MYTUTOR SUBJECT ANSWERS

746 views

When should I use the passé simple?

The passé simple, or the 'past historic', is a very irregular past tense that is rarely used in spoken French. It indicates a highly literary style, and is therefore only heard in formal speeches, such as those delivered by the President. 

Generally, the passé simple is used exclusively in writing, and specifically in literary writings. French children quickly grow accustomed to it because it is used in storybooks and the like, but they rarely use it themselves. Newspapers used to use the passé simple to recount events, but in recent years the passé composé, or 'perfect tense', has become an increasingly popular option.

In terms of meaning, the passé simple is almost identical to the passé composé. It refers to a completed, non-habitual action performed in the past, and is often used to convey a sequence of finite events. In theory, actions recounted in the passé composé continue to an exert an influence on the present, whereas actions in the passé simple do not; however, in general, the author of a text will either choose between the literary passé simple and the more informal passé composé for stylistic reasons, and then use this tense throughout. 

Rachael S. GCSE History tutor, GCSE Religious Studies tutor, GCSE Eng...

2 years ago

Answered by Rachael, an A Level French tutor with MyTutor


Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist

93 SUBJECT SPECIALISTS

PremiumEmma J. A Level French tutor, A Level English Literature tutor, GCSE ...
£30 /hr

Emma J.

Degree: English and French (Bachelors) - Warwick University

Subjects offered:French, Sociology+ 5 more

French
Sociology
Extended Project Qualification
English Literature
English Language
-Personal Statements-

“English and French undergraduate at the University of Warwick with previous teaching and tutoring experience. Premium MyTutorWeb tutor. DBS checked. ”

£20 /hr

Airelle A.

Degree: French and German (Bachelors) - Kings, London University

Subjects offered:French, German

French
German

“I am a second year student in French and German at King's College London. I have always been passionate by literature and humanities in general.  As I am French and an international student, I mostly consider myself as European. This ...”

£26 /hr

Tom P.

Degree: Modern Languages & Business Studies (Bachelors) - Newcastle University

Subjects offered:French, Spanish+ 1 more

French
Spanish
-Personal Statements-

“Highly experienced tutor and fluent speaker of Spanish, French, and Italian specialising in exam prep and adult learning !”

About the author

£30 /hr

Rachael S.

Degree: French and Spanish (Bachelors) - Cambridge University

Subjects offered:French, Spanish+ 6 more

French
Spanish
Religious Studies
History
Extended Project Qualification
English Literature
-Personal Statements-

“Second year languages student at the University of Cambridge, offering high quality tuition in a wide range of subject areas!”

You may also like...

Other A Level French questions

Translate the following into French: I would say that friendship is more important than love

How can I prepare for my oral exam?

Fill in the blank with the correct form of the word: Je veux apprendre la grammaire afin que je ........... réussir mes examens. (pouvoir)

How to stop making mood mistake after "que" in frenchstop making mood mistake after "que" in french

View A Level French tutors

We use cookies to improve your site experience. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss

mtw:mercury1:status:ok