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  5. "Elle venait de jouer son der…

"Elle venait de jouer son dernier rôle."

Translation:She had just played her last role.

December 27, 2012



This is an example of the Imparfait- very difficult, at least to me. It is an action in the past that also continues into the present, and the forms of the verb are changed to the new endings, i.e., 'venait'.


"elle vient de" + verb at infinitive form translates "she has just" + verb at past participle.

"elle vient de jouer" = "she has just played"

when the action is in the past, that becomes:

"elle venait de jouer" = "she had just played"


Couldn't I translate it as "she came from playing..."?


No, if you mean "she came from playing", the French is "elle revenait après avoir joué".


I put "She just played her last role." Our regular past tense is quite versatile and overlaps the other past tenses. Yet, it marked me wrong also.

P.S. for Larry 327171 below: However, I defer to Sitesurf. This is an expression that we have to learn and for that purpose it is useful to know which past tense goes with which form. “Elle vient de jouer...” is “She has just played...”. and “Elle venait de jouer...” is “She had just played...” They may accept “She just played...” as an alternative to the first one. In reality, the simple past can replace any past tense if you don’t mind being less specific, but I can see why they would want us to learn which specific tense to use here.

It does seem odd to use a French present tense of the verb “to come” to make a present perfect tense in English and a French imperfect tense of “ to come” to make the past perfect tense in English, but it is really not more strange than using the French present tense of “to go” to make a future tense. The only difference is that we also use our English present continuous tense of “to go” to make the future tense, but we don’t use “to come” to go backwards in time.


I agree with ALLintolearning3. If you put the "had" into that sentence, that makes it a pluperfect in English. Without the "had," it is a simple past tense, like the French.


What about "she was coming to play..." which I got marked wrong for?


she was coming to play = elle venait pour jouer


Makes sense, thanks!


If it helps, the English use of 'to go' in the future tense is very similar to the French: 'I am going to think'. There is no sense of going anywhere in the sentence. We do, infrequently, say things like 'I have (just) come from doing the shopping', using 'to come' to indicate the past in much the same way as using 'to go' to indicate the future. The French usage is, I think, similar to this, except that they use the present tense: 'je viens de ...'. And moving to the imperfect 'je venais de ...' moves it on step further into the past in English: 'I had (just) come from ...'.


Son denier rôle - could that be translated as 'her latest rôle'?


I would like to know this, too.


Last doesnt always mean latest, it might be the last role she ever plays, which would have a different meaning than her latest role


I understand that. What I don't know is whether "son denier rôle" can be interpreted either way, or if there is another way of saying "her latest role".


This should be "she had just played" not "just had played"


Agreed and fixed. Thanks.


why did it mark me wrong for saying she had played?


Having read through the comments, I'm still not clear on why "She came to play her final role" is incorrect.


she came to play her final role = elle est venue/venait pour jouer son dernier rôle.


The problem with the "imparfait," with me at least, is that all of the action is in the past. "She" might have finished her last role in the past minute, but it is still in the past. Perhaps I am too literal and hard headed, but it is a handicap for me to not understand this. Am I missing something (in the sentence)?


I can't quite understand what you are objecting to. Yes, the event described is in the past.

The construction "venir de + infinitive" is sometimes known as the "passé proche" or the "passé récent" and describes an event that happened very recently, like "I just bought a dog" - "Je viens d'acheter un chien". Note that "viens" is in the present tense.

If you want to describe something that happened just before some other past event, you use the imparfait: "I had just bought a dog when I saw the cat" = "Je venais d'acheter un chien quand j'ai vu le chat".

Using the imparfait is just how this form is constructed. Please let me know if I have not answered your concern.


Well explained; although it may take some time for me to get used to it.


If it helps - and this is by no means a translation of the French - when I learned this, I thought of it as "I come from...(buying a dog, whatever)".


It actually is, only figuratively, as you can tell with the near future which is the exact opposite and uses "aller".


Thanks, I just meant that the literal translation (e.g.,I come from buying a dog) would not often be the best choice in English, but it does make the temporal relationship clearer in the (anglophone) mind.

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