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Why the passe compose?

Carl C.C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Why the passe compose?

I don't understand the passe compose "j'ai toujours adore" to translate "I have always loved sending letters."  Seems to me the writer is describing an action from the past continuing into the present.  In that case, we should use the imparfait.  Using the passe compose indicates the writer completed the action in the past.  At one time she enjoyed sending letters but not now.  (Sorry for the missing accents.  I don't know how to type them on this keyboard.)

Asked 3 years ago
CélineKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Carl,

That’s a very good question! This particular sentence is conjugated in the Present Perfect – the narrator is talking about an action that started in the past with a connection to the present time. As you have noticed, the action is having a consequence into the present (being relayed by the use of the Present Perfect).

L’Imparfait is used for actions or habits that were ongoing in the past

Je trouvais toujours mon chat amusant = I always found my cat funny

→ once upon a time, I kept thinking it – ongoing at the time

J’ai toujours trouvé mon chat amusant = I have always found my cat funny

→ a completed action in the past with a result in the present time ('toujours' - always)

→ Le Passé Composé can also show that a past action is having an impact into the present

The Present Perfect can be translated either by Le Passé Composé or by Le Présent:

J’ai toujours respecté ton frèreI have always respected your brother

→ expressing the consequence of a past action into the present

C’est la première fois que j’en entends parlerit is the first time I have heard of it

→ reviewing a situation in the present

Remember – Use Le Passé Composé for:

- a completed one-time action in the past:

J’ai adoré ton gâteau = I loved your cake

- a completed one-time action having a consequence in the present:

J’ai décidé de ne plus manger de pâtes = I have decided not to eat pasta anymore

 

I hope this is helpful.

Bonne journée !

Chris W.C1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

To French ears, this is what it would sound like:

J'adorais toujours... -- I have always been loving...
J'ai toujours adoré... -- I have always loved...

Why the passe compose?

I don't understand the passe compose "j'ai toujours adore" to translate "I have always loved sending letters."  Seems to me the writer is describing an action from the past continuing into the present.  In that case, we should use the imparfait.  Using the passe compose indicates the writer completed the action in the past.  At one time she enjoyed sending letters but not now.  (Sorry for the missing accents.  I don't know how to type them on this keyboard.)

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