Is choice of imparfait or passé composé always black and white?


Kwiziq community member

7 August 2018

1 reply

Is choice of imparfait or passé composé always black and white?

Is there only one correct choice for each sitaution or might different speakers view the situation differently and make different choices?

I find that I often get this sort of exercises wrong (for example in the "Un ville magique" test where I got 13/15 on my first attempt) but on looking again at the text and rereading the lessons I cannot convince myself that the alternative choice was better.

For example:

1. "L'endroit qui m'a enchanté au-dessus de tout, c'était le chateau de l'imperatrice Sissi". I had wrongly answered "m'enchantait" since Magalie being enchanted seems to me to be an ongoing state, not having a beginning and end.

2. "Je ne voulait pas plus repartir". I had wrongly answered "n'ai plus voulu" since the state of not wanting to leave would have ended when she actually did leave.

This question relates to:
French lesson "Describing and expressing opinions in L'Imparfait (imperfect tense)"


Kwiziq community member

4 September 2018


It is very tricky I do agree.

L'endroit qui m'a enchanté ..... expresses that at the time, you were delighted / awed by that chateau. You may retain fond memories of that experience but the emotion / feeling of that sight was at that short instant. This why the perfect tense is appropriate.

In the case of vouloir this verb is almost always, in my understanding: in the imparfait as a verb expressing a mental state. The desire / wanting is not short lived but an ongoing state of mind.

Hope that helps.


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 »
Getting that for you now.