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Passé Composé (1)

[Schoolnotes][Quiz Lab] [Practice]

1. What is the passé composé?
The passé composé is the verb tense you use to talk about events in the past. "I watched TV." would be in the passé composé in French.

2. How would you say "I watched TV in French?
J'ai regardé la télévision.

3. How do you form the passé composé?
There are always two parts to the passé composé: a helping verb and a past participle.
j'ai regardé     nous avons regardé
tu as regardé     vous avez regardé
il a regardé     ils ont regardé

4. Does the past participle always end in an -é?
Not always. Only for regular verbs whose infinitive form ends in -er. Many irregular verbs have past participles that don't follow the stemending pattern. You just have to memorize these irregular forms. Here are some examples:
voir = to see     j'ai vu
prendre = to take     tu as pris
lire = to read     elle a lu
faire = to do, make     nous avons fait

5. Is the helping verb always a form of avoir?
For most verbs, yes. But there are a few verbs that use a form of être as the helping verb.

je suis allé(e)     nous sommes allé(e)s
tu es allé(e)     vous êtes allé(e)(s)
elle est allée     ils sont allés

6. What are those extra letters on the end of the past participle? They weren't there when avoir was used as the helping verb.
When être is used as the helping verb, you have to make sure the past participle "agrees" with the subject. This means that if the subject is feminine (elle), you add an extra -e. If the subject is plural, you add an -s.

Elle est allée au cinéma.
Ils sont allés au cinéma.

7. What about the passé composé in the negative? How would you say, "I didn't watch television."?
You put the ne and the pas around the helping verb:

Je n'ai pas regardé la télévision.
Nous nesommes pas allés au cinéma.
Ils n'ont pas vu le film.

8. You said in #4 above that the past participle for regular -er verbs always ends in -é. I notice in the blue box on p.245 that they talk about -re verbs.
Yes. Take a look at this chart:

attendre (to wait for)        J'ai attendu le bus.
répondre (to answer)        Il a répondu à la question.
vendre (to sell)        Ils ont vendu leur voiture.
entendre (to hear)        Je n'ai pas entendu le téléphone.

9. Are there any more verb groups besides -er verbs and -re verbs?
Just one more, the -ir verbs, which are presented on p.267. Take a look at this chart:

finir (to finish)        J'ai fini mes devoirs.
choisir (to choose)        Il a choisi la chemise bleue.
grandir (to sell)        Il a grandi plus que sa soeur.
maigrir (to lose weight)        Je n'ai pas maigri pendant les vacances.

9. Is that all of the passé composé?
It's all that's presented in the 8th grade. But you can take a peek at what lies ahead in the 9th grade by clicking
here. It's still "under construction", though.

Passé Composé Practice
Passé Composé Practice
This is a "Quia" multiple choice exercise to practice the passé composé.

Passé Composé Practice
In this exercise you have to provide the verb in the correct form of the passé composé. After you type in your answer, you click on "Vérifiez" to check it. Note: this exercise may not work on all web browsers.

Passé Composé Quiz
This quiz was created by Mr. Loehwing. Enter your name and the secret word "hauppauge", then take the quiz. You'll get instant feedback as to how you did. Your first answer counts, though, so if you want to take the quiz a second time, you'll have to log in again.

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