Translation:An owl found mice in the stable.
The English translation suggests the passe simple rather than the passe compose. What am I missing?
The English past simple, describing past, one-time and complete actions is usually the tense of choice to translate a French action in passé composé. However, a present perfect can work as well, for lack of context.
Thank you, Sitesurf. I find this confusing. As a practical matter would it be fair to say for translating from English into French that the French use either the imperfect or the passe compose (or pluperfect) for past actions rather than the passe simple? Put another way, when do they use the passe simple?
The French passé simple is the exact equivalent of the English past simple. Unfortunately, it is rather difficult to conjugate and has been replaced with the passé composé (which has other uses as well).
Since you only find the passé simple in (well written) books, papers and magazines, and most of the time only in 3rd person singular and plural, Duo decided to not teach or use it on the courses from and to French.
The owl found mice in the stable = le hibou trouva des souris dans l'écurie.