L'année dernière, j'ai été vraiment malade vs L'année dernière, j'étais vraiment malade


Kwiziq community member

15 July 2016

1 reply

L'année dernière, j'ai été vraiment malade vs L'année dernière, j'étais vraiment malade

(re-posting as as new question) Bonjour Aurélie ! Thank you very much for taking the time to respond, That's very helpful. May I please clarify to ensure I understand? So the use of Le Passé Composé draws attention to a specific instance or time when the speaker was sick last year - for example, if during the month of February s/he had been very ill and was referring to this, it would be correct to say L'année dernière, j'ai été vraiment malade. However, if the speaker is referring more generally to having been ill, perhaps even on several different occasions throughout the year and not drawing attention to a specific occasion of being ill, it would be correct to use L'année dernière, j'étais vraiment malade. Can it be said that Le Passé Composé is more likely to be used to draw attention to the sickness, whereas the use of L'Imparfait might be used if one were drawing attention to the nature of last year rather than particularly drawing attention to the sickness? I know it's a different question, but could you also please let me know if it is acceptable to say: j'ai été mangé (I have been eating) - and whether it is a common construction in French. Many thanks again!

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


Kwiziq language super star

18 July 2016


Bonjour Adrian ! You are correct as to the usage of Le Passé Composé and L'Imparfait in the examples you gave. I'd rather say that L'Imparfait is more a descriptive tense, describing a state that lasted in the past, such being ill, whereas Le Passé Composé is more focused on actions, expressing something that happened in the past. As for "J'ai été mangé", it means "I have been eatEN" in French! To say "I have been eating", you would once again use Le Passé Composé here, as in French we don't have a "continuous" form (be + -ING), so wouldn't make the distinction between this and "I have eaten". It would be Le Passé Composé as this action is considered in relation with a consequence it has in the present tense, so as one whole action. I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !

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