Does the past participle have to agree when etre is the helper verb? Like, "je suis passee" so this would be "j'etais passee" if the speaker were female?
This is a typical case of a homophone that the checker cannot recognize.
The "type what you hear" exercise is now disabled until devs can process the feminine variant.
In the system, that I checked again, the audio exercise appears as "disabled". So in theory, nobody should get this sentence in the "type what you hear" test.
Was it in the translation excersise? I've been trying to get that for days so that I could show Sitesurf that it really happened :D
Teo explains the 'helper verb' part - sometimes avoir, sometimes être. WHEN is another question.
IF there's a direct object, you probably use avoir - je le fais, je l'ai fait, je l'avais fait
IF it's reflexive, you use être - je me demande (I wonder), je me suis demandé, je m'étais demandé
Verbs of movement and verbs of state (not action) usually use être. Another DL user shared this with me:
Arriver/partir Descendre/monter Venir/aller (and devenir, revenir) Entrer/sortir (and rentrer) Naître/mourir Tomber
It's mostly coming and going (which includes being born and dying, I guess). Je suis née, j'étais née ... and so on.
I'm probably preaching to the choir if I tell you that - the more immersion you do, the more these will get hard wired into your brain, without you having to make grammar decisions whenever you open your mouth.
You could try BOOK BOX - you can listen to stories in French, lots of healthy repetition. Also, when you feel ready, Français Authentique offers a free 7-day taster of their more advanced audio course.
AND - if you like music, Frenchrescue does some pretty cool French songs with English AND French subtitles. Great for repetition. (There's a great song called 'Elle me dit' that really makes me smile. I'm going to treat myself to that again later.
Have a fabulous day. :)
J'avais (avoir)="I had", J'étais (être)="I was", but in compound verb tenses, "avoir" and "être" both work as auxiliary (but are not interchangeable!). While in Engligh the only auxiliary is "to have" (I had done, I had gone...), in French (somewhat like in Italian) some verbs require "avoir" as the auxiliary, and others require "être". So, "I had made" = "J'avais fait" but "I had gone" = "J'etait allé": that depends on the verb being conjugated. As to which verbs require the auxialiar "avoir" and which ones use the auxiliar "être", I'll leave that to someone who knows better because I have no idea :P (I'm under the impression it's not the same criteria as in Italian) - DISCLAIMER: I'm barely learning French in DL, and I'm not a native English speaker either.
PROBLEM - this means I came here. Passing here, passing by here, to a Brit such as myself means you did not stop.
All the sentences with 'passer' are a bit suspect. :)
Agree. As a Brit living in a francophone country, I can feel how we use passer/pass differently. This means 'I had gone there' in (British) English. I think 'pass by' meaning 'to go somewhere' is more American (I hear it a lot in 'international English'). In the UK we either go somewhere (and stop) or we 'go past' it, meaning we don't stop!
pasted a comment below from sitesurf on another thread which i think is also relevant here :
The French are far less precise when it comes to using "ici" and "là".
"I am here" = je suis là (even if it does mean "je suis ici").
In American English, you can "pass by" a location (like if you "pass by" the library), but it still implies that you're mostly just going past it. If you are stopping, it is for a brief visit.
e.g. I might pass by the library later and drop off my books.
"Pass", however, without "by", definitely means you aren't stopping.
You can do/say exactly the same thing in the UK I don't know what people are complaining about.
You make a good point. In this context, it does sound like you visited the shop.
Can you buy a drink in a shop? ... but let's pass that by ... in other words, let's not go there.
So, you are quite right, it CAN mean that. I guess it's like 'drawing' the curtains. That can mean opening OR closing them, depending on context.
Thanks very much. I can stop grumbling to myself now. I hate grumbling. :) :)
OK, now that's interesting. Seeing this comment again (almost a year later) I wonder what I was talking about.
Where I come from in the UK - I bought a drink - means ALCOHOL. I bought something to drink - could be bottled water, anything.
Depending on where you are, 'a drink' could mean booze or something much less interesting - in which case, of course you can buy a drink in a shop.
Dohhh. Apologies for talking drivel.
Have a good one. :)
"Dropped by" sounds a bit old-fashioned in my area. "Stopped by" is used almost exclusively. What's wrong, Duo?
I guess that depends on your area. "Dropped by" is used here commonly, but it means more of a spur of the moment visit. "You'll never guess who dropped by! He was in the neighborhood and decided to stop in."
I used to think I understood how the imperfect worked until I discovered DUO. Now I'm really confused:-(( Should't "I had passed here" be "J'avais passé ici"
"Passer" is slightly tricky as its helper verb can be either "être" or "avoir" depending on how it is used.
When it has no direct object, as in the current example, it's a verb of motion like "aller" so its helper verb in the compound past tenses is "être".
When it has a direct object, then its helper verb is indeed "avoir", as in "j'avais passé du temps".
Thank you Dave, I was wondering as I assumed 'passer' was conjugated with ' avoir'
- I had walked/driven/ridden here: on my way to somewhere else
- I had dropped by here (house, building...): for a short visit
It is a pretty straight forward sentence in English. Not so true for the French.
The English example indicates that for some unknown reason the speaker is telling someone that he had passed a specific location at some point in the past. The context is such that the speaker is using here to indicate the location.
Some possible contexts for using such a sentence in English are already posted on this page.
The suggestion is that the French usage is closer to a possible English expression of temporarily stopping somewhere while doing something else. I had passed by Tom's is used to indicate the speaker actually stopped for a short time at Tom's.
The difference between the meanings is because of the English speaker's reluctance to use the imperfect. Because English speakers replace the French imperfect with the English simple past or the past perfect, the English translation leads the listener to think of passing by Tom's as simply something that happened in the past, unless context indicates otherwise.
The French imperfect is more precise. It says an action, or state, of unspecified duration happened at Tom's while passing by. The action or state may or may not be inconsequential or even irrelevant to the rest of the conversation.
The English past perfect had passed used here simply says that Tom's place was passed before something else happened. The English past perfect doesn't exclude that something happened at Tom's. It just doesn't reference it. The French imperfect does reference it however minor that reference might be.
In conversation, most English speakers just leave it up to the listener to figure out what was meant. French speakers are a little more precise in their choice of tense.
Sitesurf's answer tells you in plain English what the French sentence means.
It is not the english "had" that is weird, but the french verb "passer" that takes être as a modal verb instead of avoir.
There is a group of verbs in French known as the "être" verbs, which means their auxiliary verb is être. Here is a nice lesson on these verbs courtesy of Laura Lawless.
Despite these literally being translated as "was", they mean "had" when translated to English and used as auxiliary verbs.
Not every construction and phrase will translate literally, or 1:1 from French to English, and vice versa.
I put "I was passed here" and it was rejected. Really cannot see why. Context - you witness a road accident and pointing to a roadmap to explain to someone "I was passed here" (as in overtaken) by that lunatic driver.
In your example, you wouldn't use the imperfect, you'd use the passé composé.
Is "pass through" acceptable, or does that mean something else/can be expressed differently in French?
I just got an error saying the correct answer is "I had been passing here"
Some very strange English translations going on in the answers. Are there any natives on board to help with these? No one would say 'I had passed here' meaning 'I had gone past this place/it' - why is this the 'answer'? No one 'passes here' in native English unless they are declining to answer a question in a quiz show!
I understand that you wouldn't use the phrase. Many English speakers use the simple past to cover anything that has occurred in the past. However, many English speakers sometimes choose to use other forms of the past tense. They feel this gives them greater precision in their use of the language.
I had passed is past perfect tense in English. As such, it is used in this duo example English to indicate something in the past that was completed before something else in the past.
To construct an example in English try this. Imagine looking a map and pointing out to someone...I passed here and here. I had passed here when the aliens took me.
The first uses of passed in my example are in the past tense. The first two way points on the map are in the past because they are completed and done with and have no bearing on anything except your own progress. The last use of passed, put in the English past perfect form of had passed introduces the notion that passing this way point on the map was a precursor to a subsequent event or action.
The past perfect. It happened in the past like the first two way points but is different in an important way. Of course, you could say how could you know that there was any subsequent action or event involved? But that is the whole point of the past perfect. It tells you that you that there is something else related to its presence. You just don't know it yet.
To show its usefulness in providing information consider this.
I left the building when the bomb went off.
I had left the building when the bomb went off.
I passed the first hurdle when I broke my ankle. ...You mean you had to break your ankle to pass the fist hurdle?..... You mean it was the action of completing the first hurdle that broke your ankle?...
I had passed the first hurdle when I broke my ankle. ....Does it get really tricky after the first hurdle?....
The past perfect can be very helpful.
Now as to whether I had passed here is a good translation of the French example given by Duo, that is a different matter. But I had passed here is perfectly fine English, excellent grammar, conveys important information and very useful where appropriate.
I am extremely au fait with the use of the past perfect and English and French grammar and syntax, thanks (I have degrees in these). My comment was related to the semantics of 'pass' as a translation.
Sorry. I must have misunderstood what you meant when you said
..... No one would say 'I had passed here' meaning 'I had gone past this place/it' - why is this the 'answer'? No one 'passes here' in native English unless they are declining to answer a question in a quiz show! .....
It's passed by, no?
Depends on whether you are using here as a noun or an adverb.
Not sure about 'here' in English but in French ici is an adverb.
In this Duo example both the French and the English translation do not have by or any equivalent because here is treated as an adverb.
As an aside, I am surprised there isn't more discussion of whether the English translation itself is valid rather than fine points of the internal grammar of it.
I have the same issue with the correct answers given by Duo: "I had passed here" and "I had passed by here".
Both sound very strange to me (not so much the latter, there's, at least, a preposition, but still...)
I answered "I had passed through here" and was marked wrong.
To my ears, it sounds like a preposition is needed here. Especially since, to my understanding, "pass" is a verb of transition, going from a state/place to another. Thus, "pass through here" sounds more natural to me.
You are obviously right; I've clicked you "up" in protest at people clicking you down. "I had passed here" – mon oeil !
I have seen a rash of down-clicking lately. I don't understand why someone (or several someones) feels it necessary to ding so many people. I, too, tend up-click these posts.
But what if I were passed here, like on my bike or something and I want to tell someone that in french. While I understand this is translated "I had passed here", I don't know what the difference would be if I was trying to communicate that I had been passed there in that spot by some one else. I mean I know other ways to say that but they are all much longer.
I wrote: "I was passed here" and was corrected. It apparently should have been "I had passed here". I disagree however. I think this is what you mean, Northern guy, don't you? Like in my other native language (Dutch) there's a passive: being passed (with être) and an active passing by (sth you do) (with avoir). I think Duo Lingo is wrong with "had passed" should really be: "was passed".
I am a Frenchman. We use "j'étais passé ici" in the active sense. So "I had passed here" seems the correct translation to me. "j'étais passé ici" in the passive sense is weird and unnatural.
I am not a native French speaker but this sounds right to me. "Passer" as a transitive verb can have several shades of meaning, but thinking of a simple case in the present active, if I hear someone say, "Il me passe," I would tend to interpret "me" as an indirect object and wonder what the unspoken direct object was. Did they mean, for example, "Il me passe la balle"?
I believe that even though it seems unnatural the current sentence could technically be interpreted as a passive, but it would then be the imperfect tense, so have the meaning of "I was being passed". "I was passed" would (assuming it's valid) be "j'ai été passé".
No, at least not in terms of conjugation.
But it is very versatile, and can have a number of meanings. It can be used with the auxiliaries "avoir" (+ direct object) or "être" (intransitive) .
- j'ai passé un test = I took a test
- je suis passé(e) devant la banque = I passed/walked by/in front of the bank
I'm confused with j'étais (imperfect être) and j'avais (imperfect avoir). Why is "I had passed here" using J'étais? Doesn't j'étais mean I was & J'avais mean "I had"? Thanks in advance.
The tense (of "j'étais passé") is the pluperfect. The pluperfect combines the imperfect form of the auxiliary verb (mostly avoir but sometimes être) with the past participle. The auxiliary for the verb passer is être. Reflexive verbs always take être as auxiliary.
Thank you HoareSimon for your helpful reply. The various past tenses in French are challenging for English-speakers and will require careful study on my part. This is not an area I can just skim through and think I'll eventually just pick it up. Too bad - it's a sunny Sunday in Vancouver... ;)
I had thought "passer" (in the etre case) could indicate physical passing (I had gone past this place) and to the passing of time (I had spent some time in this place). The latter ("I had spent time here") was marked incorrect: should I report this, or was I in fact mistaken?
Can one tells the difference between "I was passed here" and "I had passed here"?
It seems that the two sentences are the same in French.
See my repsonse to AliDadban earlier in the thread, and the question from 987jackie preceding that.
Thanks that was helpful .
I was thinking about a scenario where the speaker was introducing a road he drove a lot during adolescence when he was a cautious driver, and he says that he was constantly passed by other cars at "ici".
"I had passed here" ? What, your driving test ? What kind of an utterance is that?
I vote for "I had been here" or maybe "I had passed through here".
There is no voting system here. However, the team in charge usually lists acceptable translations in a specific order, which enables the top translation to be back translated to the original sentence without too much distortion.
This is why we have to compromise and cannot always offer perfectly natural English translations which would get us nowhere in back translation.
Let's face it, the system is binary and an army of volunteers is still necessary to deal with the content until a seamless AI based system can be implemented.
When you have understood the French sentence (at least one of its most probable meanings), you should keep in mind what I just mentioned: your English sentence needs to back translate to the French source sentence.
I had been here = j'avais été ici (using the static "être" to describe a movement is not proper French)
I had passed through here = j'étais passé par ici (adding a word often adds other elements of language and ensuing shifts in meaning). In any event "pass through/passer par" are much clearer when they are used with a noun.
Currently, the Best translation is "I had passed by here", which in the team's opinion is good enough.
Agreed, "I had passed by here" is, I suppose, passable.
The version I (like others here) was quibbling was "I had passed here". It has been changed – well, corrected, really – in the meantime.
I totally understand the issues around back translation and so on. Very tricky, and this example raises some interesting questions of both semantics and syntax… but you could just use "J'avais mangé une pomme" or the like (see below); using "être passé" just makes things more complicated than they need to be.
We were given 16 verbs to train users to the plus-que-parfait, including "être" verbs, of which "passer". For each verb, we have written a minimum of 3 sentences for a total of 80 sentences across 3 lessons in the Pluperfect Skill.
"Passer" is the 18th most frequent verb in French ("manger" is 73rd), so you may not want to avoid it.
Believe me, I use it many times every day !
If you were told you had to use "passer" here, then you were given a very tough brief. There must be 36 ways it could be translated into English ! Most of which don't work "both ways".
That makes it even more difficult for you guys to do the fantastic job that you do.
En passant, here's a suggestion for a marginally less argument-prone pairing: "Le moment était déjà passé – The moment had already passed". Sounds a bit Proustian, but it shouldn't raise so many eyebrows.
I appreciate this, thanks.
The course already has 6 sentences in various Skills with the temporal meaning of the verb "passer" in a compound tense:
Septembre est passé - Nous avons passé une très agréable soirée - Je doute qu'ils aient passé un bon moment - J'ai passé trois heures ici - Elle a passé la nuit dehors - C'est le village où j'ai passé mon enfance.
The implications of I had passed here have already been covered on this page.
You mean "HAD already been covered…" (just kidding). You're effectively saying that the question is closed. Well, it seemed to me that the people saying that "I had passed here" was at best odd (and requiring the invention of a context to justify it) deserved some support. I don't see anything here on this page recognising "officially" that "I had passed through here" is at least as acceptable and should be counted as correct.
While you're at it, why not add "I had been through here" and "I had gone past here"… I admit it adds to the workload, but, well, they're just better translations IMHO.
The problem is your offerings add words that are not in the French sentence.
The reason for using the past perfect tense in English has been covered previously. That doesn't mean the subject is closed, just that it is clear that it is not necessary to add words to make the past perfect tense useful. The past perfect tense by itself contains additional information that is not clear when the past tense is used.
Any sentence that applies the past tense and can stand by itself is even more useful if the past perfect is substituted. Unless the additional information alters the intended meaning of the sentence.
Thanks for taking the time to offer such a patient explanation ! But I don’t actually have any problem with the concept of the past perfect. We’re just operating according to different logics here.
I’ve been enjoying Duolingo for the last week, and have come to realise that the « translation » exercises are often more like glosses. Doing the Greek course, for example, I have to think « how would a Greek person say this if they were learning to speak English ». That way, I get the « right » answer.
But even knowing that, when I came across « J’étais passé ici » it didn’t even OCCUR to me to put « I had passed here », because it just feels wrong. And I’m not the only one - others here have had similar reactions. Replace « ici » with « à la banque » and you might glimpse what I mean.
You clearly think « I had passed here » is fine, which is why you think my « I had passed through here » is « adding extra words ». For me, « I had passed here » is borderline ungrammatical, and at the very least, contrived and unnatural. Neither of us is right or wrong - we’ve just hit on a detail where we have slightly different grammars.
An imperfect example: « Je l’ai réveillée ». You might say « I woke her » is the answer. Whereas I would say that’s stilted, and it would usually be « I woke her up » – would that be « adding a word »? In that case, I would say accept both. In the present case, I would say, ok, accept « I had passed here » on pedagogical grounds, but don’t then dismiss good translations as wrong. Accept them all.
Better still, replace it with something uncontroversial.
Better still, replace it with something uncontroversial.
You are correct when you say it is controversial to include pluperfect in conversational English because English speakers seldom use it without added words to soften its use.
But speakers of other languages are comfortable using the pluperfect. They use it more than English speakers who prefer to use the more general past tense. Some languages prefer to use the imperfect, pluperfect and more granular tenses instead of the English practice of the simple past.
Translations of the French imperfect and pluperfect are controversial for English speakers but not for French speakers. Those don't seem awkward and in need of helping words to focus the meaning when used in French.
I guess the issue is what should Duo do? Should it provide translations that make it easier for English speakers to use it comfortably? Or should they employ translations that more accurately portray French practice?
Should Duo encourage English speakers to add through, by, near with the pluperfect because it helps them focus on what the tense conveys? Or should Duo say here is what the French words mean in English and it may take improved understanding of the tense for it to appear normal when used that way?
Hi NorthernGuy, I'm replying to myself, as there's no room to reply to you.
You clearly take a lot of care thinking about the right approach to adopt. All hugely to your credit. Mais vous me méprenez, monsieur — you just ain’t hearing what I’m saying, man !
When did I ever say it was "controversial to include pluperfect in conversational English"?
Consider these examples:
J’avais mangé une pomme – I had eaten an apple
Or, to use another intransitive verb with être, like passer:
Il était mort là-bas – He had died there
Nothing remotely controversial there.
So what’s controversial? I’ll tell you (again) what’s controversial: it’s that bloomin’ phrase "I had passed here". It really is on the borderline between "very odd" and simply "ungrammatical". Now, "I had been here" I would have been fine with.
And you skipped over my implied question: how would you say "J’étais passé à la banque" ?
i still don't get what the pluperfect's for.... half of this barely makes sense to me...... help.
It's used to indicate that some action in the past took place before some other action in the past. E.g. "By the time I got there he had gone." "Had gone" is pluperfect because the action of the person going took place before action of the speaker getting there.
The pluperfect is now usually called the past perfect in English by the way.
Linda B. is it possible to send me a copy of your comment here.
Amongst other things it mentions BOOK BOX and Français Authentique
My id is Eduard
What's terribly frustrating is when I use "stopped by", I am corrected to "stopped in"; when I use "stopped in" to translate this, I'm corrected to "stopped by". I feel like I'm in a Sartre novel !
I think the reason may be that you forgot to add "here" at the end, didn't you? Otherwise, next time this happens, please post a screenshot.
I believe I did, but I will keep this in mind. Since I'm only doing strengthening exercises these days, it's difficult to predict if it will show up again...
Use the imperfect tense of "passer": "je passais ici" or "je passais par ici".
I answered "I had come here." Duo wanted "I had come by here." Long ago in this course I would have answered "come by" and then in a word pairing, "passé" was paired to "come" and I got the impression that "passé" could be "come" or "come by". Getting marked wrong on this exercise has left me a bit confused.
could this be used to something like i had passed here and then suddenly i fell down. ? thanks
Like "j'étais passé(e) ici et puis soudain, je suis tombé(e)"? Personally, I would use the same tense in the two clauses.
"I used to pass here" is a simple past tense and translates to an imperfect: "je passais ici"
I am puzzled: when I learned French at school I learned there were 17 verbs which were conjugated with 'ere' in the perfect tense (and all reflexive verbs). I still remember the list as if it were yesterday --- and yet -- 'passer ' was not on that list. Guess you live and learn.
Verbs with être as the 'helper' verb? At school we were just taught they were verbs of motion, and to learn them as they came up. But I've found a mnemonic for them: DR & MRS P. VANDERTRAMP, giving a list of 17 verbs. You can see how this works here.
This mnemonic does include passer. However, the linked page also admits that the mnemonic does not give a complete list. Your list presumably contains one that is not in frenchcrazy.com's list, possibly décéder?
I have a post upthread about passer using either avoir or être as its helper verb depending on whether it has a direct object, but I can see that you replied to that some time ago.
My 17 verbs were: aller arriver descendre entrer rentrer monter mourir naitre partir rester retourner sortir tomber venir revenir parvenir devenir (and all reflexive verbs) and 'passer' (doesn't fit my rhyme, lol) and that was 50 years ago!
Very well done. Your list includes parvenir which is not in the Dr. Mrs. P. Vandertramp list. As you say, you can now add passer but only when it's intransitive. In the meantime I've discovered some others, and I'm still not confident this is the complete list.
descendre + redescendre
devenir + redevenir
naître + renaître
partir + repartir
sortir + ressortir
Dkahn is right, an extra S is added to keep the S sound. It can happen with other verbs using the prefix re- in front of a regular verb starting with an S.
sembler - ressembler; sentir - ressentir; souder - ressouder; servir - resservir; sauter - ressauter; saisir - ressaisir
But it is not systematic:
surgir - resurgir; saluer - resaluer; salir - resalir; saler - resaler
Thank you. This may now be the biggest easily accessible list on the Internet.
it seems like sortir has an additional letter when you add re-. Are there other words like that ?
Sitesurf will be able to confirm this, but I think according to French spelling rules the "s" needs to be doubled to show that it is soft, otherwise it would be sounded like the "s" in resoudre.
Why is the only acceptable answers here “passed by” when “passé devant le boulangerie” only accepts passed in front of and not passed by in front of. What are the rules to determine when passé is passed or passed by?
In this sentence, here is a noun. It is something you passed. It is a place - as in person, place or thing.
Find a dictionary that lists "here" or "ici" as a noun, and I'll believe you.
Of course you're right, pardon me. I don't believe "ici" can be a noun, though.
Regardless of whether it can or cannot be, however, it is not one in this sentence, because the verb être is used for the auxiliary instead of avoir. When passer has an object, the latter is used, so it would be "J'avais passé ici."