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passé composé et imparfait ---en anglais, ils sont have done and did?


I have learned these two grammars for a long time, but I am still not sure how to distinguish them accurately.

passé composé=have done ? But sometimes, I feel it also has a sense of DID sth.

par example, comment on dit " I learned french when I was at university." en français? -----This is kind of a description but we have a clear time scale. Can I say: j'ai appris le français quand j'étais à l'university? ou bien J'apprenais le français....

Est-ce que vous pouvez m'explique un peu?

Merci à l'avance.

For learning: French
Base language: English
Category: Language



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    Modern French does not distinguish between what is called the simple past (e.g., I did my homework) and the past perfect (e.g., I have done my homework) in English. The French say "J'ai fait mes devoirs" for both.

    The imparfait in French corresponds to the English past progressive (e.g., I was doing = je faisais).

    However, it is absolutely important to know that there is *not* a one-to-one correspondence between French and English. Sometimes, something written in the past tense in English will be translated using the imparfait in French. Sometimes it will be translated using the passé composé.

    I was afraid can be translated as either j'avais peur (if the sentence describes a continuous state in the past over an extended amount of time) or j'ai eu peur (if the sentence describe fear at a specific point in time for a relatively short duration).

    For your example, it is most common to use "j'ai appris le français à l'université" to say that you learned French in college without any specific reference to or emphasis on the process of learning French.

    However, if you would like to emphasize the process, the extended period over which you learned French, you might say something like "J'apprenais l'anglais à la maison et le français à l'école". Often, the imparfait in French can be translated using the expression "used to" in English. So "quand j'étais petit, j'allais souvent au parc" = "when I was little, I used to go to the park often".

    Les français utilisent quasi systématiquement le passé composé à la place du passé simple (et même pour l'imparfait).
    L'imparfait s'utilise pour une action passé qui dure dans le temps ou répétitive....
    le passé simple et donc le passé-composé pour une action du passé fini.

    Donc tu peux dire: j'ai appris le français quand j'étais a l'université. Tu as défini quand...
    Tu peux aussi dire: j'apprenais le français à l'université.

    Il y a la grammaire Française et la grammaire anglaise, elles sont différentes.

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