Compound tense – temps composé
Let's Define It!
What's an *compound tense*?
A compound tense (temps composé) is first of all a verb tense. This is a verb tense formed by joining more than one verb together.
French compound tenses are made up of two elements:
- an auxiliary (être OR avoir)
- past participle
"...suis arrivé" / "...avait mangé" / "...sera venu" are all compound tenses, respectively, the passé composé, past perfect, future perfect tenses.
The number of compound tenses ranges from 8 to 10 depending on whether you include the most rare ones such as the impératif passé or the passé sur-composé.
Let's Pronounce It!
What does it sound like in French?
Let's Have an Example or Two!
Can a little reinforcement do the trick?
Here is a list of common French compound tenses alongside their respective examples:
- passé composé --> J'ai mangé du chocolat / I have eaten (or I ate) chocolate. (present perfect tense)
- plus-que-parfait --> il savait que j'avais mangé du chocolat / He knew I had chocolate. (pluperfect tense)
- futur antérieur --> Nous serons partis avant votre retour. / We will be gone before your return. (future perfect)
- subjonctif passé --> Martin était triste que son ami ait perdu son chien. / Martin was sad that her friend had lost her dog.
- conditionnel passé (1st form) --> Il aurait dit bonjour s'il vous avait vu. / He would have said hello if he had seen you. Past conditional (first form)