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1. uses
  2. formation
  3. the Alamo of être
  4. irregular past participles
  5. agreement of past participle


went to the alamo uses
There are several past tenses in French, and each is used in very specific situations. The passé composé is the most common past tense; it is used to relate actions or events completed in the past. The passé composé may be translated into English in three different ways depending on the context.

audio
    Tex went to the Alamo.
Tex est allé à l'Alamo.   Tex has gone to the Alamo.
    Tex did go to the Alamo.


formation
The passé composé consists of two parts, the present tense of an auxiliary, or helping verb (either avoir or être ), and a past participle. In most instances the auxiliary verb used is avoir.

passé composé = present tense of auxiliary + past participle

However, several intransitive verbs, like aller (to go), require the auxiliary être instead. Note that the past participle agrees with the subject in number and in gender.

audio
aller  'to go'
je suis allé(e), I went (have gone) nous sommes allé(e)s, we went (have gone)
tu es allé(e), you went (have gone) vous êtes allé(e)(s), you went (have gone)
il / on est allé, he / one went (has gone) ils sont allés, they went, (have gone)
elle est allée, she went (has gone) elles sont allées, they went, (have gone)


The negation is formed by placing ne  ... pas around the conjugated verb, which in this case, is the auxiliary être: Je ne suis pas allé(e), Tu n'es pas allé(e), etc.

the Alamo of être
Many intransitive verbs, that is, verbs not followed by a direct object, take être in the passé composé. Many of these verbs also indicate motion. They are verbs of coming and going. Even naître (to be born) and mourir (to die) can be thought of as coming and going in metaphorical terms. The Alamo d'Être illustrates this group of verbs.

the alamo of étre


A few of these verbs of movement (monter, descendre,sortir, passer, retourner) may sometimes take a direct object, thus becoming transitive. When they do, the auxiliary used is avoir, instead of être. Example:

audio
Tex est sorti.   Tex went out.
Tex n'a pas sorti la poubelle.   Tex did not take out the garbage.


It is important to note that many intransitive verbs of movement, like courir and marcher, do not use être but avoir. The pronominal verbs form another important group of verbs which use être as the auxiliary in the passé composé.

irregular past participles
The past participles of the verbs that use être as an auxiliary are regular except for the following:

audio
infinitive translation past participle
venir to come venu
devenir to become devenu
revenir to come back revenu
naître to be born
mourir to die mort


agreement of the past participle
The past participle of a verb which takes être agrees in gender and number with the subject; that means an -e is added to the past participle to agree with a feminine subject and an -s is added for a plural subject. If the subject is feminine plural, -es is added.

audio
Joe-Bob: Tex, Corey et toi, vous êtes rentrés de l'Alamo?   Joe-Bob: Tex, did you and Corey come back from the Alamo?
Tex: Oui. Mais Tammy et Bette sont restées à San Antonio pour faire des achats.   Tex: Yes. But Tammy and Bette stayed in San Antonio to go shopping.
Corey: Tu n'as pas entendu? Tout d'un coup Tammy est devenue toute pâle et elle est tombée dans la rivière!   Corey: Didn't you hear? All of a sudden Tammy turned very pale and she fell in the river!
Joe-Bob: Mais, qu'est-ce qui s'est passé?   Joe-Bob: But, what happened?
Corey: Calme-toi. Elle n'est pas morte! Tex et moi sommes arrivés pour la sauver!   Corey: Calm down. She didn't die! Tex and I arrived to save her!

texercises

fill in the blanks
Give the passé composé of the verb indicated in parentheses.
1. Tammy ______ en France il y a un an. (aller)


2. Edouard ______ en retard, comme toujours. (arriver)


3. Hier Tammy ______ dans le cours d'aérobique 'step'. (tomber)


4. Fiona: Moi, je ______ à la maison hier soir. (rester)


5. Fiona: Corey et Joe-Bob, vous ______ très tard après la fête. (rentrer)


6. Tammy et Bette ______ ensemble. (venir)


7. Les enfants de Rita ______ en mai. (naître)


8. Tammy: Tex, pourquoi est-ce que tu ______ avec Bette? (partir)


9. Tex: Mes parents ______ sur l'autoroute. (mourir)


10. Tex: Je ______ une fois avec une fille qui s'appelle Marianne. (sortir)


11. Après la guerre, Paw-Paw ______ héros. (devenir)


12. Tex et Tammy ______ au rez-de-chaussée. (descendre)