How many Tenses are there in French?
How many tenses are there in French? This is something I am finding it surprisingly difficult to work out.
Also is there somewhere I can see these tenses side by side so that I can compare and learn them? I find that some of the verb endings are so similar I am getting confused!
Bear in mind not all of them are actually used every day. I tried to put them in order of importance for you to learn.
Used very often in everyday speech: Indicatif présent, indicatif passé composé, indicatif imparfait, indicatif futur simple; impératif présent; conditionnel présent; subjonctif présent (yes... I know... but to be fair, if you use indicatif instead of subjonctif, we'll still understand you.)
Used often in written texts, sometimes in speech: indicatif passé simple (written form mostly), indicatif plus-que-parfait, indicatif futur antérieur, indicatif passé antérieur (rather found in literature); conditionnel passé 1ère forme; subjonctif passé, subjonctif imparfait (albeit scarcer)
Never used (or really, really scarcely): conditionnel passé 2ème forme; subjonctif plus-que-parfait; impératif passé.
Hope this helps.