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"ne pas etre arrive..." formation?

Hi, I am confused about this formation and was wondering if someone could explain it to me. The sentence is in one of duolingo's stories, "Je suis desole de ne pas etre arrive..."

Why is the "etre" not between the negation? My understanding was that past tense negations usually surrounded the conjugated etre/avoir verb and the verb "arriver" should be infinitive. Is this some tense/mood I have not encountered yet?

ETA: ok so after some thought: etre is not between the negation because it's infinitive (duh...). But I'm still confused about the "etre arrive" thing. I am still not sure of this tense, because to me this is simple past tense ("I didn't arrive on time"), which I would translate as "n'est pas arriver". Is my understanding of the tense wrong or is it different because it follows "je suis desole"?

March 31, 2018



I'll try with some grammar terms. Hopefully that is enough?

  • infinitive: arriver = to arrive
  • negative infinitive: ne pas arriver = to not arrive
  • past infinitive: être arrivé = to have arrived
  • negative past infinitive: ne pas être arrivé = to not have arrived
  • passé composé: Je ne suis pas arrivé à l'heure = I did not arrive on time

By the way, "n'est pas arriver" is not correct. You must turn the infinitive form into the past participle. And finally, "Je suis désolé de" + any form of the infinitive means I'm sorry that I did the infinitive.


"Arriver" is one of those verbs for which the auxiliary is "être" in the perfect tenses. I would translate "ne pas être arrivé" as "not having arrived" in this instance. A loose translation is "I'm sorry I didn't come."

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