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Difference Between Imparfait and Passe Compose

Imparfait vs Passe Compose

When studying French, one should have to give more details to the tenses — imparfait and passe compose. If these two tenses are not studied in depth and also not understood clearly, it can create confusion when using it. A person can use imparfait and passe compose in its correct way only if he or she knows the distinction between the two.

French Imparfait is the English Imperfect tense and passe compose is present perfect tense in English.

In general terms, imparfait talks of past situations and passe compose speaks of specific situations. Moreover, imparfait can also set the stage for a situation expressed with passé composé.

Imparfait is used for an ongoing action. For example J’allais en India (I was going to India). passé composé is used for some events that started and ended in the past time. For example Je suis allé en India ( I went to India).

Imparfait is also used for repeated or habitual actions. It is also used for an action that has happened many times. For example Je voyageais en India tous les ans. (I travelled to India every year) and Je visitais souvent le ville (I often visited the city). On the contrary, passé composé is used for a single event or for an event that has happened for a number of times. For example J’ai voyagé en India l’année dernière. (I travelled in India last year) J’ai visité India trois fois. ( I have visited India three times).

When imparfait denotes a physical or mental state, passe denotes a physical or a mental state at a particular moment. Example of imparfait: J’avais peur des chiens ( I was afraid of dogs) and J’aimais les épinards. (I used to like spinach). Example of passe compose: Pour la première fois, j’ai aimé les épinards. (For the first time, I liked spinach) and J’ai eu peur quand le chien a aboyé. (I was scared when the dog barked).

Summary

1.French Imparfait is the English Imperfect tense and passe compose is present perfect tense in English.
2.Imparfait is used for an ongoing action. passé composé is used for some events that started and ended in the past time.
3.Imparfait is also used for repeated or habitual actions. On the contrary, passé composé is used for a single event or for an event that has happened for a number of times.


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