Past historic – passé simple


Let's Define It!

What's the *past historic*?

First, a word of caution for you: never use the past historic (passé simple in French) in spoken French if you do not wish to be seen as a weirdo.

Not one French-speaking person in their right mind would ever make a sentence using the passé simple in a casual oral conversation between friends or family.

Save this tense solely for written narratives/texts such as novels, biographies, articles, speeches etc.

(Context: history magazine -- "Le jeune prince succéda au roi quand celui-ci mourut. / The young prince succeeded to the king when he died.


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 the French verb parler and finir conjugated in the past historic.


je parlai

tu parlas

il parla

nous parlâmes

vous parlâtes

ils parlèrent


je finis

tu finis

il finit

nous finîmes

vous finîtes

ils finirent




Let's Take a Quiz!

What did you learn?