Kwiziq community member
30 June 2017
Hopping between l'imparfait and passé composé
From writing challenge b2 week 62, this extract describes events in the past:
La "navette" qui DEVAIT nous amener à l'hôtel ÉTAIT en fait un vieux bus de campagne cabossé dans lequel on A PU apprécier toutes les aspérités de la route." Why doesn't it stick to l'imparfait for all 3 verbs?
1 July 2017
Kwiziq language super star
6 July 2017
Bonjour Joakim !Like Ron, I'd say that L'Imparfait tends to refer to actions that lasted, (hence its use for descriptions), that you consider in their development, whereas Le Passé Composé is more about punctual, brief actions considered as a whole.Let's look at this sentence:La "navette" qui DEVAIT nous amener à l'hôtel ÉTAIT en fait un vieux bus de campagne cabossé dans lequel on A PU apprécier toutes les aspérités de la route.- There is a nuance of meaning between devait and a dû that kind of reflects the nuance of length: L'imparfait de devoir would be more like "was supposed to", whereas its Passé Composé is usually more like "had to/must have". I hope that distinction can help you a bit there :)- the choice of était is quite clear here: it's a description of the ongoing state of the hotel at the time, hence L'Imparfait.- as for the difference between pouvait and a pu here, here it's about your point of view. If you were telling this anecdote from the point of view of still being on the bus and therefore considering the action in its ongoing development (i.e. we were able to feel that as the bus was driving), you would use L'Imparfait.However, here you telling the story from a later point of view, as a sum up on that bus journey you're no longer on (we felt it while we were on it, which is not the case any more), hence Le Passé Composé.I hope that's helpful!À bientôt !
Login to submit your answer
Don't have an account yet? Join today
Test your French to the CEFR standard
French listening practice
French reading practice
French speaking practice
French writing practice