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    French Past Participle – Let’s Dive Deep Into The Meaning

    Did you ever realize how many ‘-ed’ words you say while talking? For instance, words like ‘closed’, ‘formed’, ‘liked’ etc. are all that make the past participles in English.  Being a native speaker, it’s possible that you don’t consciously think of the grammar rules as they are ingrained in you. Likewise, here is a guide that will help add French past participles to your knowledge. 

    French Past Participle – Let’s Dive Deep Into The Meaning
    By Michelle
    3 months ago
    Waltz Past, Past Participle in French

    French Grammar French Lessons

    French Past Participle – Let’s Dive Deep Into The Meaning


Regular Verbs
-er verbs past participle-ir verbs past participle-re verbs past participle
Example: travailler -> travaillé(to work)Example: avertir -> averti(to warn)Example: attendre -> attendu(to wait)

Similarly, the irregular verbs have conjugation of their own.

Irregular Verbs
-ert past participle ending-is past participle ending-u past participle endingOther Examples
couvrir -> couvert(to cover) -> (covered)

souffrir -> souffert(to suffer) -> (suffered)

comprendre -> compris(to understand)->

(understood)prendre -> pris(to take) -> (took)

pouvoir -> pu(to be able to) -> (was able to)

vouloir -> voulu(to want) -> (wanted)

être -> été (to be) -> (was)

devoir -> (to have to) -> (had to)


Purpose 1: Passive Voice

Active voice is when the subject does the action that the verb talks about. Then in passive, the action that the verb talks about is ‘passively’ done by an agent on the subject.  Therefore, there is a connection between the subject and the verb.

conjugated être (to be) + past participle

Usually, when être comes in the picture, we need to remember to make sure the gender and number agree with the referred noun.

Mon père est aimée de mes frères (My father is loved by my brothers)

Purpose 2: Adjectives

Use être or past participle and you can create adjectives. Though keep in mind that gender and number always agree with the noun.

Pourquoi est-elle fâchée ? (Why is she angry?)

Purpose 3: Compound Tenses

Simple tense revolves around single verb conjugation like when you talk about events in the present. However, the compound tense is slightly more complicated.

Compound Tense = auxiliary verb (être/avoir) + past participle

  • Passé Antérieur (Anterior Past)

In this, either of the auxiliary verbs is conjugated in passé simple. We use this when talking about an action that has happened before another.

Elle fut allée sur son balcon (She has gone to her balcony)

  • Futur Antérieur (Anterior Future)

Similarly, in this compound tense, the auxiliary verb is conjugated with the future simple. The tense is used to explain an action that might be accomplished in the future.

Le café sera ouvert avant le début des cours  (The café will open before the start of classes)

  • Passé Composé (Compound Past)

In Compound Past, the conjugation is carried out with the present tense. This tense can be used to talk about actions that are happening, incomplete or finished but in the past.

J’ai regardé une pièce de théâtre (I watched a play in the theater)

  • Plus-que-parfait (pluperfect)

The last conjugation has the auxiliary verb connect with the imperfect tense. For example, in the first case, the action happens before another event but it’s not always mentioned or stated.

J’avais fait une promenade avant d’aller prendre une douche (I had a walk [before taking a shower])

Now that we have laid down the basics for you, practice more to create your own structure over it. Furthermore, for your rescue, we have experienced French tutors. See you next chapter!

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