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  5. "Je viens d'aller au restaura…

"Je viens d'aller au restaurant."

Translation:I just went to the restaurant.

February 17, 2013



Why is this "I just went!. Where does the past tense come from?


The construction "<noun> venir de <infinitive>" is called the recent past. It literally means "<noun> comes from <action>" which suggests something has completed, but only recently.

The English equivalent of this is saying "<noun> just <simple past>", so something like "I just ate" or "I just swam", these similarly imply a completion of a task but in a recent sense.

In this sentence: "je viens d'aller" -> "je just aller" and aller is "to go" which has a simple past of "went" so all together... "je viens d'aller" = "I just went"

I hope that helps. Other examples are like "je viens de manger" is "I just ate" or "je viens d'acheter [qch]" is "I just bought [something]"


Thank you for that. Frustrating to have past tense snuck in without warning when I have been at pains to avoid using it having lost so many hearts inadvertently in the past!


In addition to saying thanks for the excellent instruction, I also wanted to mention that I've never seen quelque chose abbreviated to "qch" before! Though I just looked at http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/quelque_chose, which says it is abbreviated as "qqch".


You may also come across "sth" to abbreviate "something" in English, especially when explaining grammar. Same principle. :)


Also 'qqn' abbreviates 'quelq'un' Sb. = somebody

Like in German you have "jd, jdn, jdm" for someone in the three cases nominative, accusative and dative :)


Yes, thanks for the clear explanation. They have an alternative translation that I don't think is correct, which is why I checked the forum. It seems to me "I just went to the restaurant" is right, and you confirmed that for me.


Very good explanation. Thank you.


Now they are allowing 'I just went to the restaurant' (thanks for the explanation C_S) AS WELL AS 'I'm just coming from the restaurant' which mean rather different things in English - the latter is discussed here but I don't see a full explanation. Is it a mistake?


Is this, literally, "I am coming from going to the restaurant" ?


Sort of, but see @patlaf's answer above, which explains this construction properly.


Thank you, this explanation will help me remember it, even if it's literally correct!


I just came to the restaurant.


To come = venir, so I think that your sentence in French would be "Je viens de venir au restaurant." Oddly enough, Duolingo accepted my translation of "I have just come from the restaurant."


That's very interesting. If it is genuinely correct, it conveys more clearly that I have been to the restaurant and I have just now returned from there. Okay!


I put this too, marked wrong :P


Wouldn't partir instead of aller fit better?? Je viens de partir au restaurant?


As usual, Laura Lawless has a page about (almost) exactly this!


Unfortunately, it doesn't tell me which would be a better fit here. If you can figure it out, do post!


Aller means to go, while partir means to leave. I believe that "Je viens de partir au restaurant" would mean "I have just left FOR the restaurant."


Wouldn't "je viens allai au restaurant" be OK, or could you not use allai with viens?


When you use "je viens de", the second verb is in the infinitive form - "aller", "partir", "manger", etc.


But where were you before that? In the restaurant or next/close to the restaurant?


If the speaker is at the restaurant, he says "I have just come to/arrived at the restaurant." Only if the speaker has gone to the restaurant and then gone somewhere else, would he be using "aller" rather than "venir" or "arriver à". In that case, the most natural English would be: "I've just been to the restaurant" or "I've just got back from the restaurant"; which raises the suspicion that the French snippet isn't all that natural either.


"Je viens de" is "Passé récent"and we have to translate with just +simple past I just went to the restaurant.


I wrote "I just went to A restaurant" and got it wrong... I guess I haven't learned "au" clearly yet... it implies "à le/la"...?


A + le = au; à + la = à la. Je viens d'aller à la patisserie. The translation of your sentence would be "Je viens d'aller à UN restaurant."


thank you for writing it so clearly :D


It is interesting to learn a language that who never heard about the "passé récent" asks rightly: "Why is this "I just went!. Where does the past tense come from?"

As a retired teacher I am wondering that without explanation they use the rules of grammar as traps. And we step into it, and we have to look for the rules. There is another which I have to mention that in the same test they cross the word -as a wrong answer and the next attempt what I see my wrong answer was there as another option. Not only today but several times:

TODAY/5th January 2014 ."La couleur du tapis va bien avec le mur." Translation: The carpet's color goes well with the wall.

I wrote: The carpet's color fits well with the wall.....first it was mistaken, and what a surprise! In the next turn this sentence was there as another option. Not once I had to repeat my test as in this way we loose very quickly the three hearts.


I thank everyone for all of the wonderful explanations. I just want to understand why since I had never seen "venir d'aller" I scrolled over the words and Duolingo gave me "just go" as the definition so I used it. Why not give me the correct translation for the phrase "just went"??? Please fix this.


The rule is: noun (pronoun) + venir de + infinitive = noun (pronoun) + just + simple past.

The example Je viens d'aller fills all those requirements. Telling you that viens d'aller means just went would be misleading as there are other parts to the rule. Especially since the three components are not always nicely grouped so as to be easy to spot. Even being well aware of the rule it is easy to focus on some other tricky word and miss the big picture of the change in tense.

The same rule applies to sortir de with the same caveats.


Duo suggests as a correct solution: "I have just been TO the restaurant", but rejects my: "I have just been AT the restaurant". Is there a reason for this, or is it just one of the many possible permutations that hasn't been programmed for acceptance ?


Duolingo is excellent but if you just want to speak French to your mates from Normandy it's a bit posh. Especially if you've been drinking Calvados.!


How bout "I come from going to the restaurant" Isn't that a correct literal translation that should be accepted?

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