PASSÉ COMPOSÉ WITH ÊTRE

PASSÉ COMPOSÉ WITH ÊTRE

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Added by March 10, 2014

As seen in a previous blog, the PASSÉ COMPOSÉ (or compound past) is the most common past tense used to mention events that took place in the past. 

etre-avoir

In most cases, verbs conjugated in the passé composé are going to follow this pattern:

 AVOIR IN THE PRESENT TENSE + PAST PARTICIPLE OF THE CONJUGATED VERB

However, there is a list of verbs that you will need to memorize and that will follow this different pattern:

ÊTRE IN THE PRESENT TENSE
+
PAST PARTICIPLE OF THE CONJUGATED VERB AGREEING WITH THE SUBJECT

1. Here’s the list of verbs you’re going to have to memorize and that will systematically be conjugated with “être” when in the Passé Composé:

  • All reflexive verbs (se laver, se réveiller, s’amuser etc.)
  • Lots of verbs related to movements. You can memorize some of them in pairs with their opposites:TourDetre
    • aller/venir (to go/to come)
    • arriver/partir (to arrive/to leave)
    • entrer/sortir (to go in/to go out)
    • rester/passer (to stay/to stop by)
    • monter/descendre (to go up/to go down)
    • retourner (to return)
    • tomber (to fall)
  • Verbs related to a change of state:
    • naître/mourir (to be born/to die)
    • devenir (to become)

Notice that variations of certain verbs like: revenir, repartir, remonter, etc. will follow the same pattern.

Also note that some of the verbs listed above may betray you at times! Watch out for those! How can you spot them? They will be followed by a direct object complement:

      • Elle a monté sa valise. / Elle est montée me voir. (She took her suitcase up./She came up to see me.)
      • Il a passé des vacances de rêve. / Il est passé par ici. (He spent a dreamlike vacation. He went through here.)

MaisonDetre

2. Once you’ve established that the verb is conjugated with “être”, you need to know its past participle of course (click here for more on that) AND you also need to make sure that the past participle agrees with the subject. If the subject is feminine, the past participle will need to end with an “-E”. If it’s plural, you will add an “-S”. If it’s feminine plural, you will add “-ES”. Here are a few examples:

      • Il est sorti et s’est beaucoup amusé hier soir! (He went out and had a lot of fun last night!)
      • Elle est sortie et s’est beaucoup amusée hier soir! (She went out and had a lot of fun last night!)
      • Pierre et Jacques sont sortis et se sont beaucoup amusés! (P. & J. went out and had a lot of fun!)
      • Soso et Lili sont sorties et se sont beaucoup amusées! (S. and L. went out and had a lot of fun!)

 

That’s it, you now know it all, just keep playing around with those verbs in the passé composé until you GET IT DOWN!! Practice makes perfect…

 

A plus! 🙂

Soraya Garre, French actressSoso

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