Lock in our old prices!
Your last chance to upgrade at these rates »

‘Used to’ and “avoir l’habitude”

Stephen B.B2Kwiziq community member

‘Used to’ and “avoir l’habitude”

 

 

  Sarah ne faisait pas confiance à Thomas.

Sarah didn't use to trust Thomas.       In French can you really express the idea of “used to” (do something) just by using the past imperfect tense (as here)? Or does it need “avoir l’habitude de …” ? Is there a difference in meaning in French? Merci

 

 

Asked 11 months ago
Chris W.C1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

No, the imperfect tense is the perfect tense (pun intended) to express this.

Sarah ne faisait pas confiance à Thomas. -- Sarah wasn't trusting Thomas. / Sarah didn't use to trust Thomas.

You could also use the wordier avoir l'habitude phrase:

Sarah n'avait pas l'habitude de faire confiance à Thomas. -- (lit.) Sarah wasn't in the habit of trusting Thomas. / Sarah didn't use to trust Thomas.

Note that they are very close in meaning but don't quite mean the same thing. The imperfect just states the general fact that Sarah wasn't trusting Thomas, it doesn't mention a habit of trust or no trust at all.

‘Used to’ and “avoir l’habitude”

 

 

  Sarah ne faisait pas confiance à Thomas.

Sarah didn't use to trust Thomas.       In French can you really express the idea of “used to” (do something) just by using the past imperfect tense (as here)? Or does it need “avoir l’habitude de …” ? Is there a difference in meaning in French? Merci

 

 

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Ask a question

Find your French level for FREE

Test your French to the CEFR standard

Find your French level
Thinking...