Categories: French tenses

How to use the PASSÉ SIMPLE in French

How to use le passé simple in French

I used to say that most of the time the passé simple can be replaced with le passé composé, it is true, so some ask why to learn this tense.
In this lesson we are  going to see that the passé simple is used but mostly with some French expressions, you can learn.

Le passé simple is the Preterit in English!

1. Passé Simple de Être

Il fut Président en 1995: He was President in 1995
Ce fut un plaisir de vous rencontrer: It was a pleasure to meet you
Ce fut un échec complet: It was a complete failure
Ils furent les premiers à arriver: They were the first to arrive.

These forms: Il, Elle, Ce, Ils, Elles are used Je, Tu, Nous and Vous not really.

2. Passé Simple de Avoir

Il eut été plus facile de le faire ainsi: It would have been easier to do it this way.
Il eut été préférable que tu lui dises: It would have been preferable that you said it to him.
Il (elle) eut (ils, elles eurent) beau dire que non, personne ne l’a cru: No matter what he (she, they) said, nobody believed him.
Il eut fallu le dire dès le début: You should have said it from the beginning.
C’eut été dommage: It would have been a shame.

The third forms singular and plural are used.

Pascal Dherve

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Pascal Dherve

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