BLACK FRIDAY CYBER MONDAY SAVE 25% ON ANY PACKAGE »

Passive - English confusion!!

PattyC1Kwiziq community member

Passive - English confusion!!

I am totallyconfused by some of your English translations for the Passive

eg

How are you differentiating in English between Passé Composé and the Imparfait?  Eg "Ils ont été accuellis par le xxx and "ils etaient accueillis par le xxx". You translate the second sentence in the tests as "They were welcomed by " but then how would you translate the first sentence??  When you ask fir a translation of "The boy was welcomed by" you can't mark it wrong if one gives answer in passé composé as opposed to "imparfait"?

Asked 3 months ago
LauraKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Patty,

Thanks for writing.

The phrase "every day" indicates that the imperfect is needed. To use a simpler example: Bob woke up at 6am every day = Bob se réveillait à 6h tous les jours.

This is a fundamental difference between the imparfait and passé composé; you can't use the latter for repeated actions, as indicated by "tous les jours." See Imparfait to refer to past habits or repeated actions

That said, putting this concept into the passive voice adds an additional layer of complexity. The imparfait is far more common with the verb être, but the passé composé is possible - and both are generally equivalent to "was/were."

Therefore, we're going to change this question to eliminate this complication.

So to answer your question, Bob était réveillé par and Bob a été réveillé par are both equivalent to "Bob was woken by." But once you add tous les jours, only the former is correct in French. In contrast, "Bob was woken by the alarm yesterday at 6am" = Bob a été réveillé par le réveil hier à 6h.

Regarding the example with "They were welcomed by", in the absence of a clearer context, both tenses would indeed be correct here. In order to stick to the "simple tense Passive form" of the lesson, we've now replaced this example with a non-ambiguous one :)

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

PattyC1Kwiziq community member

"Bob was woken up by the alarm every day"

Bob était reveillé par = above (pi)

Bob a été reveille par = above (pc)

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

The translation of passive voice imparfait often (but not always) parallels the use of the continuous form in English:

J'étais réveillé par le soleil. -- I was being awakened by the sun.
J'ai été révillé par le soleil. -- I was awakened by the sun.

Passive - English confusion!!

I am totallyconfused by some of your English translations for the Passive

eg

How are you differentiating in English between Passé Composé and the Imparfait?  Eg "Ils ont été accuellis par le xxx and "ils etaient accueillis par le xxx". You translate the second sentence in the tests as "They were welcomed by " but then how would you translate the first sentence??  When you ask fir a translation of "The boy was welcomed by" you can't mark it wrong if one gives answer in passé composé as opposed to "imparfait"?

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
Thinking...