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


Did you ever realize how many ‘-ed’ words you employ while talking? Words like ‘closed’, ‘formed’, ‘liked’ etc. are all part of this. This suffix mentioned, is the past participle in English. If you have learned English all your life, it’s possible that you don’t consciously think of the grammar rules. But since they are ingrained in you, you automatically talk with them.

We have created a Quiz, which is at the end of this article, so that you can test your knowledge on French Past Participle → OK take me to the Quiz!

What past participle means for the French

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)

Just like no trip to France is complete without marvelling the Eiffel Tower, no aspect of grammar feels fulfilled without irregular verbs.

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)

The world of irregular verbs doesn’t limit to just these. This is a mere trailer and you can indulge in more of them.

Purpose 1: Passive Voice

Active voice is when the subject does the action that the verb talks about (think about it like something is actively happening). In passive, the action that the verb talks about is ‘passively’ done by an agent on the subject.  By this you can see that there is a connection between subject and verb and this is what ‘voice’ is.

conjugated être (to be) + past participle

Usually when être comes in 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 but keeping in mind that gender and number agree with the noun that they point at.

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

Purpose 3: Compound Tenses

Tenses and moods make up sentences and they can either be simple or compound. While simple tense revolves around single verb conjugation like when you talk about events in the present, compound is slightly more complicated.

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

  • Compound Tense 1: Passé Antérieur (Anterior Past)

In this either of the auxiliary verb 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)

  • Compound Tense 2: Futur Antérieur (Anterior Future)

Similar to the case above, the auxiliary verb is conjugated with future simple. This is employed 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)

  • Compound Tense 3: Passé Composé (Compound Past)

One of the easiest to form, here the conjugation is with present tense. You can use this tense to talk about actions which are happening, incomplete or finished but in the past. A popular among many, this one is for the win.

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

  • Compound Tense 4: Plus-que-parfait (pluperfect)

The last conjugation has the auxiliary verb connect with the imperfect tense. Like in the first case here too 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 skeleton for you, practice more to create your own skin over it. And for the rescue, we have experienced French tutors for you as well. See you next chapter!

Quiz: Test your knowledge of French Past Participle!

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

French Past Participle

1 / 4

Ma fille est all(ée / é / ées / és) acheter du pain.

English: My daughter went to buy bread.

2 / 4

Vous (partis / êtes partis / avez parti / partez) tôt hier soir !

English: You left early yesterday !

3 / 4

La bague (cachait / avait été cachée par / avait caché / avait cachée par) mon grand-père.

English: The ring had been hidden by my grandfather.

4 / 4

Put this sentence into the Passive voice, ''Les filles auront lu beaucoup de livres.''

Your score is


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