We conjugate the passé composé using the auxiliary verbs avoir or être followed by the past participle (le participe passé) of the verb. In the following sentence, in futur proche, the verb that has an object is partir, not vais; therefore the pronoun goes before partir. French Conversational Past. The French Passé Composé: Sometimes Looking Back Is a Good Thing! When to Use the Passé Composé . Sure, the passé composé is a verb tense used to talk about the past, but it’s not the only past tense in French. In English it can be referred to as the compound past or the present perfect. The passé composé is used to express specific actions that happened in the past. The passé composé (compound past tense), also referred to as the past indefinite, is made up of two parts, a helping verb and a past participle. With that in mind, the following words, phrases, and expressions often require the use of the passé composé because they specify a definite past time: . In spoken French language, the passé composé is always used instead of the passé simple. The past is rarely simple. Il est allé à Paris. ensuite (then, next) . However, what does it mean to make the verb agree in gender and in number? Forming the Passé Composé with Être. d'abord (at first) . l'année passée (last year) . The passé composé can be tricky for English speakers, as it looks a lot like the present perfect (e.g. French past tenses. une fois (one time) avant‐hier (the day before yesterday) . enfin (finally) . Passé Composé versus Imparfait: when to use which one. The passé composé represents completed actions with a clear beginning and end. As you can see, the passé composé is really nothing to be afraid of. The passé composé talks about specific actions that were completed in the past. The passé composé for most French verbs is composed of the present tense of the auxiliary or helping verb avoir with a past participle. Please take a look at the following 4 sentences. Le Passé Composé is used in French to express actions which completed or finished in the past (as opposed to the imparfait which we use for habits or actions that were ongoing in the past).. A very easy way to think about passé composé versus imparfait is in the following manner. It is formed by using the present tense of the helping verb avoir ( j'ai, tu as, il/elle a, nous avons, vous avez, ils/elles ont ) or être ( … finalement (finally) . During the first year of French study, every student becomes aware of the troublesome relationship between the two main past tenses. When you use the passé composé with verbs that require être, you need to make the verb agree in gender and in number with the subject. l'été/l'hiver passé (last summer/winter) . The imparfait represents incompleted actions with no clear beginning and end. 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