"Je venais de recevoir votre lettre."

Translation:I had just received your letter.

February 8, 2013

35 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kuiii

I thought it was "I came to receive your letter"

March 28, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sachini

Me too.

July 28, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mlindal

That would be poor english - a bit clunky. I tried the literal translation as well and was wrong.

August 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cephlin

It's legitimate English. Just not sure why it's wrong.

December 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Because it does not translate the French.

"venir de + infinitive" does not mean that there is any movement, this is the construction of near past (I (have) just received)

Similarly, "aller + infinitive" does not mean you are going anywhere, it is the construction of near future (I am going to receive)

December 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CathyDay1

I thought near past and near future used the present tense stll. Dont understand the tenses at all. Thanks for your explaination..still confused.

April 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bob_Bowes

In the past, I had just received your letter.

August 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EW5PJ1A3

The potential translation tip is wrong then. One of the options is "was coming".

May 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

In isolation, "je venais" means "I was coming" or "I used to come". Again "venir de + infinitive" is the expression of a near past:

  • Je viens de recevoir ta lettre = I (have) just received your letter
  • Je venais de recevoir ta lettre (quand le téléphone a sonné) = I had just received your letter (when the phone rang).
May 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mike_F.

My interpretation (which may be wrong): "Je viens de recevoir votre lettre." - I (have) just received your letter. "Je venais de recevoir votre lettre." - I had just received your letter.

February 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/percyflage

"I had just received..." was accepted.

June 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/klaw02

Why is it in imparfait and not passé composé? I would understand if there was a second part of the sentence like "Je venais de recevoir votre lettre quand tu m'as appelé."

May 2, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/liambennie

The construction "venir de" can only be used in the present or the imparfait.

December 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/smearedink

Yeah, this actually seems more like "I was just receiving your letter" now that you mention it.

May 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Natka01

why is it past tense?

February 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

It is past tense in both languages...

February 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Natka01

But in French it is Je viens de.. usually. I have just recieved. What changed with venais?

February 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"venais" is the preterit (imparfait) : je venais, tu venais, il/elle/on venait, nous venions, vous veniez, ils/elles venaient.

February 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Natka01

I know wht it is, I just dont understand wht changes with it? Both je venais de recevoir votre lettre and je viens de recevoir votre lettre means the same: i have just recieved your letter?

February 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

No, I HAD just received your letter - in the past

February 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cassiolalola

I understand that "Je viens de.... (insert infinitive verb)" means that you had just finished doing something. So, as the others have mentioned, why is the imparfait necessary if the expression already means that an action has just recently been accomplished?
If it changes the meaning to "I HAD just received your letter" then that should have been made more clear in the translation of the sentence, yes?

November 10, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

The imparfait is necessary because the action is in the past.

  • je viens de prendre mon petit déjeuner = it happened a few minutes ago

  • hier, je venais de prendre mon petit déjeuner quand j'ai entendu... = it happened yesterday, a few minutes before I heard....

November 10, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DianaM

Everybody seems to be missing each other's point here.

What (I think) we agree on:

je viens de... = I have just...

je venais de... = I had just...

On no occasion that I am aware of, will you translate "je venais de..." with "I have just...". Always "I had just..."

Where I think we're getting confused: DL translates "je venais de..." with "I just..." No auxiliary.

So the question is: does "I just..." imply "I have just...", "I had just...", or either?

I feel it's only "I have just..." (i.e., only "je viens de..."), which would make DL's translation wrong. What do others say?

July 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cassiolalola

then would you ever use "je viens de..." since the construction would seem to indicate that everything you used it for would necessarily always be in the past?

is imparfait and passe compose always required with "viens de..." ?

November 10, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

That is why "venir de + inf" is called "immediate past", like "aller + inf" is the "immediate future".

They both use a present tense to express an action just finished or on the verge of happening:

  • je viens de rater mon train (I have just missed my train)

  • je vais rater mon train (I am going to miss my train)

November 10, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TedGraham

Thanks, as usual. Does the inclusion of "juste" add anything to the meaning?

February 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Only emphasis on the short time elapsed, no change in the meaning.

February 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cassiolalola

aaaaaah! a lightbulb just went on. thanks!

November 10, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnnaTall

You are SO SO good at this, Mr Sitesurf!

February 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/willijanb

Thanks for all your help on this page, Sitesurf!

April 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/simplymeg1

So it still seems like this should be translated "I HAD just received." "I just received" and "I have just received" mean the same thing (as one another, that is) in English, and in French either (of these last two) would be "Je viens de..." Yes? No?

October 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf
October 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Near past is relative:

In present, "I (have) just received a letter" (je viens de recevoir ta lettre) can be a matter of a few hours with now as a point of reference (at the time I speak).

  • meaning: I received your letter a few hours ago = j'ai reçu ta lettre il y a quelques heures.

In past, "I had just received a letter" can also be a matter of a few hours, but with a point of reference in the past (at the time when my story took place).

  • meaning: (yesterday/10 years ago) just after the delivery of your letter, something happened = (hier/il y a 10 ans) juste après la livraison de ta lettre, quelque chose est arrivé.
October 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TiffanyJon972004

No one says i had just received. I just received or i have just received

August 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/simplymeg1

If I were speaking to you about something that happened in the past (before now, but shortly after I received your letter), I would most certainly say, "When that thing happened, I had just received your letter..."

August 18, 2019
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