Giáo trình động từ tiếng Pháp - Part III Taking a Look Back: The Past Tenses - Chapter 11 pot

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Part III Taking a Look Back: The Past Tenses 16_773883 pt03.qxp 7/28/06 8:43 PM Page 119 In this part . . . H umankind can’t live on bread alone, and a language isn’t nearly as interesting or as complete if it has only one tense. Think of the confusion just one tense could cause — how would you tell your friends whether you’re waiting for them at the restaurant now, will be waiting for them later, or were waiting for them earlier? In this part, you look at how to form the many past tenses in French: the imperfect, the passé composé (compound past), the pluperfect, and the passé simple (the simple past). You can use these past tenses to recount, or describe, events in the past, such as your childhood, your high school prom, your family’s last vacation, or even the movie you saw last weekend. Sometimes, you may even want to explain the sequence of past events, those that happened prior to other past events. That’s why you need all those different past tenses, all of which are introduced in this part one by one. So go ahead, reminisce! You can do it with the past tenses. 16_773883 pt03.qxp 7/28/06 8:43 PM Page 120 Imperfect Tense Verb Endings je -ais nous -ions tu -ais vous -iez il/elle/on -ait ils/elles -aient Chapter 11 No Tense Is Perfect: The Imperfect Tense In This Chapter ᮣ Forming the imperfect with regular, irregular, and pronominal verbs ᮣ Using the imperfect tense D o you ever get nostalgic about the past? Do you want to be able to say what you used to do when you were a child, to describe a wonderful family tradition, or to recall how blue the sky was on your favorite vacation? Well, you can with the imperfect tense. You use the imperfect tense to describe a continuous or habitual action in the past, or an action that you did a nonspecific number of times. The English translation of the imperfect is was doing something, used to do something, or would do something in the past. Note: One of the transla- tions of the imperfect tense in English is would. However this translation isn’t the same as the would of the conditional tense, which expresses the present and the future. An example of the would in the imperfect is Quand j’habitais à Paris, je prenais souvent le métro (When I lived in Paris, I would often take the train ). (See Chapter 17 for more on the conditional tense.) This chapter shows you how to form the imperfect tense for regular, irregular, and pronomi- nal verbs, as well as the many ways you can correctly use the tense. Making Regular Verbs Imperfect The imperfect is a simple tense to form; the verb is conjugated by itself without an auxiliary. The stem for the imperfect comes from the nous form of the present tense of the verb, minus the -ons. This rule applies to all regular, irregular, and pronominal -er, -ir, and -re verbs. (Check out Chapters 2, 3, 4, and 5 for more about the present tense.) Only one verb, être (to be), is irregular in the imperfect tense; the stem is ét (check out “The one true irreg- ular imperfect verb — être” later in this chapter). However, the endings are all the same, even for this irregular verb. The imperfect endings are as follows: 17_773883 ch11.qxp 8/2/06 1:33 PM Page 121 So the imperfect tense conjugations for a regular verb are as follows: parler ( to speak ) Present-tense nous form: parlons je parlais nous parlions tu parlais vous parliez il/elle/on parlait ils/elles parlaient Il parlait à ses parents. ( He was speaking to his parents. ) finir ( to finish ) Present-tense nous form: finissons je finissais nous finissions tu finissais vous finissiez il/elle/on finissait ils/elles finissaient Je finissais mon déjeuner. ( I was finishing my lunch. ) vendre ( to sell ) Present-tense nous form: vendons je vendais nous vendions tu vendais vous vendiez il/elle/on vendait ils/elles vendaient Nous vendions notre maison. ( We were selling our house. ) Pronominal verbs don’t pose a problem either. Just remember to add the pronominal pronouns (see Chapter 5 for a refresher on pronominal verbs). The stem and the end- ings are the same as those of the nonpronominal verbs. se promener ( to take a walk/a stroll ) Present-tense nous form: nous nous promenons je me promenais nous nous promenions tu te promenais vous vous promeniez il/elle/on se promenait ils/elles se promenaient Je me promenais chaque jour. ( I would/used to take a walk every day. ) 122 Part III: Taking a Look Back: The Past Tense 17_773883 ch11.qxp 8/2/06 1:33 PM Page 122 Now it’s your turn to try. Conjugate the following verbs into the imperfect tense. Q. Tu _________________ (chercher) les enfants. A. Tu cherchais les enfants. (You were looking for/were picking up the children.) 1. Nous _________________ (répondre) aux questions. 2. Mes parents nous _________________ (punir). 3. Corinne _________________ (chanter) bien. 4. Je _________________ (perdre) toujours mes clés. 5. Vous _________________ (travailler) beaucoup. 6. Les enfants _________________ (se coucher) à 8 heures. 7. Philippe _________________ (marcher) six kilomètres. 8. Nous _________________ (se réunir) régulièrement. 9. Tu _________________ (arriver) à l’heure. 10. Je _________________ (choisir) le train. Forming the Imperfect with Irregular Verbs Unlike many of the other tenses, irregular verbs (see Chapter 4) aren’t irregular in the imperfect tense. In fact, even the irregular verbs are regular in the imperfect tense, albeit with one major exception. This section focuses on the regular irregular verbs as well as the true irregular verb in the imperfect tense. To create the imperfect tense of irregular verbs, simply take their nous form, drop the - ons, and add the appropriate endings: -ais, -ais, -ait, -ions, -iez, and -aient. Check out Table 11-1, which lists several verbs in their nous form. Table 11-1 Nous Forms of Irregular Verbs Infinitive Nous form Stem aller ( to go ) Nous allons all avoir ( to have ) Nous avons av boire ( to drink ) Nous buvons buv craindre ( to fear ) Nous craignons craign croire ( to believe ) Nous croyons croy (continued) 123 Chapter 11: No Tense Is Perfect: The Imperfect Tense 17_773883 ch11.qxp 8/2/06 1:33 PM Page 123 Table 11-1 (continued) devoir ( to owe, to have to, must ) Nous devons dev dire ( to say ) Nous disons dis écrire ( to write ) Nous écrivons écriv faire ( to do, to make ) Nous faisons fais lire ( to read ) Nous lisons lis mettre ( to put, to place ) Nous mettons mett ouvrir ( to open ) Nous ouvrons ouvr partir ( to leave ) Nous partons part pouvoir ( to be able to ) Nous pouvons pouv prendre ( to take ) Nous prenons pren recevoir ( to receive ) Nous recevons recev venir ( to come ) Nous venons ven voir ( to see ) Nous voyons voy vouloir ( to want to ) Nous voulons voul Il pouvait travailler. (He was able to work.) Conjugate the following verbs into the imperfect tense. Q. Les étudiants _________________ (dire) la vérité. A. Les étudiants disaient la vérité. (The students were telling the truth.) 11. Nous _________________ (prendre) des notes. 12. Je _________________ (sortir) tous les soirs. 13. Vous _________________ (lire) des romans. 14. Les enfants _________________ (craindre) des moustiques. 15. Tu _________________ (boire) du vin. 16. Nous _________________ (s’écrire) quelquefois. 17. Mathilde _________________ (faire) des études. 18. Vous _________________ (croire) aux contes de fées. 19. Je _________________ (recevoir) des cadeaux. 20. Nous _________________ (vouloir) partir. 124 Part III: Taking a Look Back: The Past Tense 17_773883 ch11.qxp 8/2/06 1:33 PM Page 124 “Eyeing” verb stems What if the stem of the verb in the nous form ends in an i, like étudier (to study), rire (to smile), or crier (to scream)? Just keep the i and add the endings. Doing so may look funny to native English speakers, especially in the nous and vous forms in the imperfect, but the rules of the imperfect never change. Look at the following example. étudier ( to study ) Present-tense nous form: étudions j’étudiais nous étudiions tu étudiais vous étudiiez il/elle/on étudiait ils/elles étudiaient Il étudiait. ( He was studying. ) Working with -cer and -ger verbs Verbs that end in -cer and -ger also have imperfect forms. These imperfect forms use the same endings (from the present-tense nous form) as other imperfect verbs, but you have to remember the rules that you use for the present tense. To make their nous form, for the - cer verbs, you need to add the cedilla on the c, and for the -ger verbs, you add the e before the ons. In Chapter 3, I explain why and when the cedilla and the e are added to the present tense. In the imperfect, the pronunciations of the c and the g aren’t affected when followed by an i but are affected when followed by an a. How does this affect the imperfect form of these types of verbs? Check out the following examples. commencer ( to begin ) Present-tense nous form: commençons je commençais nous commencions tu commençais vous commenciez il/elle/on commençait ils/elles commençaient Nous commencions à jouer. ( We were beginning to play. ) manger ( to eat ) Present-tense nous form: mangeons je mangeais nous mangions tu mangeais vous mangiez il/elle/on mangeait ils/elles mangeaient Ils mangeaient des croissants chaque jour. ( They would eat croissants every day. ) 125 Chapter 11: No Tense Is Perfect: The Imperfect Tense 17_773883 ch11.qxp 8/2/06 1:33 PM Page 125 The one true irregular imperfect verb — être Only one French verb has an irregular stem: être (to be). The stem of être isn’t derived from its nous form but from the stem ét. Its endings, however, are regular. être ( to be ) j’étais nous étions tu étais vous étiez il/elle/on était ils/elles étaient Elle était occupée. ( She was busy. ) Put the verbs in parentheses in the imperfect tense. Q. Ils _________________ (annoncer) leurs fiançailles. A. Ils annonçaient leurs fiançailles. (They were announcing/would announce their engagement. ) 21. Tu _________________ (aller) au marché. 22. Ils _________________ (acheter) du pain. 23. Elle _________________ (lire). 24. Nous _________________ (travailler). 25. Je _________________ (nager). 26. Vous _________________ (s’ennuyer). 27. Tu _________________ (faire) de la voile. 28. Nous _________________ (rire). 29. Il _________________ (neiger). 30. Je _________________ (conduire). Using the Imperfect You can use the imperfect tense in many different situations. For example, you can use it to express a habitual and continuous action in the past as well as in all kinds of descriptions. You can recall what the weather was like, what someone was wearing, or what the surroundings you’re describing were like. Because of its versatility, the imperfect tense has many meanings in English. You can translate it as used to, would, was, were, was doing, or were doing something. You can choose whichever translation best suits what you want to say. 126 Part III: Taking a Look Back: The Past Tense 17_773883 ch11.qxp 8/2/06 1:33 PM Page 126 This section looks at the main ways that you can use the imperfect tense. Check out Table 11-2 to see some specific expressions that imply a general and nonspecific time in the past. These expressions usually indicate a habitual and continuous action. Expressing habitual and continuous actions Habitual action means something that you would do or used to do over and over again for an unspecified number of times. The following example illustrates how you use imperfect verbs to express habitual and continuous actions. (The French verbs are bolded; the English translation verbs are italicized.) Remember that you can also say used to instead of would in the translation. Chez ses grands-parents, Michelle jouait tous les jours avec ses petits cousins, et nageait dans la mer. Sa grand-mère préparait toujours des repas délicieux qui sentaient si bons. Le soir, ses grands-parents amenaient Michelle au centre ville et lui achetaient de la glace. Puis, ils s’asseyaient à la terrasse d’un café et ils regardaient les gens qui passaient. At her grandparents’ house, Michelle would play every day with her little cousins and would swim in the sea. Her grandmother would always prepare delicious meals, which smelled so good. In the evenings, her grandparents would bring Michelle to town and would buy her ice cream. Then, they would sit at the terrace of the café and watch the people who would pass by. Table 11-2 Common Expressions in the Imperfect Tense Expression Translation autrefois in the past chaque année each year chaque fois each time chaque jour each day chaque mois each month chaque semaine each week d’habitude/habituellement usually en général/généralement in general/generally le lundi on Mondays, or every Monday le mardi on Tuesdays, or every Tuesday le mercredi on Wednesdays, or every Wednesday le jeudi on Thursdays, or every Thursday le vendredi on Fridays, or every Friday le samedi on Saturdays, or every Saturday le dimanche on Sundays, or every Sunday le weekend on the weekends, or every weekend quelquefois sometimes, at times souvent often toujours/tout le temps always tous les ans every year tous les jours every day tous les mois every month toutes les semaines every week 127 Chapter 11: No Tense Is Perfect: The Imperfect Tense 17_773883 ch11.qxp 8/2/06 1:33 PM Page 127 Form sentences in the past from the given elements. Remember to put the verb in the imperfect tense. Q. Elle/choisir/toujours/le coq au vin. A. Elle choisissait toujours le coq au vin. (She would always choose the coq au vin.) 31. Autrefois/je/prendre/le train. (In the past, I used to/would take the train.) __________________________________________________________________________________ 32. Nous/aller/à l’école/tous les jours. (We used to/would go to school every day.) __________________________________________________________________________________ 33. Ils/jouer/au golf/le weekend. (They would play golf on the weekends.) __________________________________________________________________________________ 34. Je/faire/souvent/des promenades. (I would often take walks.) __________________________________________________________________________________ 35. D’habitude/il/rencontrer/ses amis/au café. (Usually, he would meet his friends at the café.) __________________________________________________________________________________ 36. Vous/se dépêcher/tout le temps. (You were always in a hurry.) __________________________________________________________________________________ 37. Le vendredi/elle/sortir/avec ses amis. (On Fridays she would go out with her friends.) __________________________________________________________________________________ 38. Nous/partir/en vacances/chaque été. (We would leave for vacation each summer.) __________________________________________________________________________________ 39. Tu/manger/toujours vite. (You would always eat quickly.) __________________________________________________________________________________ 40. En général/les étudiants/parler/français en classe. (Generally, the students would speak French in class. ) __________________________________________________________________________________ Describing the past If you want to set the background of the past by describing physical, mental, and emotional conditions, then you use the imperfect tense. These conditions include the description of weather, scenery, appearances, and feelings. Some examples include what the beach looked like from your hotel window, what your best friend was wear- ing at yesterday’s party, or what you were thinking when you first met the love of your life. 128 Part III: Taking a Look Back: The Past Tense 17_773883 ch11.qxp 8/2/06 1:33 PM Page 128 [...]... partir (We wanted to leave.) u Tu allais au marché (You used to go to the market.) v Ils achetaient du pain (They were buying bread.) w Elle lisait (She was reading.) x Nous travaillions (We were working.) 131 17_773883 ch11.qxp 132 8/2/06 1:33 PM Page 132 Part III: Taking a Look Back: The Past Tense y Je nageais (I was swimming.) A Vous vous ennuyiez (You were getting bored.) B Tu faisais de la voile... result clause You use the imperfect in the si clause and the conditional tense in the result clause (see Chapter 17 for more on hypothetical sentences) Check out the following example: Si j’avais de l’argent, je voyagerais (If I had money/were to have money, I would travel.) Avais is in the imperfect tense and voyagerais is in the conditional tense Match the following sentences with one of the categories... that best describes it Write the appropriate letter in each blank I show you how in the example Q Il jouait du piano pendant qu’elle chantait A e Simultaneous action 41 _ Quand j’étais à Paris, je prenais toujours le métro a Description of weather and time 42 _ Si on faisait un pique-nique? b Physical and mental description 43 _ Il pleuvait en avril c Habitual action 44 _ Nous étudiions pendant...17_773883 ch11.qxp 8/2/06 1:33 PM Page 129 Chapter 11: No Tense Is Perfect: The Imperfect Tense The following paragraph provides an example All the imperfect verbs are bolded in the French version and italicized in the English translation Quand Michelle était jeune, elle passait tous les étés avec ses grands-parents qui habitaient en Provence Parce qu’il faisait toujours très chaud, elle portait toujours... followed by the imperfect Check out the following examples Si nous allions au cinéma? (What if we went to the movies? or How about going to the movies?) Si tu étais un peu plus patient! (If only you were a little more patient!) Hypothesizing with the imperfect The imperfect is part of a construction of a hypothetical sentence A hypothetical sentence is composed of two clauses, the si (if) clause and the result... (I was watching a very good film when my children came in asking me for a snack.) Les enfants jouaient au foot quand il a commencé à pleuvoir (The children were playing soccer when it began to rain.) In the second example, were playing is in the imperfect tense and began is in the passé composé, which is a completed action in the past (Check out Chapter 12 for more on the passé composé.) Using the. .. and all of a sudden something happened and interrupted what you were doing? For example, you were watching a great movie when your children came in asking for a snack Here, you would use two tenses, the imperfect of the verb to watch (were watching) and the completed past (see Chapter 12) of the verb to come (came) Je regardais un très bon film quand mes enfants sont venus me demander un casse-croûte... I was reading the directions.) Tu jouais au tennis pendant qu’il nageait (You were playing tennis while he was swimming.) 129 17_773883 ch11.qxp 130 8/2/06 1:33 PM Page 130 Part III: Taking a Look Back: The Past Tense Making suggestions and expressing wishes You can use the imperfect tense to make suggestions to your friends, your parents, your spouse, or your children, or to express a wish You can... regardais la télévision d Interrupted action 45 _ Je lisais quand le téléphone a sonné e Simultaneous action 46 _ Elle portait une robe blanche et un chapeau rose f Wishing or suggesting with si 47 _ Tu écrivais toujours à tes amis 48 _ Ils mangeaient quand je suis entré 49 _ Il faisait beau en été mais il neigeait beaucoup en hiver 50 _ Je pensais qu’il était formidable 17_773883 ch11.qxp... journée alors nous étions fatigués (We had just worked the whole day so we were tired.) Describing simultaneous actions When two actions occur at the same time in the past, the imperfect tense is used for both verbs in order to express continuous simultaneous action Usually, the expression pendant que (while) is used to link these two actions Il conduisait pendant que je lisais la carte routière (He was . Part III Taking a Look Back: The Past Tenses 16_773883 pt03.qxp 7/28/06 8:43 PM Page 119 In this part . . . H umankind can’t live on bread alone, and a language isn’t nearly as interesting. met the love of your life. 128 Part III: Taking a Look Back: The Past Tense 17_773883 ch11.qxp 8/2/06 1:33 PM Page 128 The following paragraph provides an example. All the imperfect verbs are. situations. For example, you can use it to express a habitual and continuous action in the past as well as in all kinds of descriptions. You can recall what the weather was like, what someone was
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