Using the present tense like the past?

DavidB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Using the present tense like the past?

In a recent test question: "In 1515, Francis I won the battle of Marignano." the correct answer was "a gagné" and not "gagne".  Why does the "Historical Present" not apply in this case ?https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/questions/view/using-the-present-tense-like-the-past

 

Asked 1 month ago
CélineKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour David,

This is best to be reported via the "Report issue" button on your Correction board as it will link the full test question to your query. 

It is possible to use Le Présent historique when reporting a historical past event such as a famous battle, for example where the narrator wishes "to bring the event to life". However, it is also very common to use Le Passé Composé when simply relating the event as a past event. It will depend on the effect the narrator or the person talking wishes to express. 

En 1815, Napoléon a perdu la bataille de Waterloo.

 -> The action is seen as a completed one time event

En 1815, Napoléon perd la bataille de Waterloo.

 -> the event is brought to life with the use of Le Présent historique

Also, the test question you mentioned above has a very specific hint: "Use "gagner" in the right past tense" so as to avoid this particular ambiguity. It is also linked to the following lesson Using the compound tense (Le Passé Composé) on its own or with the imperfect tense (L'Imparfait).

I hope this is helpful.

Bonne journée !

Using the present tense like the past?

In a recent test question: "In 1515, Francis I won the battle of Marignano." the correct answer was "a gagné" and not "gagne".  Why does the "Historical Present" not apply in this case ?https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/questions/view/using-the-present-tense-like-the-past

 

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