"A listener called us after the debate."
Translation:Un auditeur nous a appelés après le débat.
"Nous" is the direct object, it is placed before the verb and it is a plural pronoun. Therefore, the past participle agrees with this direct object. If "nous" were 2 women or more, the past participle would be "appelées", in feminine plural.
In "Il nous a téléphoné", "nous" is an indirect object and therefore the past participle remains invariable.
The French imperfect can have several meanings but not about a one-time, past and complete event.
- Un auditeur nous téléphonait = a listener was calling us (past, on-going action) or a listener used to call us (past and repeated event or habit)
Action verbs in past simple do not translate to a past imperfect if the context is not explicitly about an on-going action or a repeated action or habit.
You know from the English sentence that the direct object is "nous", plural (masc or fem), whether the verb is "to call" or "to telephone".
But in French, "appeler" and "téléphoner" do not have the same construction.
With the transitive verb "appeler", the past participle has to agree with the direct object that is placed before the verb: "appelés" or "appelées".
On the other hand, the verb "téléphoner" does not have a direct object because it needs the preposition "à". In this case, since there is no direct object, the past participle remains invariable: "téléphoné".
Wow, I am reading this thread over and over.. The only difference that I see in your two sentences are the two verbs. Does the second sentence require à, instead of a.. You said previously up top that the phrase is à téléphoné.. I get this only up to a certain point.. If we just look at the sentence ..He called us.. or a listener called us.
I can't see where I might have used "à téléphoné" and if I did, that was a mistake. The auxiliary "a" and the preposition "à" should not be confused.
"Nous" has the same form as a subject, a direct object and an indirect object.
If I repeat the examples with "him/her" instead of "us", you will see the difference:
- Un auditeur l'a appelé(e): "l'" is elided from "le" or "la", hence the PP in masculine or feminine.
- Un auditeur lui a téléphoné: "lui" stands for "à+il" or "à+elle" as an indirect object. This is why there is no agreement, whoever "lui" is.
So again, "appeler quelqu'un" has a direct object but "téléphoner à quelqu'un" has an indirect object.