1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. Questions about "le passé."


Questions about "le passé."

I know "I live in Paris. = J'habite à Paris."

"I lived in Paris," which on below is correct?

"J'ai habité à Paris." ou "J'habitai à Paris."

You loved me, "Tu as m'aimé." ou "Tu m'aimas." ?

Le passé is so complicated for me. >___<

Many Thanks!

December 19, 2017



Passé composé : J'ai habité à Paris. / Tu m'as aimé. (Pronoun m' proceeds the conjugated verb "avoir".)

Imparfait : J'habitais à Paris. / Tu m'aimais. (Pay attention to the spelling!)

Both tenses take place in the past but they aren't interchangeable.

Passé composé is used for : 1. a completed action in the past 2. an event that happened a single or countable number of times. 3. a new event at a precise moment. 4. an interruption.

Imparfait is used for : 1. an uncompleted action in the past. 2. something that happens habitually or is uncountable. 3. an ongoing event. 4. the background description.

This is not easy to get a feel for and just takes practice!

One final note: To say that you have lived in Paris since a certain year, the present tense is actually used in conjunction with "depuis."

Like this: J'habite à Paris depuis 2015. = I've been living in Paris since 2015.

J'apprends le français depuis un an. = I've been learning French for one year.


It depends on the situation you're using it in. Generally, the imparfait is used to describe what's going on in the background. Details like: what a person is wearing, what day it is, and what kind of weather it is outside. The passé composé is used to describe the main action or event.

I hope this helps!


The following link provides a good explanation as to when to use each tense: https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/passe-compose-vs-imparfait/. Bonne chance!


Please explain j'ai habité vs j'habitais ??


Read the first comment - it will explain.

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.