she went to the cafe should be translated as elle est alle' au cafe
"elle allait au café" = she was going to the café "she went to the café" = "elle est allée au café"
I think this is why so many of us are confused. Duolingo wrote "She went to the café" as the correct translation for "Elle allait au café". Your explanation makes much more sense, though. I think there's an issue with consistency in this lesson.
would it be appropriate if one were saying "she was going to the cafe when [xyz] happened"?
so you are not that keen on Duolingo's translation this time... :)
Before getting to the section on passé composé, I had not learned that the past participle must agree with the subject when être is the auxiliary.
"elle est allée" is passé composé, as well as "ils sont allés" or "elles sont allées".
with auxiliary "être", the past participle agrees with the subject.
with auxiliary "avoir" the past participle is invariable except if the direct object is placed before the verb:
il a rangé ses chaussettes
ce sont les chaussettes qu'il a rangées (qu' is a relative pronoun, replacing chaussettes, fem plural)
I think imparfait works if you think of it as "She went to the cafe every day back when she lived in Paris."
Does this need to be reported? As indeed it seems (to a novice - me) that this should be passé composé as apposed to imperfect.
Is this correct: Elle allait au café = She was going to the cafe (...when something happened). Elle est allée au café = She went to the cafe.
However, I am not sure if this is an oversight by Duo or an exception to the rule?
PR93 above is right: it can be (we have to imagine appropriate context) about a habit, like: "every day, she went to the café" = "tous les jours elle allait au café", even if habits are better expressed with "would go to" or "used to go to".
it's simply trying to emphasize the progressive aspect of the tense; but in truth English's simple past (went) is often equivalent to imperfect
Thanks for the link. I was having trouble understanding why so many Duo examples here seemed to be just simple past tense
Duo may not have integrated the "used to" usage to translate the French imparfait.
however, she used to go... to the café looks better than ... in the café.
Actually, "she used to go in the cafe" has a rude implication (although would be understood in speech if the speaker were obviously not a native speaker). That usage of "to go" is a common euphemism for "to urinate".
how does one hear the difference between "elle allait au cafe" and "elles allaient au cafe"?