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French Imparfait - Question

Can I use the imperfect past tense to describe a duration the past - say 12 years ago but has finished?

For example:

J'habitais aux Emirats arabes unis pour douze ans.

Or, since it has finished - i.e. there is a specific ending, should I use passé composé form:

J'ai habité aux Emirats arabes unis pour douze ans.

Thank you.

June 9, 2018



You need a passé composé and another preposition:

  • J'ai habité aux Emirats Arabes Unis pendant douze ans. (duration, past and complete)
  • J'habite aux Emirats Arabes Unis depuis douze ans. (duration, still valid today)

You will use the past imperfect tense for other time references:

  • En 2009, j'habitais aux Emirats Arabes Unis (date/point of reference in the past)
June 9, 2018


Thank you!

June 13, 2018


If you have not seen it, this article about passé composé and imparfait is helpful.


June 9, 2018


I'll go over and look. Thank you!

June 13, 2018
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