Why is there so much emphasis on passé simple?


Kwiziq community member

10 April 2019

2 replies

Why is there so much emphasis on passé simple?

As a French major studying literature, it made sense to learn passé simple. But now, over 40 years later and speaking French as a tourist, I have no need for it. I’ve really enjoyed Lawless French until I got to level c and so many questions on passé simple! I’d rather learn helpful vocabulary and expressions/idioms than advanced verb conjugations.  Love, the site, but not passé simple!  

Just read all the other comments—glad I’m not the only one who’s not keen on passé simple. 

This question relates to:
French lesson "Conjugate regular -dre verbs in Le Passé Simple"


Kwiziq language super star

10 April 2019


Hi Mary,

I sympathize with your comments. The passé simple is indeed a tense that you need to recognize rather than speak .

As some of the Kwiziq community is made up of students it has its place in the learning process and you cannot read a French Classic without knowledge of it ...



Kwiziq community member

18 June 2019


The passé simple is part of C1, or even high B2, in all thorough French curricula.

I don't think there's an inordinate focus on it here. It's a small part of Kwiziq's program as a whole, and there don't seem to be more lessons than necessary to learn it.

It's important not only for those wanting to read literary French, but also for those looking to pass proficiency tests at higher levels.

Those who aren't interested can skip the questions on it, surely, but why not just learn it? Put all the passé simple lessons in a single Kwiziq notebook, drill them to diamond level, and move on. It's not that hard, and once you've got it, you've got it.

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