"I had come to talk to you but you were not there."
Translation:J'étais venue pour vous parler mais vous n'étiez pas là.
It is not compulsory, you could say "j'étais venue vous parler mais vous n'étiez pas là".
to talk to. I notice that in some instances this is translated as "parler à", and in other situations "parler avec" How does one determine which preposition to use?
Most verbs use "avoir" but some use "être" when forming compound verbs. Reflexive verbs and the following intransitive verbs use "être": aller, arriver, descendre, devenir, entrer, monter, mourir, naître, partir, passer, rentrer, rester, retourner, revenir, sortir, tomber and venir. But when some of these (descendre, entrer, monter, passer, rentrer,retourner and sortir) are used transitively (with a direct object) they are conjugated with "avoir".
I'm still having difficulty wrapping my head around when to use "etre" or "avoir" in these sentences. I found this great resource. Hopefully it will help others who may be having difficulty with when to use which verb. http://www.french-linguistics.co.uk/grammar/avoir_or_etre.shtml
How do you know when to use etais or avais (the verb not conujugation)?
The verb "venir" is one of 14 verbs that require "être" as the auxiliary verb (not "avoir"). http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/etreverbs.htm In addition, all pronominal (reflexive) verbs use être.
why doesn't one use "y" instead of "la" in this sentence? ex: J'etais venue pour vous parler mais vous n'y étais pas?
The subject is "vous", so the verb's conjugation should be "étiez" (not "étais" : je or tu).
You can use "y" as a pronoun replacing a place already mentioned:
- j'étais venue chez vous, mais vous n'y étiez pas.
In your sentence, no place has been identified, so "y" should not be used.
Thanks, as usual, cher sitesurf -- but wasn't a place mentioned in the first clause:, "chez vous"??
In the example I wrote for you, the place is indeed "chez vous" and this is why I can use "y" as a pronoun, referring to this place.
In other words: no place, no "y".
duh -- got it! It wasn't in the original sentence....thanks for your patience. You really are a blessing to this website.
But yes, it is correct "j’étais venu", also "j’étais venue" if you are a girl (yeah, when you are a girl it's more difficult, because you have to make the accord with the verbs). :D
No, it is optional and accepted translations are with or without "pour".
i don't understand the difference between "etais" and "avais." can anyone help me out ?
"Venir" takes être and is literally "was come". J'étais venu(e) = I was [had] come. In pluperfect, 'had' does not always mean the past tense of 'have'. So much to remember!
Couldn't "J'etais venu(e) (pour) vous parler mais vous n'avez pas été là" work, too? I thought the passe compose in French also works as the simple past.
"Vous n'avez pas été là" does not work because the person's absence was an enduring context when the speaker came.