Passé composé never

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Michael

Kwiziq community member

19 June 2018

4 replies

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 ; )

Chris

Kwiziq community member

19 June 2018

19/06/18

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).

Michael

Kwiziq community member

19 June 2018

19/06/18

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.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

21 June 2018

21/06/18

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!

 

Michael

Kwiziq community member

21 June 2018

21/06/18

Thanks Cécile.

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