Tense Question

NatashaB2Kwiziq community member

Tense Question

"à chaque fois que ma tante ouvrait la bouche pour dire quelque chose, il lui coupait systématiquement la parole".


Why is the "il lui coupait" in imparfait and not passé composé? It interprets the first actions (aunt speaking), so I thought it should be passé composé.

Asked 1 month ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Natasha,

I would say that here the imparfait is used as it is a repetition of the action.

If you had said -

Quand ma tante a ouvert la bouche il lui a coupé la parole = When my aunt spoke he interrupted her.

One action completed in the past, hence the passé composé.

But in 'À chaque fois que ma tante.....il lui coupait la parole'

Almost a habit, hence the imparfait.

Hope it helps !

 

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Natasha, 

See the attached link - a very good practical discussion of imparfait and passé composé with a couple of good little amusing clips to reinforce.  

See ‘List of expressions’ in both links below of expressions usually associated with ‘imparfait’ as they describe ‘habitual’ events - in this case, ‘chaque fois …’   

 In the first article note also option 4 in the section ‘In the same sentence’. 

Simultaneous events are sometimes described with mixed tenses, sometimes same tense, sometimes passé composé if both short duration, sometimes both imparfait - for example if repeated/habitual, longer, varied or uncertain durations, or both considered ‘background’ information.

 https://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/french-verb-conjugation/passe-compose-versus-imparfait/ 

https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/passe-compose-vs-imparfait/

Tense Question

"à chaque fois que ma tante ouvrait la bouche pour dire quelque chose, il lui coupait systématiquement la parole".


Why is the "il lui coupait" in imparfait and not passé composé? It interprets the first actions (aunt speaking), so I thought it should be passé composé.

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