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  5. "I did not like that performa…

"I did not like that performance."

Translation:Je n'ai pas aimé ce spectacle.

December 15, 2017


  • 1228

Why not: Je n'aimais pas ce spectacle


J'aimais (imparfait) is used for indefinite lengths of time, to describe what was going on in the past, states of being in the past, or past habits. It is the tense of narration.
J'ai aimé (passé composé) is the most commonly used tense to refer to actions completed in the past.

"When I was young I liked cartoons" (imparfait) Quand j'étais enfant j'aimais les dessins animés.

And, as in the example above, an action completed in the past:
"I did not like that performance" (passé composé) Je n'ai pas aimé ce spectacle.


Ripcurlgirl is right, and if I heard "je n'aimais pas ce spectable" I would interpret it as:

  • either: for the whole duration of the show, I did not like it
  • or: every time I watched/saw/attended it, I did not like it.

The first interpretation is probably more common in story-telling, when you describe actions, states and feelings in imperfect, like: "J'avais trop chaud, je n'aimais pas ce spectacle et je voulais partir avant la fin" (I was too hot, I did not like that show and I was willing to leave before the end).

The second interpretation may be considered if the speaker worked for a show running daily or weekly, etc.

This confirms that the properties of the French imperfect (on-going or repeated event) are kept when the English verb is stative (vs dynamic, a distinction that the French language does not have)


From what you've said, it seems to me that Passé composé makes less sense than imperfect in talking about a performance - something which transpires over quite a bit of time.

On the other hand, "I did not like that painting" would suggest the compound past or simple past, rather than imperfect. Still, forming an opinion about something in the past is something that is usually the subject of a process, occurring over time, which suggests imperfect to me, not compound past.

In any event, there seems to be three perfectly reasonable tenses you could use to translate the English: Simple past, compound past, and imperfect. If context is needed to make it clear than one tense should be preferred, that context is missing from the exercise.


Simple past is only used in formal speeches or in literature. Otherwise I stand by what both I and Sitesurf, a French native speaker, have stated above.

  • 1593

I completely agree with Jeffrey855877. The sentence in question should be altered to give that additional context or the simple past should be accepted as it would appear to be a reasonable translation. This is a great issue to be discussing and learning. Many thanks to those who are doing the teaching!

  • cette performance should be ok I think - any idea as to why DL thinks not?


The word performance in French actually means "result" or "performance" as in sport or achievement. Not an acting, singing or dance performance . That is un spectacle.


In English, the "performance" of a sports team is an analytical description or assessment of how well or how badly a team executed its plays. That concept fits your description of what performance means in French, I think. It's not the same thing as "a performance" by a band or group of actors, although the latter can also take the definite article without changing its meaning: "The performance given by the theater group was wonderful".

Usually, you can tell the difference by the presence of the preposition "of" - when it's "the performance of....." then "performance" usually means the assessment or analysis of how well something was done. "The performance by...." usually refers to the show or spectacle.


It can also be performance, right? the computer called it a seance.


And why not 'cette performance' ?


Would it be correct to say "Je n'ai pas aimé ce spectacle-là"? It was marked wrong.


there's no context or need for the specific "-là" marker here.


how can a performance be a "seance"!


séance is a French feminine noun referring to a theatre performance:

"La première séance de cette pièce est à 13 heures."
"The first performance of this play is at 1 p.m."

It can also refer to a cinema screening session or a sitting (parliamentary, photographic etc).



If we want to say "Je n'ai pas aimé cette performance" how we traduce in english ?


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