Why is Imparfait Not Correct Here?

NatashaA2Kwiziq community member

Why is Imparfait Not Correct Here?

Hello, I still find myself struggling with the passe compose vs imparfait at times. I have copied part of your online test below. The two I got wrong are in red. My logic is that "The place that enchanted me" is an opinion/description, so should be imparfait. "We walked in the garden" has no clear beginning or end, so should be imparfait. Why are these two in fact passe compose?


L'endroit qui m'enchantait au-dessus de tout,c'était le château de l'impératrice Sissi.Nous nous promenions dans ses jardins merveilleuxdont les fleurs embaumaient l'air,et les fontaines dessinaient de superbes tableaux aquatiques…C'est simple, je ne voulais plus repartir !

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Natasha,

Choosing between those two tenses is always very difficult for non-native speakers of French but it always has to be explored in context.

Aurélie has managed to locate the exercise which a fill-in-the-blanks  'Une ville magnifique' relating a visit to Vienna. The two passé composés you query are -

1. L'endroit qui m'a enchanté au dessus de tout ...= The place which enchanted most of all ...

The passé composé is used here as it refers to a part of the visit and the fact that she was enchanted during this visit.

If you were referring to something that enchanted you as a child you would use the imparfait-

Ce qui m'enchantait le plus quand j'étais petite, c'était de jouer dans la rue après l'école What enchanted me ( used to enchant me) most when I was little, was to play in the street after school

 

2. Nous nous sommes promenés dans ses jardins merveilleux ...

again refers to an action that happened during the visit against the description of the garden which uses the imparfait.

Hope this helps!

JimC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Natasha,

I'm a bit confused by your post.     Why?  The two verbs that you are querying are in fact already in the imparfait  --  "enchanter" of which third-person singular "Il enchantait"   

Same point about "se promener" of which first person plural "nous nous promenions"

Hope this clarifies the situation for you.

Bonne continuation 

Jim

MarkC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
CélineKwiziq team member

Bonjour Natasha, 

Could you add the link to the exercise you are referring to please? It would make it easier to reply to your query. ;-)

Merci et bonne journée !

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

L'endroit qui m'enchantait au-dessus de tout,c'était le château de l'impératrice Sissi. Nous nous promenions dans ses jardins merveilleux dont les fleurs embaumaient l'air,et les fontaines dessinaient de superbes tableaux aquatiques…C'est simple, je ne voulais plus repartir !

This example is a description of a scene. Descriptions in the past use the imperfect tense because they are, in a sense, "timeless". A singular event, however, is put in passé composé. The writer was in a state of enchantment (enchantait). Using promenions instead of sommes promenés tells you that he is describing a series of strolls rather than a single stroll.

Why is Imparfait Not Correct Here?

Hello, I still find myself struggling with the passe compose vs imparfait at times. I have copied part of your online test below. The two I got wrong are in red. My logic is that "The place that enchanted me" is an opinion/description, so should be imparfait. "We walked in the garden" has no clear beginning or end, so should be imparfait. Why are these two in fact passe compose?


L'endroit qui m'enchantait au-dessus de tout,c'était le château de l'impératrice Sissi.Nous nous promenions dans ses jardins merveilleuxdont les fleurs embaumaient l'air,et les fontaines dessinaient de superbes tableaux aquatiques…C'est simple, je ne voulais plus repartir !

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