Past Infinitive in French – Infinitif Passé

Past Infinitive in French – Infinitif Passé

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For example, let’s translate this sentence “Thank you for helping my sister” for a past event in French we say: Je vous remercie d’avoir aidé ma soeur

The auxiliary verb “avoir” is infinitive and followed by a past participle “aidé”, we call that Past Infinitive.

This lesson will help you translate verbs ending in -ing.


However there is a difficulty in English as if you want to say the same thing for a current event, you also say the same sentence “thank you for helping my sister”, it is a bit confusing as in French we use 2 tenses, actually in English we should say: Thank you for having helped my sister.

So pay attention to the tense when you want to translate such a sentence in French.


More examples:

After spending 2 hours at home, he decided to go out
Après avoir passé 2 heures à la maison, il a décidé de sortir

After helping you, I was happy? après t’avoir aidé, j’étais content
I am happy for not missing my flight? je suis content de ne pas avoir manqué mon vol.

If instead of ‘my sister’ you use a pronoun, it is located before the auxiliary verb

Je vous remercie de l’avoir aidée
L’ for sister

Nous aurions aimé t’avoir vu hier
We would have loved seeing you yesterday

She did her homework alone, without being helped
Elle a fait ses devoirs sans avoir été aidée

The negative form is:

Je vous remercie de ne pas l’avoir aidée (of course here it is a bit ironic as we don’t thank someone for not doing something)

You also know that in French we have 2 auxiliary verbs to have and to be

Il se rappelle être venu ici quand il était jeune
He remembers that he came here when he was young

Merci d’être venu
Thank you for coming

Pascal Dherve

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Pascal Dherve

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