Passé composé never

MichaelC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Passé composé never

Are negative statements in the past, e.g. jamais,  mostly passe composé rather than imparfait. I can't décide if 'never' is an ongoing state (i never learnt to ski) or a terminated action (i never ate it) but as i write this i am thinking context dependant , but since i have already written it i will post it ; )
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Michael,

If you are talking of things that you never did in the past, you would use the imparfait and 'jamais'.

"Quand j'étais jeune, je n'allais jamais au théâtre et nous n'allions jamais en vacances, ni en promenade en famille..."

It describes a state of affairs that was the norm when you were young.

Hope this helps!

 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Michael,

I, too, found that negative statements in the past are predominantly passé composé. Just think about something similar in English. How often do you say, e.g., "I never learned to ski." versus "I was never learning to ski."

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

MichaelC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Hi Chris,

My thoughts as well, just thought there might be some convention in french that favours the PC over the imperfect as if  'not happining' is considered a single completed state at a given point in time. Perhaps a question for Jean-Paul Satre.

MichaelC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thanks Cécile.

Passé composé never

Are negative statements in the past, e.g. jamais,  mostly passe composé rather than imparfait. I can't décide if 'never' is an ongoing state (i never learnt to ski) or a terminated action (i never ate it) but as i write this i am thinking context dependant , but since i have already written it i will post it ; )

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Ask a question

Find your French level for FREE

Test your French to the CEFR standard

Find your French level >>
I'll be right with you...