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Verbs: passé composé (compound past) for "avoir"

Link : loom ladder | Prev: Adjectives 2 | Next : Verbs: Compound Past : être

The passé composé (compound past) is an action or event COMPLETED in the past. It is referred to as composé (compound) as it is made up of more than one element. It is made up of the helping verb, which expresses when the action took place, and the main verb, which expresses what action took place. Many english learning books refer to the first verb, the "when" verb, as the "helping" verb.

  • Step 1:
    Most french verbs use avoir (to have) as their "when/helping" verb. So it is necessary to revisit the well known verb avoir :
  • Step 2:
    Now you need to add the action verb, and the rules are nice and simple - as they are usually the same for every subject, regardless of gender or number. Only the helping verb changes.

    2.1 Verbs whose base verbale ends in ~er, you drop the ~er and add .
    2.2 Verbs whose base verbale ends in ~ir, you drop the ~ir and add ~i.
    2.3 Verbs whose base verbale ends in ~re, you drop the ~re and add ~u.

(NOTE: The base verbale is the basic, un-conjugated form of a verb, previously called the infinitive of the verb in French.)

Here are some examples:

NOW PLEASE NOTE - there are lots of exceptions to this simplified overview. And I will be tracking down these exceptions and grouping them together. This above idea has been presented to me from "Countdown to French" by Gail Stein. This is a book I highly recommend.

In here she also notes the following exceptions:

  • ending in ~u
    avoir . .. . . . eu . . . . .had
    boire . . . . . .bu . . . . .drank
    connaître . connu . known
    croire . . . . . cru . . . . believed
    devoir . . . . .dû . . .. . .had to, owed
    lire . . . . . . . .lu . . . . . .read
    pleuvoir . . .plu . . .. . rained
    pouvoir . . . pu . . . . . .was able to
    recevoir . . .reçu . . . .received
    savoir . . . . .su . . . . . .known
    voir . . . . . . .vu . . . . . .seen
    voloir . . . . .voulu . . .wanted
  • ending in ~is
    mettre . . . mis . . . . .put (on)
    prendre . . pris . . . . .took
  • ending in ~it
    conduire . conduit . driven, drove
    dire . . . . . . dit . . . . . said, told
    écrire . .. . . écrit . . . written, wrote
  • just irregular
    être . . . . . . été . . . . .been
    faire . . . . . .fait . . . . .made, done
    offrir . . . . . offert . . .offered
    ouvrir . . . . overt . . . opened

Next go check out the post: `. Verbs: passé composé (compound past) for être

My two favorite sites that help me with french verbs are:
audio french and
leconjugueur

August 21, 2014

5 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IlyLord

Have a few(25) lingots!

March 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/K333222

You have a typo - obviously you meant "pouvoir" instead of "pleuvoir"

August 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/daKanga

Thank you - yes I made a typo - that I have just corrected. (see above), being that I needed to include both "pleuvoir" to rain , and "pouvoir" was able to.
Thank you so much for picking that up :) And here is a lingot to help say thank you. I really appreciate it when people pick up things I get wrong !

August 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TobiasJacobsen

This is an amazing help tool for me to learn the French Past, which has been very difficult to go through. :D Thank you very much - here i a lingot!

January 3, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JadaCollin5

thanks! I have an exam tomorrow and I had no idea how to do this ! Thanks so much

April 11, 2018
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