Would it be correct to say "Je suis retourné me coucher après que tu partis"? I'm confused re when to use passé composé versus passé simple.

IanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Would it be correct to say "Je suis retourné me coucher après que tu partis"? I'm confused re when to use passé composé versus passé simple.

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Don't fret about passé simple. It is never used unless you're writing literary French. Did you mean another tense? Maybe plus-que-parfait?

You use the plus-que-parfait if you want to stress that the two actions are temporally farther apart. Either one is correct, but the choice depends on the temporal relationship between the two actions.

Je suis retourné me coucher après que tu es parti. -- I went back to sleep after you left.
Je suis retourné me coucher après que tu étais parti. -- I went back to sleep after you had left. (This doesn't quite work for me in English, though).

P.S.: In my first post there slipped an extraneous "s" into "partis" that shouldn't be there.

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Je suis retourné me coucher après que tu es partis. --
I went back to sleep after you left.

You need the passé composé.

IanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thanks Chris.  I understand the rule, but I don't have a clear understanding of when to use passé composé and when to use passé simple.
IanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thanks Chris, that's really helpful!
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
You're welcome!

Would it be correct to say "Je suis retourné me coucher après que tu partis"? I'm confused re when to use passé composé versus passé simple.

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