Memorizing For Written Exams – Pluperfect

http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/pastperfect.htm

The French past perfect, or pluperfect tense (indicatif plus-que-parfait) is used to indicate an action in the past that occurred before another action in the past. The latter can be either mentioned in the same sentence or implied.

Mnemonic (Key Phrase) -Ava had flown Avions to the EU, and the ETA was pluperfect, EZ and convenient.

past-perfect

j’étais, tu étais, il était, nous étions, vous étiez, ils étaient

Complete the quizzes below (there are two, the first is for avoir verbs and the second for être verbs), and when you have completed it correctly, you will have mastered pluperfect.

http://laits.utexas.edu/tex/gr/tap9.html

For Kindle users, I have listed the questions, with the correct answers below (scroll down after writing down your answers, to see the questions and answers).

Questions (for avoir verbs)

1. Corey: J’ ______ mon film préféré à l’âge de 10 ans. (choisir)
2. Tammy: Bette ______ avec Tex avant la fin de mes cours. (sortir)
3. Joe-Bob: Tex, tu ______ l’anglais avant ton arrivée à Austin, n’est-ce pas? (apprendre)
4. Les parents de Tex ______ sur l’autoroute pendant son absence. (mourir)
5. Paw-Paw ______ amoureux avant la fin de la guerre. (tomber)
6. Fiona: Corey et Joe-Bob, vous ______ deux examens au début du semestre? (rater)
7. A la rentrée, Tammy et Fiona ______ tous les livres scolaires. (acheter)
8. Dès 1990, Tex ______ les grandes oeuvres de la littérature française. (lire)
9. Tammy: Tex et moi, nous ______ le bus avant l’éclat des orages. (prendre)
10. Bette: Hier soir, j’ ______ Tex avant l’arrivée de Tammy.(draguer)
11. Trey, avant l’âge de 8 ans ______ le bras plusieurs fois. (se casser)
12. Fiona ______ tant d’étudiants avant son arrivée à UT. (ne pas voir)

Questions with Answers (for avoir verbs)

1. Corey: J’ ______ mon film préféré à l’âge de 10 ans. (choisir)
correct answer: avais choisi
2. Tammy: Bette ______ avec Tex avant la fin de mes cours. (sortir)
correct answer: était sortie
3. Joe-Bob: Tex, tu ______ l’anglais avant ton arrivée à Austin, n’est-ce pas? (apprendre)
correct answer: avais appris
4. Les parents de Tex ______ sur l’autoroute pendant son absence. (mourir)
correct answer: étaient morts
5. Paw-Paw ______ amoureux avant la fin de la guerre. (tomber)
correct answer: était tombé
6. Fiona: Corey et Joe-Bob, vous ______ deux examens au début du semestre? (rater)
correct answer: aviez raté
7. A la rentrée, Tammy et Fiona ______ tous les livres scolaires. (acheter)
correct answer: avaient acheté
8. Dès 1990, Tex ______ les grandes oeuvres de la littérature française. (lire)
correct answer: avait lu
9. Tammy: Tex et moi, nous ______ le bus avant l’éclat des orages. (prendre)
correct answer: avions pris
10. Bette: Hier soir, j’ ______ Tex avant l’arrivée de Tammy.(draguer)
correct answer: avais dragué
11. Trey, avant l’âge de 8 ans ______ le bras plusieurs fois. (se casser)
correct answer: s’était cassé
12. Fiona ______ tant d’étudiants avant son arrivée à UT. (ne pas voir)
correct answer: n’avait pas vu

Concept Test #39 – plus-que-parfait (pluperfect)

http://www.laits.utexas.edu/tex/gr/tap9.html

Give the plus-que-parfait of the verb indicated in parentheses.

  1. Corey: J’ ______ mon film préféré à l’âge de 10 ans. (choisir)
  2. Tammy: Bette ______ avec Tex avant la fin de mes cours. (sortir)
  3. Joe-Bob: Tex, tu ______ l’anglais avant ton arrivée à Austin, n’est-ce pas? (apprendre)
  4. Les parents de Tex ______ sur l’autoroute pendant son absence. (mourir)
  5. Paw-Paw ______ amoureux avant la fin de la guerre. (tomber)
  6. Fiona: Corey et Joe-Bob, vous ______ deux examens au début du semestre? (rater)
  7. A la rentrée, Tammy et Fiona ______ tous les livres scolaires. (acheter)
  8. Dès 1990, Tex ______ les grandes oeuvres de la littérature française. (lire)
  9. Tammy: Tex et moi, nous ______ le bus avant l’éclat des orages. (prendre)
  10. Bette: Hier soir, j’ ______ Tex avant l’arrivée de Tammy.(draguer)
  11. Trey, avant l’âge de 8 ans ______ le bras plusieurs fois. (se casser)
  12. Fiona ______ tant d’étudiants avant son arrivée à UT. (ne pas voir)

The rules:

  • The pluperfect (le plus-que-parfait) is formed with the auxiliary in the imparfait followed by the past participle of the verb.
  • The choice of auxiliary, être or avoir, is the same as for the passé composé.
  • The negation is formed in the usual manner by placing ne … pas around the conjugated verb.
  • The action in the plus-que-parfait is prior to another past action or moment.

Concept Test #32 – Present/Past Participle

http://www.laits.utexas.edu/tex/gr/adj9.html

Fill in the blank with either the present participle or the past participle of the verb given in parentheses. Do not forget to make the participle agree in number and gender with the noun it modifies.

  1. Corey : J’ai trop travaillé! Je suis __________. (épuiser =’to tire’)
  2. Corey : Lire des livres, c’est __________ ! (épuiser =’to tire’)
  3. Tammy : Ce film d’horreur est ___________ ! (effrayer = ‘to frighten’)
  4. Tammy : J’ai mes examens en ce moment, je suis très _________. (stresser = ‘to stress’)
  5. Les examens, c’est __________. (stresser = ‘to stress’)
  6. Tammy : Tex tu es insupportable! Tu es ___________! (exaspérer = ‘to exasperate’)
  7. Tammy est très _____________ de tous ses amis. (apprécier = ‘to appreciate’)
  8. Tex est un poète mal ____________. (comprendre = ‘to understand’)
  9. Edouard et Tex ont bu trop de café. Ils sont ___________. (énerver = ‘to annoy’)
  10. Le livre de Tex est ______________! (captiver = ‘to captivate’)
  11. Bette est ___________ que Tex soit amoureux de Tammy. (étonner = ‘to astonish’)
  12. Tammy est une tatou ____________. (amuser)

The rules:

  • The present participles and past participles of verbs are often used as adjectives, so they have to agree in number and gender with the noun it modifies.
  • Similar to English –ing ending words. i.e. interesting book
  • The present participle is formed by dropping the -ons ending from the nous form in the present tense and adding –ant.
  • Past participle formation depends on the verb class (-er, -ir, -re, or irregular). For regular verbs with an infinitive ending in -er, the past participle is formed by replacing the final -er of the infinitive with –é, an infinitive ending in -ir is formed by dropping the final -r from the infinitive, an infinitive ending in -re is formed by replacing the final -re of the infinitive with –u. There are many irregular past participles.

Pluperfect, Passé Composé, Past Imperfect and Past Simple

http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/pastperfect.htm

The French past perfect, or pluperfect, (plus-que-parfait) is used to indicate an action in the past that occurred before another action in the past. The latter can be either mentioned in the same sentence or implied.

Il n’avait pas mangé (avant de faire ses devoirs).       
He hadn’t eaten (before doing his homework).

J’étais déjà sorti (quand tu as téléphoné).
I had already left (when you called).

The pluperfect is also used in si clauses to express a hypothetical situation in the past contrary to what actually happened:

Si tu m’avais demandé, j’aurais répondu.
If you had asked me, I would have answered.

Nous y serions allés si nous avions su.
We would have gone if we had known.

The French past perfect is a compound conjugation, which means it has two parts:

  1. imperfect of the auxiliary verb (either avoir or être)
  2. past participle of the main verb

Note: Like all French compound conjugations, the past perfect may be subject to grammatical agreement:

  • When the auxiliary verb is être, the past participle must agree with the subject
  • When the auxiliary verb is avoir, the past participle may have to agree with its direct object
French Past Perfect Verb Conjugations
AIMER (auxiliary verb is avoir)
j’ avais aimé nous avions aimé
tu avais aimé vous aviez aimé
il, elle avait aimé ils, elles avaient aimé
DEVENIR (être verb)
j’ étais devenu(e) nous étions devenu(e)s
tu étais devenu(e) vous étiez devenu(e)(s)
il était devenu ils étaient devenus
elle était devenue elles étaient devenues
SE LAVER (pronominal verb)
je m’étais lavé(e) nous nous étions lavé(e)s
tu t’étais lavé(e) vous vous étiez lavé(e)(s)
il s’était lavé ils s’étaient lavés
elle s’était lavée elles s’étaient lavées

There are other forms of the past in French. Let me introduce you to a visual mnemonic for past perfect/pluperfect:

Pluperfect/Past Perfect (plus-que-parfait) – Ava had flown Avions to the EU, and the ETA was pluperfect, EZ and convenient.

Past Perfect

The pluperfect is the tense which gave me the most trouble when conjugating. It doesn’t help that it is also known as the Past Perfect (which means it contains the past participle element, which means there are two auxiliary verb conjugations to worry about). There are two words which anchor the mnemonic, Avions and Pluperfect. Either one, for me, triggers the entire mnemonic, which in turn solves the riddle of the conjugation, and the English equivalents.

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In the Passé Composé (Present Perfect in English) form, many verbs conjugate with être, and must match in gender and number of persons. Passé Composé is the most common French past tense, and expresses an action completed in the past, repeated a number of times in the past, or a series of actions completed in the past. The equivalent of Passé Composé in English, is the simple past (I danced), present perfect (I have danced) and past emphatic (I did dance).

The Passé Composé uses “avoir” for every verb except 17 verbs that use “être”. There is a memory tool…DR MRS VANDERTRAMPP (Devenir Revenir Monter Rester Sortir Venir Aller Naître Descendre Entrer Retourner Tomber Rentrer Arriver Mourir Partir), and it’s easier to memorize these verbs than to make sense of anything else. Many teachers rely on this picture:

passcompose with etre

http://www.cliffsnotes.com/foreign-languages/french/french-ii/french-ii-past-tenses/the-passe-compose

There is even a song for learning the 17 verbs that use “être”:

http://www.frenchlearner.com/songs/dr-mrs-vandertramp/

The forms of Être (to be) that we are most likely to encounter, for the most common verb conjugations, are as follows:

Present – Je suis, Tu es, Il est, Nous sommes, Vous êtes, ils sont
Future – Je serai, Tu seras, Il sera, Nous serons, Vous serez, Ils seront
Imperfect – Je étais, Tu étais, Il était, Nou étions, Vous étiez, Ils étaient
Subjunctive – Je sois, Tu sois, Il soit, Nous soyons, Vous soyez, Ils soient
Conditional – Je serais, Tu serais, Il serait, Nous serions, Vous seriez, Ils seraient
Passé Simple – Je fus, Tu fus, Il fut, Nous fûmes, Vous fûtes, Ils furent
Imperative – Tu sois, Nous soyons, Vous soyez
Present Participle – étant
Past Participle – été
Auxiliary Verb – avoir

Verbs that conjugate with Être are: aller, arriver, descendre, devenir, entrer, monter, mourir, naître, partir, rentrer, rester, retourner, revenir, sortir, tomber and venir.

The forms of Avoir (to have) that we are most likely to encounter are as follows:

Present – J’ai, Tu as, Il a, Nous avons, Vous avez, ils ont
Future – Je aurai, Tu auras, Il aura, Nous aurons, Vous aurez, Ils auront
Imperfect – Je avais, Tu avais, Il avait, Nou avions, Vous aviez, Ils avaient
Subjunctive – Je aie, Tu aies, Il ait, Nous ayons, Vous ayez, Ils aient
Conditional – Je aurais, Tu aurais, Il aurait, Nous aurions, Vous auriez, Ils auraient
Passé Simple – Je eus, Tu eus, Ile eut, Nous eûmes, Vous eûtes, Ils eurent
Imperative – Tu aie, Nous ayons, Vous ayez
Present Participle – ayant
Past Participle – eu
Auxiliary Verb – avoir

Many idioms use avoir, and the meaning differs from “to have” and can often be confused with “to be”. The “Il y a” expressions are often confusing for this reason. “Il y a” means “there is” or “there are” although “a” is the conjugated “to have”.

In the Passé Composé, Être and Avoir are used with the imperfect form of other verbs, to create compound tenses that describe past actions which have completed.

There are irregular Passé Composé verbs, covered here:

Here is a visual mnemonic for Passé Composé:

Present Perfect (passé composé) – A composer says, “I have spoken!”, to his Avon selling son.

Present Perfect

 

This visual not only tells you the English equivalent, but reminds you that an accent mark at the end of the past particle tells you that it is one of the perfect tenses. You will see this tense so often, that you will probably have no problem with the je, tu, il, and vous conjugations, but you may be tricked by the nous and ils conjugations. The mnemonic addresses that with Avon and son, color linking mnemonic words to the conjugations.

We’ve now coverered Past Perfect (Pluperfect), and Passé Composé. There is also Past Imperfect.

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Normally the Past Imperfect describes actions that are on-going. A good example of this is the Past Imperfect, “je mangeais”, which means I was eating (on going action). The Passé Composé version, “j’ai mangé”, translates to the English equivalent Present Perfect of “I have eaten”, and the action is completed. That’s the simplest way to differentiate between Passé Composé and Past Imperfect.

Here is a visual mnemoic for the Past Imperfect (imparfait):

Imperfect (imparfait) – She was eating a parfait, it is imperfect, how I-ronic.

Imperfect

For an American, a parfait is something they sell at McDonald’s, and it contains yogurt or ice cream, and is adorned with nuts, syrup, etc. What could be more perfect? The irony is that as “she” was eating one, it is imperfect, and therefore ironic. The mnemonic attempts to reveal the conjugation trickery of the Imperfect tense. Through the use of colors, the strange “a” that appears in je, tu, il and ils is shown. The “is” and “it” are revealed in the je, tu, and il conjugations, and finally, the word I-ronic reminds the conjugator, to make sure they slip an “i” into each conjugation.

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The final past tense in French is one that is used mainly in literature, and it is Passé Simple.

Passé Simple is a third tense used to describe past actions, and is described as being the literary equivalent of Passé Composé, because it is used in formal writing and formal speech. Passé Simple will often look strange, and the verbs are conjugated dependant on the verb’s endings (ER, IR/RE, and irregular).

ER Ending verbs – drop ER and add…

Je –ai, Tu – as, Il – a, Nous – âmes, Vous – âtes, Ils – èrent

IR/RE Ending verbs – drop the IR/RE and add…

Je – is, Tu – is, Il – it, Nous – îmes, Vous – îtes, Ils – irent

Irregular verbs:

s’assseoir            s’ass-
mettre                  m-
conduire              conduis-
naître                    naqu-
dire                        d-
peindre                peign-
prendre                pr-
écrire                    écriv-
faire                       f-
rire                         r-
joindre                 joign-
voir                        v-

Let me give you a visual mnemonic for this tense as well:

Past Simple (passé  simple) – Simple paid past-times, test a rented SST

Past Simple

This was the most difficult mnemonic to create, and also the most intricate one. This mnemonic is not as intuitive as the others, and may require you to use it several times before it’s automatic. The mnemonic does contain all of the conjugations for -er verbs, as seen by the colors. The ending triggers the peculiar -ir and -re verb conjugations for je, tu, and Il/elle/on. Notice the accent above the “Nous” and “Vous” conjugations? I have no idea how to trigger that in this mnemonic, so you simply have to note that the accent makes the Past Simple not that simple.