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passe composé with etre

Passé Composé with “Être”

Passé Composé with “Être” – French Grammar

Introduction

In this lesson, we will explore the passé composé tense in French, focusing specifically on verbs that use “être” as the auxiliary verb. This aspect of French grammar is crucial for discussing past events. Note that we will not cover reflexive (pronominal) verbs in this lesson.

Understanding Passé Composé with “Être”

Formation

The passé composé with “être” is formed using the auxiliary verb “être” in the present tense followed by the past participle of the action verb. The key difference when using “être” is that the past participle must agree in gender and number with the subject.

Agreement with the Subject

The past participle changes depending on the subject:

  • Masculine Singular: No additional ending.
  • Feminine Singular: Add -e.
  • Masculine Plural: Add -s.
  • Feminine Plural: Add -es.

Examples for Agreement:

  • Il est monté.  He climbed up. 
  • Elle est montée.  She climbed up.
  • Ils sont montés. They climbed up.
  • Elles sont montées.  They [feminine] climbed up.

Conjugation Table

Affirmative (Positive) Negative
Je suis allé(e) Je ne suis pas allé(e)
Tu es arrivé(e) Tu n’es pas arrivé(e)
Il est parti Il n’est pas parti
Elle est restée Elle n’est pas restée
Nous sommes venu(e)s Nous ne sommes pas venus(e)s
Vous êtes sorti(es) Vous n’êtes pas sorti(es)
Ils sont nés Ils ne sont pas nés
Elles sont descendues Elles ne sont pas descendues

Dr. & Mrs. Vandertramp

A common mnemonic to remember the verbs that typically use “être” as the auxiliary verb in the passé composé is “Dr. & Mrs. Vandertramp”:

  • Devenir (to become)
  • Revenir (to come back)
  • Monter (to go up, to climb)
  • Rester (to stay)
  • Sortir (to go out)
  • Venir (to come)
  • Aller (to go)
  • Naître (to be born)
  • Descendre (to go down)
  • Entrer (to enter)
  • Rentrer (to return)
  • Tomber (to fall)
  • Retourner (to return)
  • Arriver (to arrive)
  • Mourir (to die)
  • Partir (to leave)

🍀 Exercises 🍀


 Exercise 1: Conjugating in Passé Composé

Conjugate the following sentences in passé composé using “être”.

  1. (Je / partir) en France.
  2. (Tu / arriver) tard.
  3. (Il / tomber) dans les escaliers.
  4. (Nous / revenir) de vacances.
  5. (Elles / naître) en avril.
answers
  1. Je suis parti(e) en France.
  2. Tu es arrivé(e) tard.
  3. Il est tombé dans les escaliers.
  4. Nous sommes revenu(e)s de vacances.
  5. Elles sont nées en avril.

Exercise 2: Correct Form

Choose the correct past participle form to complete each sentence.

  1. Ils (ont / sont) ____ partis à huit heures.
  2. Elle (est / a) ____ restée chez elle.
  3. Nous (sommes / avons) ____ montés au premier étage.
  4. Tu (es / as) ____ retourné en Italie.
  5. Les chiens (sont / ont) ____ sortis dans le jardin.
answers
  1. Ils sont partis à huit heures.
  2. Elle est restée chez elle.
  3. Nous sommes montés au premier étage.
  4. Tu es retourné en Italie.
  5. Les chiens sont sortis dans le jardin.

Exercise 3: Translate into French

Translate the following sentences into French, using the passé composé with “être”.

  1. They (female) arrived at the party.
  2. I went back home.
  3. You (singular, informal) came from the market.
  4. He was born in Paris.
  5. We (mixed group) went out last night.
answers
  1. Elles sont arrivées à la fête.
  2. Je suis rentré(e) à la maison.
  3. Tu es venu(e) du marché.
  4. Il est né à Paris.
  5. Nous sommes sortis hier soir.

Conclusion

The passé composé with “être” is a key part of past tense narrative in French. By understanding and practicing the formation and agreement rules, you’ll enhance your ability to recount past events accurately. Remember, consistency in gender and number agreement is crucial for correct French communication.


# Passé Composé with “Être” – French Grammar

Past Tense Exercises in French

Past Tense Exercises in French: Master the Passé Composé

Dive into mastering the French passé composé with our targeted exercises. From regular to irregular verbs, these activities are designed to enhance your understanding and fluency in expressing past actions. Whether you’re beginning your French language journey or looking to solidify your grasp of this essential tense, our exercises provide a clear, step-by-step pathway to improving your skills. Start now and unlock the full potential of your French language proficiency.

🔷 Past Tense Exercises 1: Introduction to the Past Tense

In this exercise, conjugate the simple verbs that end in -é. Use the auxiliary “avoir”.

  1. (danser) Hier, nous _________ jusqu’à minuit.
  2. (passer) Ils _________ devant la maison.
  3. (aimer) J’_________ ce film.
  4. (parler) Tu _________ avec elle au téléphone?
  5. (regarder) Nous _________ un documentaire intéressant.
  6. (jouer) Les enfants _________ dans le jardin.
  7. (écouter) Vous _________ la nouvelle chanson ?
  8. (travailler) Elle _________ toute la journée.
  9. (chercher) J’_________ mes clés partout.
  10. (arrêter) Ils _________ le bus juste à temps.
answers
  1. Hier, nous avons dansé jusqu’à minuit.
  2. Ils ont passé devant la maison.
  3. J’ai aimé ce film.
  4. Tu as parlé avec elle au téléphone?
  5. Nous avons regardé un documentaire intéressant.
  6. Les enfants ont joué dans le jardin.
  7. Vous avez écouté la nouvelle chanson ?
  8. Elle a travaillé toute la journée.
  9. J’ai cherché mes clés partout.
  10. Ils ont arrêté le bus juste à temps.

Translation : 

  1. Yesterday, we danced until midnight.
  2. They passed in front of the house.
  3. I liked that movie.
  4. Did you talk to her on the phone?
  5. We watched an interesting documentary.
  6. The children played in the garden.
  7. Did you listen to the new song?
  8. She worked all day.
  9. I looked for my keys everywhere.
  10. They caught the bus just in time.

🔷 Past Tense Exercises 2: Introduction to Past Participles Ending in -i, -is, -it

Conjugate the verbs with the auxiliary “avoir”.

  1. (finir) Vous _________ vos devoirs ?
  2. (choisir) J’_________ une robe pour la soirée.
  3. (comprendre) Ils _________ les instructions.
  4. (prendre) Tu _________ le dernier biscuit !
  5. (écrire) Elle _________ une lettre à son ami.
  6. (dire) Nous _________ la vérité.
  7. (produire) L’usine _________ des voitures électriques.
  8. (construire) Ils _________ une nouvelle école.
  9. (apprendre) J’_________ le français depuis un an.
  10. (mettre) Tu _________ la table pour le dîner ?
answers
  1. Vous avez fini vos devoirs ?
  2. J’ai choisi une robe pour la soirée.
  3. Ils ont compris les instructions.
  4. Tu as pris le dernier biscuit !
  5. Elle a écrit une lettre à son ami.
  6. Nous avons dit la vérité.
  7. L’usine a produit des voitures électriques.
  8. Ils ont construit une nouvelle école.
  9. J’ai appris le français depuis un an.
  10. Tu as mis la table pour le dîner ?

Translation : 

  1. Did you finish your homework?
  2. I chose a dress for the evening.
  3. They understood the instructions.
  4. You took the last cookie!
  5. She wrote a letter to her friend.
  6. We told the truth.
  7. The factory produced electric cars.
  8. They built a new school.
  9. I have been learning French for a year.
  10. Did you set the table for dinner?

🔷 Past Tense Exercises 3: Verbs with Irregular Past Participles

Conjugate the following verbs with the auxiliary “avoir”.

  1. (avoir) Hier, j’_________ un rendez-vous chez le médecin.
  2. (être) Ils _________ en vacances la semaine dernière.
  3. (faire) Nous _________ une grande promenade.
  4. (ouvrir) Tu _________ la fenêtre ?
  5. (découvrir) Elle _________ un vieux livre dans le grenier.
  6. (recevoir) Vous _________ beaucoup de cadeaux pour votre anniversaire.
  7. (voir) J’_________ un film incroyable hier soir.
  8. (vivre) Ils _________ dans cette maison pendant dix ans.
  9. (lire) Tu _________ le nouveau roman de cet auteur ?
  10. (prendre) Nous _________ le train pour aller à Paris.
answers
  1. Hier, j’ai eu un rendez-vous chez le médecin.
  2. Ils ont été en vacances la semaine dernière.
  3. Nous avons fait une grande promenade.
  4. Tu as ouvert la fenêtre ?
  5. Elle a découvert un vieux livre dans le grenier.
  6. Vous avez reçu beaucoup de cadeaux pour votre anniversaire.
  7. J’ai vu un film incroyable hier soir.
  8. Ils ont vécu dans cette maison pendant dix ans.
  9. Tu as lu le nouveau roman de cet auteur ?
  10. Nous avons pris le train pour aller à Paris.

Translation : 

  1. Yesterday, I had a doctor’s appointment.
  2. They were on vacation last week.
  3. We took a long walk.
  4. Did you open the window?
  5. She found an old book in the attic.
  6. You received many gifts for your birthday.
  7. I saw an incredible movie last night.
  8. They lived in this house for ten years.
  9. Did you read the new book by that author?
  10. We took the train to go to Paris.

🔷 Exercise 4: Mix of Past Participles

Conjugate the verbs in the past tense with the auxiliary “avoir”, mixing different types of past participles.

  1. (peindre) Elle _________ un tableau magnifique.
  2. (croire) Vous _________ à cette histoire ?
  3. (perdre) J’_________ mon téléphone hier.
  4. (attendre) Ils _________ trop longtemps à l’arrêt de bus.
  5. (répondre) Tu _________ à l’email du professeur ?
  6. (entendre) Nous _________ un bruit étrange la nuit dernière.
  7. (vouloir) J’_________ te voir avant ton départ.
  8. (savoir) Ils _________ la réponse à la question.
  9. (boire) Tu _________ tout le jus d’orange.
  10. (mordre) Le chien _________ le facteur.
answers
  1. Elle a peint un tableau magnifique.
  2. Vous avez cru à cette histoire ?
  3. J’ai perdu mon téléphone hier.
  4. Ils ont attendu trop longtemps à l’arrêt de bus.
  5. Tu as répondu à l’email du professeur ?
  6. Nous avons entendu un bruit étrange la nuit dernière.
  7. J’ai voulu te voir avant ton départ.
  8. Ils ont su la réponse à la question.
  9. Tu as bu tout le jus d’orange.
  10. Le chien a mordu le facteur.

Translation : 

  1. She painted a beautiful picture.
  2. Did you believe that story?
  3. I lost my phone yesterday.
  4. They waited too long at the bus stop.
  5. Did you reply to the teacher’s email?
  6. We heard a strange noise last night.
  7. I wanted to see you before you left.
  8. They knew the answer to the question.
  9. You drank all the orange juice.
  10. The dog bit the mailman.

🔷 Exercise 5: Advanced with More Complex Sentences

Conjugate the verbs in the past tense using more complex sentence structures.

  1. (écrire) Pendant les vacances, j’_________ une carte postale à mes grands-parents.
  2. (dire) À la réunion, tu _________ quelque chose d’important.
  3. (prendre) Avant de partir, nous _________ des photos devant la maison.
  4. (lire) Ce matin, elle _________ le journal en buvant son café.
  5. (comprendre) Vous _________ le problème de mathématiques ?
  6. (avoir) L’année dernière, ils _________ trois semaines de vacances en juillet.
  7. (faire) Pour son anniversaire, nous _________ une surprise.
  8. (ouvrir) Hier soir, j’_________ un cadeau de ma sœur.
  9. (être) Ce film _________ vraiment intéressant, selon moi.
  10. (vivre) Ils _________ des moments difficiles mais restent optimistes.
answers
  1. Pendant les vacances, j’ai écrit une carte postale à mes grands-parents.
  2. À la réunion, tu as dit quelque chose d’important.
  3. Avant de partir, nous avons pris des photos devant la maison.
  4. Ce matin, elle a lu le journal en buvant son café.
  5. Vous avez compris le problème de mathématiques ?
  6. L’année dernière, ils ont eu trois semaines de vacances en juillet.
  7. Pour son anniversaire, nous avons fait une surprise.
  8. Hier soir, j’ai ouvert le cadeau de ma sœur.
  9. Ce film a été intéressant, selon moi.
  10. Ils ont vécu des moments difficiles mais ils restent optimistes.

Translation : 

  1. During the holidays, I wrote a postcard to my grandparents.
  2. At the meeting, you said something important.
  3. Before leaving, we took pictures in front of the house.
  4. This morning, she read the newspaper while drinking her coffee.
  5. Did you understand the math problem?
  6. Last year, they had three weeks of vacation in July.
  7. For his birthday, we made a surprise.
  8. Last night, I opened my sister’s gift.
  9. In my opinion, this movie was interesting.
  10. They lived through difficult times but remain optimistic.

#Past Tense Exercises in French

The Past Participle in French

Past Participle in French

The Past Participle in French

Introduction

The past participle is a versatile form used in various tenses in French, including the perfect and pluperfect. It’s essential for forming compound tenses ( like passé composé ) and is also used as an adjective. Understanding how to form and use the past participle correctly is crucial for mastering French grammar.

Examples:

– I saw a friend. (J’ai vu un ami.)
– I offered him a book. (Je lui ai offert un livre.)
– We took the subway. (Nous avons pris le métro.)

These sentences use the past participle in different contexts, illustrating its importance in conveying past actions.

Formation of the Past Participle

The past participle in French can be grouped phonetically into different endings, each with its pronunciation and set of rules.

1. Past Participles Ending in -é [e] (for all verbs ending in -er)

Examples:

“danser” (to dance) becomes “dansé” (danced), “aller” (to go) becomes “allé” (gone), “passer” (to pass) becomes “passé” (passed).

French Verb English Meaning Past Participle (FR) English Translation
danser to dance dansé danced
aller to go allé gone
passer to pass passé passed

 2. Past Participles Ending in [i]

This category includes three endings:

➡︎ Ending in -i

For example, “finir” (to finish) becomes “fini” (finished), “choisir” (to choose) becomes “choisi” (chosen), “grossir” (to gain weight) becomes “grossi” (gained weight), “dormir” (to sleep) becomes “dormi” (slept).

French Verb English Meaning Past Participle (FR) English Translation
finir to finish fini finished
choisir to choose choisi chosen
grossir to gain weight grossi gained weight
dormir to sleep dormi slept

➡︎ Ending in -is

Such as “prendre” (to take) becomes “pris” (taken), “comprendre” (to understand) becomes “compris” (understood), “apprendre” (to learn) becomes “appris” (learned), “mettre” (to put) becomes “mis” (put).

French Verb English Meaning Past Participle (FR) English Translation
prendre to take pris taken
comprendre to understand compris understood
apprendre to learn appris learned
mettre to put mis put

➡︎ Ending in -it

For example, “écrire” (to write) becomes “écrit” (written), “dire” (to say) becomes “dit” (said), “produire” (to produce) becomes “produit” (produced), “construire” (to build) becomes “construit” (built).

French Verb English Meaning Past Participle (FR) English Translation
écrire to write écrit written
dire to say dit said
produire to produce produit produced
construire to build construit built

3. Past Participles Ending in -u [y]

Example:

“vivre” (to live) becomes “vécu” (lived), “avoir” (to have) becomes “eu” (had), “lire” (to read) becomes “lu” (read), “devoir” (to have to) becomes “dû” (had to), “pouvoir” (to be able to) becomes “pu” (been able to).

French Verb English Meaning Past Participle (FR) English Translation
vivre to live vécu lived
avoir to have eu had
lire to read lu read
devoir to have to had to
pouvoir to be able to pu been able to

4. Special Cases

Examples :

“faire” (to do/make) becomes “fait” (done/made), “être” (to be) becomes “été” (been), “peindre” (to paint) becomes “peint” (painted), “craindre” (to fear) becomes “craint” (feared), “ouvrir” (to open) becomes “ouvert” (opened).

French Verb English Meaning Past Participle (FR) English Translation
faire to do/make fait done/made
être to be été been
peindre to paint peint painted
craindre to fear craint feared
ouvrir to open ouvert opened

Conclusion

Understanding the formation and use of the past participle in French is key to mastering the language’s grammatical structure. Remembering these rules and practicing with examples will help solidify your knowledge and improve your French writing and speaking skills.

Past Tense (Passé Composé)

Past Tense (Passé Composé)

Lesson 23: Passé Composé with “Avoir” for First Group Verbs

Introduction

In this lesson, we’re focusing on the passé composé tense in French, specifically using the auxiliary verb “avoir” combined with first group verbs. First group verbs are regular verbs ending in “-er” and are the most common verbs in French. Mastering the passé composé with these verbs is essential for discussing past events.

Understanding Passé Composé with “Avoir”

Formation

The passé composé is formed with the auxiliary verb “avoir” in the present tense followed by the past participle of the main verb. For first group verbs, the past participle is formed by replacing the -er ending with -é.

Structure

Subject + avoir (conjugated) + past participle

The past participle of first group verbs in French, which are verbs ending in “-er”, is formed by replacing the “-er” ending with “-é”. This rule applies to all regular verbs in this group, making it relatively simple to form the past participle for a wide range of actions. The past participle is used in various tenses, including the passé composé, to indicate completed actions in the past.

Examples of Conjugation

  • Parler (to speak) → J’ai parlé (I spoke)
  • Aimer (to like) → Tu as aimé (You liked)
  • Regarder (to watch) → Il a regardé (He watched)

Examples:

  1. Parler (to speak) becomes parlé (spoken)
    • “J’ai parlé avec mon ami hier.” (I spoke with my friend yesterday.)
  2. Aimer (to like/love) becomes aimé (liked/loved)
    • “Elle a aimé le film.” (She liked the movie.)
  3. Danser (to dance) becomes dansé (danced)
    • “Nous avons dansé toute la nuit.” (We danced all night.)
  4. Écouter (to listen) becomes écouté (listened)
    • “Il a écouté de la musique.” (He listened to music.)
  5. Travailler (to work) becomes travaillé (worked)
    • “Tu as travaillé dur sur ce projet.” (You worked hard on this project.)

The formation of the past participle for first group verbs is consistent, making it an essential and accessible aspect of French grammar to master for discussing past events.

Key Vocabulary: First Group Verbs

French Verb Pronunciation English Translation
aimer eh-may to like/to love
parler par-lay to speak
donner doh-nay to give
écouter ay-koo-tay to listen
travailler tra-vai-yay to work
regarder re-gar-day to watch
jouer zhoo-ay to play
danser don-say to dance
étudier ay-too-dee-ay to study
chanter shan-tay to sing
marcher mar-shay to walk
penser pon-say to think
arriver a-ree-vay to arrive
habiter a-bee-tay to live
dîner dee-nay to dine
voyager voy-a-zhay to travel
nager na-zhay to swim
dessiner de-see-nay to draw
laver la-vay to wash
préparer pray-pa-ray to prepare
porter por-tay to wear
acheter ash-tay to buy
utiliser oo-tee-lee-zay to use
oublier oo-blee-ay to forget
fermer fair-may to close
gagner ga-nyay to win
crier cree-ay to shout
pleurer plu-ray to cry
cuisiner kwee-see-nay to cook
envoyer on-voy-ay to send
ranger ron-zhay to tidy up
sauter so-tay to jump
lancer lon-say to throw
garder gar-day to keep
montrer mon-tray to show
trouver troo-vay to find
appeler a-pel-ay to call
rentrer ron-tray to return
demander duh-mon-day to ask
tomber tom-bay to fall
changer shon-zhay to change
ajouter a-zhoo-tay to add
visiter vee-zee-tay to visit
adorer a-doh-ray to adore
prêter pray-tay to lend
entrer on-tray to enter
rester res-tay to stay
quitter kee-tay to leave
commencer ko-mon-say to begin

Exercises

Exercise 1: Conjugate in Passé Composé

  1. Conjugate “avoir” in the present tense according to the subject (I, you, he/she, we, you all, they).
  2. Form the past participle of the verb by replacing the -er ending with -é.

Conjugate the following verbs in passé composé using “avoir”.

  1. Danser (to dance)
  2. Jouer (to play)
  3. Étudier (to study)
  4. Marcher (to walk)

Example :

Chanter (to sing)

  • J’ai chanté (I sang)
  • Tu as chanté (You sang)
  • Il/Elle a chanté (He/She sang)
  • Nous avons chanté (We sang)
  • Vous avez chanté (You all sang)
  • Ils/Elles ont chanté (They sang)
answers

Danser (to dance)

  • J’ai dansé (I danced)
  • Tu as dansé (You danced)
  • Il/Elle a dansé (He/She danced)
  • Nous avons dansé (We danced)
  • Vous avez dansé (You all danced)
  • Ils/Elles ont dansé (They danced)

Jouer (to play)

  • J’ai joué (I played)
  • Tu as joué (You played)
  • Il/Elle a joué (He/She played)
  • Nous avons joué (We played)
  • Vous avez joué (You all played)
  • Ils/Elles ont joué (They played)

Étudier (to study)

  • J’ai étudié (I studied)
  • Tu as étudié (You studied)
  • Il/Elle a étudié (He/She studied)
  • Nous avons étudié (We studied)
  • Vous avez étudié (You all studied)
  • Ils/Elles ont étudié (They studied)

Marcher (to walk)

  • J’ai marché (I walked)
  • Tu as marché (You walked)
  • Il/Elle a marché (He/She walked)
  • Nous avons marché (We walked)
  • Vous avez marché (You all walked)
  • Ils/Elles ont marché (They walked)

Exercise 2: Translate to French

Translate the following sentences into French using passé composé.

  1. I listened to music.
  2. You (singular) played soccer.
  3. He worked yesterday.
  4. We watched a movie.
  5. They liked the cake.
answers
  1. J’ai écouté de la musique.
  2. Tu as joué au football.
  3. Il a travaillé hier.
  4. Nous avons regardé un film.
  5. Ils ont aimé le gâteau.

Exercise 3: Complete the Sentence

Fill in the blanks to complete the sentences with the correct form of verbs in passé composé.

  1. Nous _______ (aimer) le concert.
  2. Elle _______ (regarder) la télévision.
  3. Tu _______ (manger) une pomme.
  4. Je _______ (dîner) à huit heures.
  5. Ils _______ (habiter) à Paris.
answers
  1. Nous avons aimé le concert.
  2. Elle a regardé la télévision.
  3. Tu as mangé une pomme.
  4. J’ai dîné à huit heures.
  5. Ils ont habité à Paris.

Conclusion

The passé composé with “avoir” for first group verbs is a foundational aspect of conversing about past activities in French. By understanding its formation and practicing with these exercises, you’ll be well on your way to discussing a wide range of past events. Continue practicing to enhance your proficiency. Bonne continuation!