English Grammar


Prétérit and présent perfect


When do you use prétérit or p perfect to translate the french "passé composé"I have lost my keys
I washed the floor
JLG

6 comments


  • Wonderful question!    
    Have you read the book? Did you like it?
    This example (widely used)  displays the ambiguity of the French "passé composé" used as well for a past situation (as-tu aimé?) as for a present one ( as-tu lu?)
    There is no ambiguity in English so you have to position the action on the time scale, before translating
    That's that I think! I hope our corrector-robot will agree!
    Nice English grammar!
  • Thank you Anper and AhQ
    I begin to understand. I have not found time enough to visit grammar on my workbook but i'll do it soon.
    Bye

  • When do you use prétérit or p perfect to translate the french "passé composé"I have lost my keys
    I washed the floor
    JLG
  • Hi Elena,
    In should there is an idea of obligation, or at least a suggestion, or advice (the obligation is softened by the conditional mode.) Here is what you should do. Voilà ce que tu devrais faire
    Whereas would is only used to give the conditional sense, what you would do (ce que tu ferais)   if it was possible, not what you actually do.

    Like AhQ to Jean Luc I suggest you to take a look on the would and should sections in your worbook, which explains  this much better than I do.

    And I wanted to add something on the previous topic above, question by JLG:
    When anper says that "J'ai aimé" is past, but "J'ai lu" is present, that doesn't surprise me because I've read that several times . But still it's not natural for me to consider "j'ai lu" as a present, that's not what we have learned in French grammar. That's why we find it difficult to choose the correct tense between simple past and past  perfect.
  • Well, Jean-Luc, I think anper is right. Don't practise a word to word translation, turn the idea from French into English and then apply the grammar rules.
    About the rules governing past perfect and simple past, you might have some notes in your workbook. Click on 'My workbook', then on 'Pedagogy' and eventually on 'Grammar'.
    Wouldn't you find what you are looking for, I - or anper - or someone else would display the rules.
  • I've made many exersises with "Should" and "would" but i don't stop to make mistakes,Does anyone help me to get more clear that difference?
    Thanks

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