Perfect Tense

When do we use it?

__When to use it:__To talk about something that has happened in the past and is now finished.

__Examples in English- __I walked, we finished, they talked, I went, I didn’t go.

__Time phrases to indicate use: __La semaine dernière (last week), hier (yesterday), etc.

What are the two auxiliary verbs used in the past tense?
avoir and être

Regular avoir verbs


Le passé composé is made up of 2 parts:

1) The auxiliary verb (the present tense of AVOIR or ÊTRE)

__ +__

2) The past participle (donné, parlé, sorti, fait, etc)

Avoir is the verb ‘to have’, and is conjugated as follows;

J’ai = i have

Tu as = you have

Il/elle a = he/she has

Nous avons = we have

Vous avez = all of you have

Ils/elles ont = they have

To form the ‘past participle’ of a verb;

For ‘er’ ending verbs, remove ‘er’ and add é

For ‘ir’ ending verbs, remove ‘ir’ and add i

For ‘re’ ending verbs, remove ‘re’ and add u

Perfect Tense, figure 1

Translate: I did
j'ai fait
Translate: we bought
Nous avons acheté

Irregular past participles

Irregular past participles

There is a group of irregular verbs that take AVOIR in le passé composé. These verbs are formed with:

1) the present tense of avoir + 2) the irregular past participle

Irregular past participles:

Verb Meaning Past participle

avoir: to have: eu

être: to be: été

boire: to drink: bu

connaître: to know: connu

courir: to run: couru

croire: to believe: cru

devoir: to have to: dû

dire: to say/tell: dit

écrire: to write: écrit

faire: to make/do: fait

lire: to read: lu

mettre: to put: mis

ouvrir: to open: ouvert

pouvoir: to be able: pu

prendre: to take: pris

recevoir: to receive: reçu

savoir: to know: su

voir: to see: vu

vouloir: to want: voulu


Prendre Avoir Être

J’ai pris J’ai eu J’ai été

Tu as pris Tu as eu Tu as été

Il/Elle a pris Il/Elle a eu Il/Elle a été

Nous avons pris Nous avons eu Nous avons été

Vous avez pris Vous avez eu Vous avez été

Ils/Elles ont pris Ils/Elles ont eu Ils/Elles ont été

Translate: He drank coffee
Il a bu du café
What is the past participle of 'lire'?

Etre verbs

ÊTRE Verbs

A small group of verbs take the present tense of “être” as their auxiliary verb.

In the present tense, it take this form;

Je suis

Tu es

il/elle est

Nous sommes

Vous êtes

Ils sont/elles sont

To form this you need 1) present tense of être + 2) past participle

Verb Meaning Past participle

__M__ourir: to die: mort

__R__etourner: to return: retourné

__S__ortir: to go out: sorti

__V__enir: to come: venu

__A__rriver: to arrive: arrivé

__N__aître : to be born: né

__D__escendre: to go down: descendu

__E__ntrer: to enter: entré

__T__omber: to fall: tombé

__R__ester: to stay: resté

__A__ller: to go out: allé

__M__onter: to go up: monté

__P__artir: to leave: parti


N.B: The past participle must ‘agree’ with who did the action.

So if the person was female you must add an extra -e to the end of the past participle: e.g. elle est parti__e__ - she left.

If two or more females did the action you must add -es: e.g. elles sont parti__es__ - they left.

If the person who did the action was one male, then the past participle does not change: e.g. il est parti - he left.

If two or more males did the action add -s: e.g. ils sont parti__s__ - they left.

Translate: she went to the park
elle est allée au parc