passe-simple - Tenses/le-passe-simple

I hope this is helpful.

Bonne journée !

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

There are whole books written in simple past. It is a more literary tense. Don‘t know what else to say about it. You certainly don‘t use it in everyday speech. 

Simple Past - why/when?

Hi, the text seems to sometimes, but not that often, use the Passé Simple (e.g. from the text: adoptèrent, acceptèrent).

I know that this tense is used almost exclusively in written, as opposed to spoken, French. Do you have any other guidelines on when this tense is invoked, as it seems to be used only occasionally even in a single piece of written French. 

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