Recognising voir and vivre in Le Passé Simple

Look at these sentences in le Passé Simple:

La princesse vécut dans un château splendide pendant de nombreuses années.
The princess lived in a splendid castle for many years.

Alors, Cendrillon vit le château splendide du Prince.
Then, Cinderella saw the Prince's splendid castle.

Et ils vécurent heureux et eurent beaucoup d'enfants.
And they lived happily ever after.
[literally: And they lived happy and had many children.]

Quand je la vis, je tombai immédiatement amoureux.
When I saw her, I immediately fell in love.

 

The reason we're teaching voir and vivre together in le Passé Simple is that they are very easy to mix up!

 

Have a look: 

   voir    vivre
   je vis    je vécus
   tu vis   tu vécus
   il / elle / on vit   il / elle / on vécut
   nous vîmes   nous vécûmes
   vous vîtes   vous vécûtes
   ils / elles virent   ils / elles vécurent

 

Notice how the first three persons of voir in le Passé Simple (vis, vis, vit) are exactly the same as vivre in le Présent, whereas vivre in le Passé Simple is actually completely different (vécus, vécus, vécut)!

Here, only the context and your own knowledge can help you know which is which!

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Alors, Cendrillon vit le château splendide du Prince.
Then, Cinderella saw the Prince's splendid castle.


La princesse vécut dans un château splendide pendant de nombreuses années.
The princess lived in a splendid castle for many years.


Et Dorothée vécut heureuse dans sa ferme du Kansas.
And Dorothy lived happily in her farm in Kansas.


Et ils vécurent heureux et eurent beaucoup d'enfants.
And they lived happily ever after.
[literally: And they lived happy and had many children.]


Alice vit le lapin sauter dans le trou.
Alice saw the rabbit jump into the hole.


Quand je la vis, je tombai immédiatement amoureux.
When I saw her, I immediately fell in love.


Q&A

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

30 August 2016

1 reply

K. asked : Why isn't the adverb "heureusement" used instead of "heureux"?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

30 August 2016

30/08/16

Dear K.,


That's a very interesting question!


The fact is that heureusement in French is actually a false friend, meaning "luckily"!


So while in English you say "they lived happily", in French we colloquially say "They lived happy", like "they were happy for the rest of their lives". 


I hope that answers your question!
À bientôt !

I'll be right with you...