"Sophie always dreamed of doing gymnastics."

Translation:Sophie a toujours rêvé de faire de la gymnastique.

July 19, 2020

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Why is it passe compose if she "always" dreamed? I took "always" as a clue to use the imperfait!


That's not how you choose between imparfait and passé composé. You could say elle en a rêvé toute sa vie and that would be absolutely correct. The imparfait would sound weird here.


Jojo, can you unpack this answer and explain why it's not the imperfect here, why it sounds weird to you? Because we all seem to have learnt that you use the imperfect for repeated action in the past, which is what seems to be happening here, but it's wrong, and we need to know why


First time around I used imperfect too, but I think I can see what Jojo means now. The English 'always dreamed' sounds like a statement of something in the past that has finished: she no longer dreams because she's since died, retired or found something else to interest her. It's a completed action in the past, even though it might have lasted continuously for a long time.

Our problem is that English has more ways of expressing the past, with different subtleties, than French seems to have. I assume from Jojo's answer (but open to correction) that other ways of expressing it in English, which sound like imperfect, would still attract the passé composé for the same reason: eg 'she has always dreamt' (although French might use the present tense there?), 'she always used to dream'. Whereas if the French used rêvait (in spite of Jojo's reservations) we would have to translate it so as to convey that it was continuous and open-ended: 'she was always dreaming'.

This is really my trying to work it out in my head as I find the imparfait v passé composé question quite tricky. So if anyone can impose some order on these speculations, I'd be grateful!

  • 1356

not easy... French speaker : "elle a toujours rêvé de faire de la gym" may be a day she will do ....."elle rêvait toujours de faire de la gym" : now it is impossible or she will never do gymnastics.

Question : "gymnastics" is plural ? Merci


Ah, that makes sense! Thank you, pom666. Although that means it could be either one, depending on the context.

And "gymnastics" is singular, even though it ends with an s.

  • 1356

thank you for "gymnastics" ...


Makes no sense to me either. Always dreamt is definitely a continuing state of mind. Is this a rule - when on used always one never uses the imparfait?


I think "Sophie rêvait toujours de faire de la gymnastique" should also be accepted


I definitely think there is nothing wrong with saying: Sophie revait toujours de faire de la gymnastique.


I agree with connorlef, I wrote "Sophie rêvait toujours de faire de la gymnastique" assuming that "always dreamed" was a continued state of being, and therefore the imperfect would apply here.


I dont really understand why it isn't imperfait, explenation anyone ?


This is reported speech, so my understanding is that the imperfect should be used.




Is it the inclusion of an adverb which results in the choosing of passé composé?

Je rêvait de faire ça. (I dreamed/used to dream, on an ongoing basis, of doing that)

J'ai toujours/souvent/parfois/etc rêvé de faire ça. (I always/etc dreamed of doing that)

Just when you think you're getting the knack of past tenses...

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