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french past tense, are ’je suis mort´ and ´je suis allé’ the same kind of past tense?

I just started to learn the new French grammar courses duolingo added, in ´past tense 2’ it says: ‘when talking about the past, verb of motion use être’, then in ´past tense 4’ it says: ´when talking about the past, verbs that indicate motion or change of state use être’. So basically ´past tense 2’ is part of ´past tense 4’? Or is there any nuance that I fell to grasp? Thanks!

May 5, 2020



They are talking about the same concept. Perhaps the #4 was directly including death as a "change of state", which in this context is regarded as an "action verb" along with the others.


merci beaucoup!


verbs that indicate motion or change of state use être’

It's not a rule, it's simply meant to describe french language, for learners. It would be more effective to just remember the verbs, than to wonder each time if you are using a verb indicating motion or a change of state.

You can also remember that a transitive verb always take avoir, even if it's on the être list, once it has an object in the sentence.

Je suis monté dans ma chambre, et j'ai monté mes affaires avec moi.
Je suis descendu à la cave, et j'ai descendu la caisse de vin.


«j'ai monté mes affaires avec moi.»

This use of «monter» is very obscure (at least to me).

organiser or assembler seem more easily grasped for an English language speaker.


It means that you took something and put it upstairs, or in a higher position (depending on the context).

For example : Où est ton stylo rouge ? En haut. J'ai monté toutes mes affaires dans ma chambre. -> "Where is your red pen ? Upstairs. I put all my stuff into my room (which is upstairs, by the way ^^)" (not sure about the translation but I hope you got the idea)

Organiser and assember would have differents meaning.

Hope it helps !


In the (passé composé) Verbs like/ Entrer , arriver , aller , montrer, naître , sortir ,partir , venir , descendre, mourir, retourner, passer , rester, tomber , rentrer , revenir
Are used with the verbe être The rest are with verbe avoir .

https://www.the-conjugation.com/french/verb/passer.php You can check your verb tense here


Don't forget reflexive verbs.


Il est arrivé normalement dans le monde. Il est né.


With the exception of "rester" ("to remain"), all those Maison d'être verbs are about coming and going. Dying is the greatest going of all (as being born is the greatest coming), so it is logical that it is among them.

It's not particularly odd that French has more than one auxiliary verb for compound past tense. (German has three, for example.) Although Modern English has only one auxiliary verb for its perfect tense (have/has), Old English had two, just as Modern French does, and they were the same two: be/is/am and have/has. One example that survives is the phrase "Christ is risen" in religious contexts. That has not been modernized in formal contexts to "Christ has risen" and is a vestige of the time when English also used "is" to talk about coming and going. Some English translations of the Qur'an also use "is" as an auxiliary verb in "He is died" (Chapter 39, referring to false reports of Muhammed) , I suppose to try to keep the sense of antiquity and formality associated with sacred documents. It just sounds appropriately old-fashioned, maybe.

So keep in mind that there's no set-in-stone rule that languages should only have one way to say "He has died" and that it must always use the same auxiliary verb as any other past participle. Also, the list of verbs that take être as an auxiliary verb is rather short. French Verb Drills by R de Roussy de Sales lists 14 (excluding reflexive verbs, which all require être). My guess is that most native francophones committed them to memory at an early age. You can too.


I find a photo of "Maison d'etre" very helpful. Try this one https://mmegalle.weebly.com/uploads/5/9/8/0/59809007/9712681_orig.gif And, of course, take into account what Jojo553168 said about transitive verbs and how can they be combined with etre and avoir.


House of être and Dr and Mrs Vandertramp both have their uses in memorizing the 17 verbs of motion.

I put my notes on the verbs of motion in the discussion for Elle est venue avec ses amies. Links to videos. Songs and skits too.


It's quite memorable for its simplicity.


Another mnemonic - with opposites: A - arriver, partir D - descendre, monter V - venir, aller E - entrer, sortir N - naitre, mourir T - tomber, rester (opposites in the physical/newtonian sense)

covers most of them. Then there are the odd ones or deriatives:

passer, rentrer/retourner/revenir, devenir, etc).

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