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CHAPTER 6 – Definition – Past anterior – Passé antérieur

In French, the past anterior is called passé intérieur.

It’s a compound tense, which means it uses an auxiliary (avoir or être) followed by a past participle. This auxiliary must be conjugated in the passé simple.

The passé antérieur is used with conjunctions of time such as dès que, aussitôt que, quand, lorsque, après que,  etc. It is mainly used in subordinate clauses.

The passé antérieur serves to reference the anteriority of a past action. It is more literary and more formal than the pluperfect tense.

Elles sortirent rapidement du restaurant dès qu’elles eurent mangé leurs repas. / They got out quickly as soon as they ate their meals.