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  5. "L'oiseau est tombé."

"L'oiseau est tombé."

Translation:The bird fell.

February 6, 2013



What is the difference between "être+" and "avoir+"? Eg, how do I know when to say "EST tombé" vs "A reçu"


There is a set list of verbs that use "être" instead of "avoir". (It's somewhat long, but once you know it, those are all the ones you need to know.) You can find them here: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/etreverbs.htm


Dr mrs vandertramp


"The bird fell down" is not correct ?


Accepted now.


"The bird is fallen" is not right?


In your sentence "fallen" is being used as an adjective to describe the bird's current condition, rather than describing an action completed in the past.


Nah, it's just an archaic construction. English used to have lots of "to be (verb)" past tense structures, mostly with actions relating to movement or a change in physical state. They've just mostly fallen out of use. You would see that in Shakespeare though.


I think people have a hard time wrapping their minds around the fact that est tombé means simply "fell" or "has fallen". They try to preserve the idea of étre in the English sentence, which is wrong.


The bird has fell is not right but the bird has fallen is why not


"Has fell" isn't English. "Has fallen" is the present perfect tense, constructed with "has/have" and the past participle. The past participle of "fall" is "fallen", not "fell".


There are three verbs which look like :

  • feel - felt - felt
  • fell - felled - felled
  • fall - fell - fallen

Which is the second ? I don't know this one !


It refers to cutting down trees, although it can also have a metaphoric meaning.

"The lumberjack felled the mighty redwood".
"The blacksmith is strong enough to fell an ox"


Thanks for your explanations. :)


"fallen" or "fell"? which of the two are preferable?


Either "has fallen" or "fell" is acceptable; French does not distinguish between these slightly different meanings. "Has fallen" gives an immediacy to the sentence - we often use it when something has just happened. "Fell" is just more generally in the past. It happened.


Could this be present tense "The bird has fallen" as well? I notice a lot of french sentences are interchangeably past and present tense, like "Les deux frères sont morts" can be "The two brothers died" or "The two brothers are dead."


L'oiseau est tombé may be translated as either 1) the bird fell, or 2) the bird has fallen (tombé is the past participle). Both are accepted. Yes, the sentence about "les deux frères sont morts" may be either "the two brother died (or) have died" or "the two brothers are dead". The difference is that "mort" may be a past participle or an adjective.


i dont understand as to why there is an est in this sentence. please explain


Most verbs used "avoir" to conjugate compound tenses. "Tomber" is one of a relatively short list of verbs which use "être". They are sometimes called verbs of movement which is a bit misleading because they don't all involve movement and other movement verbs (marcher, etc) do not use être. You will have to learn which ones (there is a link above provided by rogerchristie. All pronominal verbs use être in compound tenses, too.

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