Verb Review with Timelines

plus-que-parfait (pluperfect/past perfect) past event that occurred before another past event Tu avais écouté ce disque avant de le condamner ?


lost habit, action likely not to happen J’avais l’habitude de prendre le bus.
passé composé

(present perfect)

past action, something isolated and finished, long term completed action J’ai étudié à l’université pendant 4 ans.
prèsent action happening now, general truth, ongoing habit J’écris un article.
futur antérieur

(future perfect/future past)

future action that will happen before another future action Marie sera partie quand tu arriveras
futur proche action that will happen at a point in time in the future, “is going to…” Je vais prendre le petit déjeuner plus tard.
futur (future simple) action that will happen L’homme parlera à la femme.
conditionnel passé

(past conditional)

could, should, would action L’homme aurait pu explorer la forêt.
conditionnel présent

(present conditional)

wish, action that could have happened but didn’t L’homme aimerait escalader la montagne.

(present imperative)

strong suggestion, an order Marchez !

(present subjunctive)

action preceded by “I need to…” (il faut que), or “I would like you to…” Il faut que j’ailles en ville.





Since I realize that people like the one page graphics, the three pictures above are combined to yield this….


These timelines were combined with conjugation matrices, and individual explanations of the tenses, to create a PDF, which I have found very helpful. I make the same mistakes, over and over, in French, because I translate instead of creating the verb tense, understanding how the French perceive time and event sequences. I posted this PDF, but the hyperlinks do not appear to work on-line, as they do off-line. Do with it what you will.





Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s