In French, does à cette époque trigger the passé composé or the imparfait? I can´t remember. I was thinking it would trigger passé composé because, ´at that time', in my mind is a specific time frame. Or, is this triggering imparfait because it´s setting a scene? In this example, it said...'j'étais plein de doutes à cette époque. I´m guessing this is a reoccurring idea around that time.? My initial guess was j'étais because it sounded better in my ear, but I changed it to passé composé due to the à cette époque. Thoughts?
Just like Chris said, it is most of the time an expression that requires L’Imparfait. However, it depends on the context and what you are describing/talking about.
If you are talking about a specific time in your past, you would use L’Imparfait, especially with a verb of state (être, sembler, …). And because there isn't a clear beginning or end with "à cette époque".
Describing a state:
Describing something that used to happen in the past:
À cette époque, je portais des lunettes tous les jours = at that time I used to wear glasses
À cette époque, je marchais deux kilomètres tous les jours = at that time, I used to walk two kilometers a day
However, you can use the Passé Composé with “à cette époque” with verbs of action, when you describe an action that is brief and that is done by the subject or that has an impact on the subject.
À cette époque, j’ai commencé à travailler = at that time, I started working
À cette époque, j’ai rencontré Marie =at that time, I met Marie
I hope this is helpful.
Mostly you'd want the imperfect tense but it isn't a hard and fast rule and I'm sure there are examples where you'd use the passé composé.
À cette époque je croyais au Père Noel. -- At that time I believed in Santa Claus.
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