The perfect tense: a complete example
On the previous page, we mentioned that the perfect tense in French generally carries the meaning of I have ...ed or I ...ed, and that it is generally formed as follows:
perfect tense = present tense of avoir + past participle
We mentioned that there are a few complications. But for now, let's look at a worked example of the general formula we've just mentioned.
Present tense of avoir
Recall that the present tense of avoir is as follows:
The past participle is the equivalent form to words ending in
-en or -ed in English: eaten, walked, climbed,
In English, there is a regular pattern: most verbs have their past participles
ending in -ed. But there are some irregularities (sing has sung,
In French, there is a comparable situation: a regular rule, for regualr -er verbs, plus some other minor rules and irregularities. For now, we'll concentrate on the regular rule:
The past participle of a regular -er verb is formed by replacing -er with -é.
So that gives past participles such as the following:
Note that the past participle generally sounds the same as the infinitive for regular -er verbs.
Example perfect tense forms
Now, to make the perfect tense, we need to combine entries from the previous two tables.
What to read next
Once you're happy with forming the perfect tense of -er verbs, here are some other things to look at: