How do I know when to use j'ai été rather than j'étais...it's all very confusing

Susan

Kwiziq community member

24 August 2017

1 reply

How do I know when to use j'ai été rather than j'étais...it's all very confusing

This question relates to:
French lesson "Conjugate être (+ avoir) in Le Passé Composé (conversational past)"

Ron

Kwiziq community member

24 August 2017

24/08/17

Bonjour Susan, This is a very good question and I thank you for it. I struggle with this myself. Here is the lesson from this site that addresses it: https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/my-languages/french/view/5013 The one way that I remember the difference is this: 1) If I am speaking, I typically use the passé composé. However, if I am writing a paper or paragraph, then both come into play. 2) Writing descriptive phrases, I tend toward l'imparfait but for one time historical events, I use the passé composé. Having said that, there are very clear-cut grammar rules that address the use of each which should be in the link above for the lesson. Here is another excellent reference site from the UT Austin French department that addresses the difference: https://www.laits.utexas.edu/tex/pr/tap8.html And if neither of these links are satisfactory there are others, simply google search «passé composé vs imparfait» without the quotation marks. Bonne chance et bonne continuation dans vos études de français Ron

Your answer

Login to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Think you've got all the answers?

Test your French to the CEFR standard

find your French level »
3382questions7068answers134,577users
Getting that for you now.