While reviewing, I came across this question... "How best to say 'He loved this book!'?" Since the question was multiple choice, the answer that it expected was obvious. But isn't l'imparfait better suited for this example than passé composé? When someone "loves a book", it is not a brief, one time thing. They don't love the book and then forget about it the second they put it down. It is more likely that he loved the book for years, until he died. Or if he is still living, he continues to love this book. It just seems to me that an emotion is a rather bad question choice for passé composé.
Passé composé is correct whether 'loved it ONLY when he read it' (expressing no opinion on loving it at any other time') or 'loved it and still does', with the latter being understood from the statement you note. See the attached typically excellent presentation by Hugo Cotton at about 14 minute mark, in which he does a great job of explaining the use of passé composé for things true in past and still true now (actually, suggest watching it all). Imparfait here would indicate that 'he loved it at some relatively vague or unspecified time, but not anymore' - and leave the French listener/reader wondering what happened to change the situation.
The fact that he loved the book is a completed action.
It is not an historic action that we would want to describe in English as "was" or "were" or "would".
If we comment today about this emotion it remains valid still. It is a fact, but not described with "was" or "were" nor is it an habitual past action (would).
I have no problem with it being in the passé composé.
Hope this helps?
French imparfait is very similar to English continuous (-ing) tense:
Il a aimé ce livre. -- He loved this book.Il aimait ce livre. -- He was loving this book.
Sign in to submit your answer
Don't have an account yet? Join today
Test your French to the CEFR standard