The weather was good the whole time - passé composé ou imparfait?

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Paul

Kwiziq community member

8 March 2019

4 replies

The weather was good the whole time - passé composé ou imparfait?

In this story, “the weather was good the whole time” was translated as “il a fait beau tout le temps”. Why do we use the passé composé here, and not the imparfait ? 

I thought the best response might instead be “Il faisait beau tout le temps” as they were describing, or setting the scene for the story. (And also it was the continuous state of the weather without a set beginning or end). 

Although I can usually understand when to use the correct past tense now, occasionally one comes along that completely stumps me! Sorry for repeating a question asked a month ago, but I’d really like to know the answer.

This question relates to:
French writing exercise "A romantic weekend away"

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

8 March 2019

8/03/19

Bonjour Paul !

Here it's a question of point of view.

 “Il a fait beau tout le temps.”
You're talking about a period of time that is completely in the past, and you're looking at it from a present point of view as a "finished" event.

 “Il faisait beau tout le temps”
Here you're either placing yourself within that past period as it unfolded, usually to contrast it with a punctual event (i.e. It was sunny when he came. - not really applicable here because of "all the time"), or you're talking about a recurrent event in the past (i.e. it used to be sunny all the time.). 

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

Paul

Kwiziq community member

8 March 2019

8/03/19

Thanks Aurélie. I think I get it now. So they could have simply said : “il faisait beau” (imparfait - setting the scene) but because they added a time period which was defined and finished i.e. “tout le temps” (referring to that particular weekend) they used the passé composé ? 

So for example one would say “IL FAISAIT beau quand on est arrivés / chaque printemps / quand j’ai joué au tennis samedi” , but conversely “IL A FAIT beau cet après-midi / la semaine dernière / quand j’étais là-bas” ? (6 out of 6 I hope!) 

Very subtle, but all part of the fun. I love attempting these exercise weekly from A1 to C1, and rarely get 100% at any level (but I think I am improving). Thanks again for providing these interesting challenges each week.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

8 March 2019

8/03/19

Six sur six Paul ! Bravo !

Indeed, it takes a bit of practice to get the hang of it, just like the Present Perfect in English for me ;)

I'm glad you enjoy the challenges :)

Bonne journée !

Paul

Kwiziq community member

8 March 2019

8/03/19

Hahaha. I have just looked up the present perfect in English (I had no idea what it was!)

Je vous souhaite aussi une bonne journée !

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