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Passé Composé same as Preterito in Spanish?

Apologies if this has been asked before.

I am learning French having got to B2 Spanish already. Can anyone tell me if the passé composé is used in exactly the same circumstances as preterito in Spanish? Are there any differences in usage? Are imparfait and imperfecto also used exactly the same? Just wondering if there are any exceptions as from what I can tell they behave exactly the same?

April 9, 2020



Yes, they are used essentially the same way, but note that while in Spanish you can contrast 'he comido' (I have eaten) with 'comí' (I ate), in French there is only 'J'ai mangé' for both.
I cannot vouch that their usage is perfectly identical in both languages, but I have yet to encounter a Spanish sentence where an imperfect verb doesn't correspond to a French imparfait, or a preterite verb doesn't correspond to a passé composé.

Also, French does have a preterite tense called "passé simple" (je mangeai, tu mangeas...), but it fell out of use in the spoken language and is restricted to formal literature: it would sound very weird in a conversation, but you could use it when writing a novel.


Thank you! This seems to be the consensus all around. I can’t seem to find any exceptions so far either :)

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