Choosing a tense


Kwiziq community member

28 August 2016

5 replies

Choosing a tense

I am wondering about the once upon a time a king lived in a castle. Can this be more than one tense. If it is a story concerning a king who lived in the castle, then it is imperfect. What if it is about kings in general once upon a time a king lived in a castle, now he lives in a council house. Does the tense still have to be imperfect, or could it be that that situation is completely changed and it could be past historic. A bit confused.

This relates to:
Describing and expressing opinions in L'Imparfait (imperfect tense) -


Kwiziq language super star

14 September 2016


Bonjour Jennifer !

I like your example ;)
Here the issue is the use of "Il était une fois" which is setting a time duration in which a story is taking place. Therefore, what's going to come straight after is going to be a description or setting of a situation of some kind, and this calls for L'Imparfait in French.

I hope that's helpful!


Kwiziq community member

30 January 2018


With the king it was, "avait vécu". Why not, "vivait", there or, "se sont habillés", here?


Kwiziq language super star

1 February 2018


Bonjour Lanny !

I don't quite follow what you're referring to here, but I'd be happy to answer your question if you could provide me with more context :)

À bientôt !


Kwiziq community member

21 March 2018


First, sorry for the confusion.  I'm always mixing up, "to reside" (habiter) and, "to get dressed" (se habiller) which couldn't have helped my sentence above at all!  (Once upon a time, a king dressed his castle. :)

Second, I *thought* that I had used, "vivait", and the question had corrected me with, "avait vécu", but I have come across the question on another quiz and see that I was wrong about that.

Merci !


Kwiziq language super star

23 March 2018


Ok, that makes more sense :)

Thanks for your reply !

Bonne journée !

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