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au spectacle; je les ai vus passer. 6. Nous avons lu vos deux romans français. 7. Les avez-vous finis ? 8. Nous ne les avons pas encore finis, nous comptons les finir ce soir. 9. Où avez-vous mis mes pantoufles ? 10. Je les ai mises sur une chaise, est-ce que vous ne les trouvez pas ? 11. Ernest a vendu sa montre et sa chaîne. 12. A qui les a-t-il vendues ? 13. Ils se sont bien défendus. 14. Ils se sont défendu cet amusement. 15. Elles se sont adressées à nous. 16. Elles se sont adressé des lettres.

1. Are your sisters arrived ? 2. Yes, they arrived this morning. 3. Have you seen them? 4. Yes, I have seen them walking in the garden. 5. No, I have not yet seen them. 6. Did you return to them the books which they have lent you ? 7. I have not yet returned them to them; I will return them (to them) to-morrow. 8. I received this morning the letter which you wrote to me.

9. I have sent it to my sister. 10. Has she not yet replied to you? 11. Yes, she has replied to me, but I think I have lost her letter. 12. I looked for it this morning, but I did not find it. 13. My sisters have amused themselves last night. 14. My cousin Louisa and your sister have written to each other. 15. I have seen both (les deux) letters, they are not very interesting.


The Preterite or Past Definite.

j'eus, I had.

tu eus.

il or elle eut.
nous eûmes.
vous eûtes.
iļs or elles eurent.

je fus, I was.
tu fus.
il or elle fute
nous fûmes.
vous fûtes.
ils or elles furent.

je portai, I carried. je finis.
tu portas.

tu finis.
il porta.

il finit.
nous portâmes. nous finîmes.
vous portâtes.

vous finîtes.
ils portèrent.

ils finirent.

je rendis.
tu rendis.
il rendit.
nous rendîmes.
vous rendites.
ils rendirent.

When translating an English past tense into French, first try if it can be changed into used to (as I used to speak), or into the present participle with I was, etc., (as I was speaking).

If either of these two ways can be employed, use the imperfect (je parlais); if neither can be employed you may generally use the past indefinite (j'ai parlé) in conversation, and the preterite (je parlai) in narratives or historical style.

When I was in Paris, I often went quand j'étais à Paris, j'allais sou(used to yo) to the opera,

vent à l'opéra. I was writing while my sister played, j'écrivais tandis que ma seur jou

ait. I went to see her this morning, je suis allé la voir ce matin. Prince Edward on that day did not le prince Edouard dans cette

journée ne perdit pas soixante

hommes. The

emperor alighted near the bench l'empereur descendit auprès du where I was sitting,

banc sur lequel j'étais assis.

lose sixty men,

1 As in English, the present is sometimes used instead of the preterite to give more animation to a narrative.

NOTE ON THE ORIGIN OF THE PRETERITE OR HISTORICAL TENSE. The Latin preterite cantavi was transformed by the people during the Roman occupation of Gaul into habeo cantatum (which afterwards became j'ai chanté), but the authors of the time, disdaining this vulgar Latin, adhered in their Chronicles to the classical cantavi, which has thus remained in the written French under the form je chantai, tu chantas, etc., whilst the popular j'ai chanté continued to be the tense generally used in conversation to express the past. This remark applies, of course, not only to chanter, but to all French verbs.

The imperfect denotes a customary or repeated action or state, or an unfinished action, in past time. elle chantait tous les jours,

she used to sing every day. The perfect (or past indefinite) is generally used to denote a past action or state without reference to its completion or end, or a past action the effect of which still continues.

je vous ai donné dix francs,

I have given you ten francs.

The preterite (or past definite) is used of an action or state which was definitely completed in past time.

le roi donna dix francs au soldat et the king gave ten francs to the soldier, lui demanda s'il en était content, and asked him if he were satisfied

with it.

The preterite can be used to express what took place only in a time wholly past, like yesterday, last month, last year ; as : – je reçus hier plusieurs lettres de I received yesterday several letters mon père,

from my father.

But you must say,

j'ai reçu plusieurs lettres de mon I have received several letters from père cette semaine,

my father this week, because this week is not yet wholly past.

The past anterior, which is the compound of the preterite, expresses an action or state immediately anterior to the one expressed by the preterite, and is never used but after such adverbs of time as quand, lorsque, dès que, aussitôt que, à peine :

à Calypso had scarcely uttered these à peine Calypso eut-elle prononcé

words when she regretted them. ces paroles qu'elle s'en repentit. As soon as he had written that letter, aussitôt qu'il eut écrit cette lettre, he prepared to die.

il se prépara à mourir.

The past anterior is the compound of the preterite in the same way that the pluperfect is the compound of the imperfect. j'eus eu, I had had.

j'eus été, I had been. j'eus porté, I had carried. j'eus fini.

j'eus rendu. j'eus été porté, I had been je me fus lavé, I had washed carried.

myself. 1. J'eus; il fut. 2. Ils eurent; nous fûmes. 3. Il porta ; ils vendirent. 4. Vous finîtes; nous vendîmes. 5. Il eut porté; il eut été porté; il fut porté. 6. Ils écoutèrent; elle regarda. 7. Le roi donna dix louis au paysan et lui pardonna sa faute. 8. Un officier anglais ayant été blessé fut transporté chez lui, où deux médecins furent appelés. 9. On demanda à un petit garçon pourquoi il prenait du sel; c'est, répondit-il, pour la viande qu'on me donnera. 10. Aussitôt qu'il eut fini son travail, il partit pour la campagne. 11. L'année dernière je visitai mon père à Londres, et je m'y amusais beaucoup. 12. C'est ici qu'on se battit, il y a trente

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(Put in the Preterite every verb in italics.) 1. He had ;

I was.

2. They were ; we had. 3. They had ; they had been; they had been carried. 4. She was ; she was called.

5. You (sing.) asked ; you (plur.) asked. 6. They asked her where her friends lived. 7. She replied that they were living at the sea-shore. 8. We finished our labors last week; they finished theirs this morning. 9. The king arrived on Thursday morning; he will leave this evening. 10. When she had written her letter, she was quite happy. 11. We visited the chamber in which you used to live. 12. He asked my pardon, and assured me that he had already written me six letters. 13. I told (dis) him that I had not yet received them,




Irregular verbs are those the conjugation of which differs, in some persons or tenses, from the three models of regular verbs. They are pretty numerous ; the most

; important are conjugated here; a complete list is given in the Appendix, pages 304, 315.

The knowledge of the rules by which tenses are formed will greatly facilitate the study of irregular verbs.

Formation of Tenses. Tenses are divided into two classes : primitive tenses and derived tenses.

Primitive tenses are those from which the others are formed. They are: 1st, The present infinitive; 2d, The present participle; 3d, The past participle; 4th, The present of the indicative; and 5th, The preterite (or past definite).

Derived tenses are those formed from the primitive tenses.

(1) From the infinitive are formed the future by changing -- or -re into -rai, and the conditional by changing -- or -re into -rais : —

1. porte-r, je porte-rai, je porte-rais.
2. fini-r,
je fini-rai,

je fini-rais. 3. rend-re, je rend-rai, je rend-rais. (2) From the present participle are formed two tenses, the imperfect of the indicative and the present of the subjunctive, and part of another tense, the plural of the present indicative.

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