French Verbs Are Accessible

Passé Composé-

Part 1: Regular Verbs that take Avoir as the Helping Verb-

We will now learn to describe events completed in the past. Soon you will be able to talk about what happened yesterday, last week, or even last year. In French conversation, the tense normally used to describe past actions is the passé composé. The passé composé is a compound past tense that consists of two elements: the present tense of an auxiliary or helping verb and a past participle. Most verbs use the helping verb avoir. However, some use être. In this module, we will practice only verbs that take avoir and are conjugated regularly in the passé composé. Examples include: j'ai parlé (I spoke), tu as répondu (you answered), il a dormi (he slept), nous avons travaillé (we worked), vous avez fini (you finished), and ils ont attendu (they waited).

Let's review the present tense of the verb avoir: j'ai; tu as; il, elle, on a; nous avons; vous avez; ils ont.

The following chart explains how to form the past participle of regular verbs.

French Verb Groups- How to Form the Past Participle- Examples-
E R verbs such as parler, travailler, dîner, and aimer- Change the E R in the infinitive to é.- parlé, travaillé, dîné, aimé -
I R verbs such as finir, choisir, réussir, and bâtir- Change the I R in the infinitive to i.- fini, choisi, réussi, bâti-
R E verbs such as vendre, attendre, répondre, and perdre- Change the R E in the infinitive to u.- vendu, attendu, répondu, perdu-

Here is the verb travailler (to work) conjugated in the passé composé:

Travailler- English Translation-
J'ai travaillé- I worked, have worked-
Tu as travaillé- You -- familiar -- worked, have worked-
Il, elle a travaillé- He, she worked, has worked-
Nous avons travaillé- We worked, have worked-
Vous avez travaillé- You worked, have worked-
Ils, elles ont travaillé- They worked, have worked-

Here is the verb finir (to finish) conjugated in the passé composé:

Finir- English Translation-
J'ai fini- I finished, have finished-
Tu as fini- You -- familiar-- finished, have finished-
Il, elle a fini- He, she finished, has finished-
Nous avons fini- We finished, have finished-
Vous avez fini- You finished, have finished-
Ils, elles ont fini- They finished, have finished-

Now, let's look at the verb perdre (to lose) conjugated in the passé composé:

Perdre- English Translation-
J'ai perdu- I lost, have lost-
Tu as perdu- You -- familiar -- lost, have lost-
Il, elle a perdu- He, she lost, has lost-
Nous avons perdu- We lost, have lost-
Vous avez perdu- You lost, have lost-
Ils, elles ont perdu- They lost, have lost-