FR: passé simple + plus-que-parfait / passé antérieur

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by csx17, Jun 23, 2008.

  1. csx17

    csx17 Senior Member

    Portuguese
    Can you set up an example of the passé antérieur. Is it used?

    Moderator note: multiple threads merged to create this one.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  2. Callysto Senior Member

    French
    It is really hardly used... I can't even think of a example right now..

    Edit : found an example
    "Dès qu'elle eut vérifié la grammaire, elle donna un exemple." (as soon as she had checked on the grammar, she gave an example... )
    Passé antérieur is for the action before the action written in simple past.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2008
  3. arundhati Senior Member

    France
    French - France
    Dès que j'eus fini ma soupe, je partis me coucher ;-)
    "eus fini" est au passé antérieur.
     
  4. csx17

    csx17 Senior Member

    Portuguese
    Thank you very much for the explanation.
    I think le Passé Anterieur corresponds to this:

    I had visited Miami before I visited New York.
    The action that happened in first place must be used in the Passé Anterieur?
     
  5. alex19 Junior Member

    France
    English - Australia
    is it ever spoken? i thought it was only used in writing?
     
  6. Daremo Junior Member

    Paris
    French
    It is indeed most of the time used in writing, you can speak using this tense but you will be said to be snobbish.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  7. Donaldos

    Donaldos Senior Member

    French - France
    That's right. Almost never used in speech.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  8. geostan

    geostan Senior Member

    English Canada
    The passé antérieur is the equivalent of the plus-que-parfait when the main verb is in the passé simple. As such, it is usually literary in nature, although some politicians might use it in a highly formal speech.

    Cheers!
     
  9. janpol

    janpol Senior Member

    France
    France - français
    Si le passé simple n'est pas utilisé à l'oral et si le passé antérieur n'apparaît qu'en corellation avec ce temps, il est logique qu'il ne soit guère utlisé qu'à l'écrit. Ceci dit, il n'est pas plus difficile à utiliser qu'un autre temps et l' on peut voir une belle rigueur logique dans l'utilisation, dans une phrase, d'un temps simple et, exprimant l'antériorité, dans celle du temps composé correspondant.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2008
  10. Fred_C

    Fred_C Senior Member

    France
    Français
    Oui, mais le passé antérieur peut aussi être utilisé en corélation avec le passé composé :
    "Dès qu'elle eut vérifié la grammaire, elle a donné un exemple".
    Dans le langage moderne, on dira :
    "Dès qu'elle a vérifié la grammaire, elle a donné un exemple", ce qui n'est pas vraiment juste au niveau de la concordance des temps.
    Pour rétablir la concordance des temps, on pourra dire :
    "Dès qu'elle a eu vérifié la grammaire, elle a donné un exemple", ce qui est juste au niveau de la concordance des temps, mais utilise un barbarisme morphologique : l'usage du passé "surcomposé", qui utilise l'auxiliaire "avoir" au passé composé.
     
  11. xaipete Senior Member

    Green Bay, WI, USA
    English - U.S.
    If the bulk of the narrative is in the passé simple, do I use the plus-que-parfait or the passé antérieur to express earlier events?
    I am translating an autobiography, using the passé simple. There are many passages like "I had never seen anything like it", "I had forgotten what my grandfather said", and the like. I've been cheerfully putting these in the passé antérieur ("j'eus oublié la parole de mon grand-père"). But now I'm reading something that says the passé antérieur is used only in clauses introduced by "après que", "aussitôt que", and a few others. The same text seems to contradict itself in saying "the passé antérieur is used with the passé simple as the plus-que-parfait is used with the passé composé."
    Do I use passé antérieur with that handful of time-related conjunctions, and plus-que-parfait otherwise?
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  12. tilt

    tilt Senior Member

    Nord-Isère, France
    French French
    Passé antérieur sounds very literary to me, and I'd try to avoid it.
    Moreover, it is probably true that it should show only in some kinds of clauses. I can't remember I ever learnt such a rule, but it makes sense to me.

    In my opinion, you can use plus que parfait with passé simple just like with passé composé: Il partit car il avait fini.
     
  13. geostan

    geostan Senior Member

    English Canada
    Yes.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  14. nayyan Senior Member

    French
    "I had never seen anything like it",
    = je n'avais jamais rien vu de tel.
    "I had forgotten what my grandfather said"
    = j'avais oublié ce que mon grand-père (me) disait.

    DO NOT use "j'eus oublié la parole mon grand-père" !!

    Le passé antérieur exprime un fait passé, par rapport à une autre exprimée au passé simple. Peu importe le temps écoulé entre les deux faits, mais souvent ils se succèdent :
    - Dès que la sirène eut sonné, les ouvriers quittèrent l'usine. (L'action de la sirène est antérieure à l'action des ouvriers qui s'en vont).

    But I am really doubtful that a book entirely written in the French "Passé antérieur" would attract many french readers !
     
  15. mrs.dengler Junior Member

    England, English
    Hi
    I'm writing a short story in French, and most of it is in the passé simple. But there's a long passage (about a page or so) that talks about what happened to the main character before we meet him- about where he grew up etc. Should I use the passé antérieur? It's things like he had grown up here, he had gone to school, then he had left home etc.
     
  16. La Canadienne-française New Member

    Français
    Bonjour!

    Pour ma part, j'utiliserais le plus-que-parfait.
    Par exemple:

    Il en vint à se remémorer son passé. Il avait été un brillant journaliste et avait connu un certain succès jusqu'à ce fameux entretien...
     
  17. janpol

    janpol Senior Member

    France
    France - français
    L'emploi du PA en relation avec le PS est envisageable aussi :
    Après qu'il eut été durant des années un brillant journaliste et qu'il eut connu un certain succès, il eut, un jour, un entretien...
     
  18. mrs.dengler Junior Member

    England, English
    ah merci...mais je ne comprends pas exactement...le plus-que-parfait exprime le meme chose que le passé antérieur, sauf que le passé antérieur s'emploie dans les contextes littéraires ou historiques, n'est-ce pas?
     
  19. janpol

    janpol Senior Member

    France
    France - français
    Ils expriment l'antériorité, le passé antérieur en rapport avec le passé simple (quand il eut fini...., il partit), le PQP en rapport avec l'imparfait (il portait un pull-over que sa mère avait tricoté)
     
  20. anastasialapersonne New Member

    Miami
    English
    This sentence is taken from a narrative in the passé simple. I want to indicate that this had been going on before. Should I use the passé antérieur?

    "The spouses fought frequently, and when my aunt couldn't tolerate him anymore, she banished him from the house."


    --> "Les maris eurent se disputé fréquemment, et quand ma tante n’eut le supporté pas plus, elle eut le banni de la maison."
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2010
  21. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    Without context, it is very difficult to understand why you would want to use the passé antérieur in this sentence when a combination of imparfait and passé simple covers all your needs. :confused: The passé antérieur is rather literary and we don't need it very often.

    If you really wanted to, you use the passé antérieur for the verb bannir, because the banishing was a one-time event. But habits (arguing) and states of mind (not tolerating) are expressed in the imparfait, even if they happened before other past events.

    […]

    PS. The passé antérieur is no different from any other compound tense when it comes to pronoun placement and choice of the auxiliary! Ils eurent se disputé :cross: --> Ils se furent disputés // Elle eut le banni :cross: --> elle l'eut banni
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  22. beaujohn

    beaujohn Senior Member

    English
    I can't find a thread on Wordreference.com explaining the difference between the plus-que-parfait and the passé anterieure.
    Could someone explain it to me, or direct me to a thread?
    Thanks!
    ~ beau
     
  23. Ellea1

    Ellea1 Senior Member

    London
    Southern French
    Hi,

    Plus-que-parfait = The past perfect tense refers to something completed futher back in the past than some other past action. Examples : J'avais parlé, j'étais allé. (auxiliary verbs 'être' or 'avoir' in the imperfect) + past participle

    Passé antérieur = Ditto, only it is conjugated differently, and it is only for reading. Examples j'eus fini, je fus parti. Auxiliary verbs 'être' or 'avoir' in the simple past (passé simple) + past participle.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2010
  24. Wordylady

    Wordylady Senior Member

    Paris
    English - British
    I think they both do the same thing, in that they both express an action that happened before a more recent action in the past.

    But the plus-que-parfait is used in everyday language and the passé anterieure is just used in written texts, in literature.

    Plus-que-parfait is constructed with the auxiliary verb (avoir or etre) in the imperfect + the past participle
    J'avais fini

    Passé anterieure is constructed with the auxiliary verb (avoir or etre) in the simple past (passé simple) + the past participle
    J'eus fini

    Someone more knowledgable on these things can probably give you a better definition than that though.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2010
  25. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    You want a short answer? Forget the passé antérieur and stick to the plus-que-parfait.

    For the long answer, here's what my grammar book says:

    (i) The pluperfect is used in French as in English, e.g.:
    - Je croyais qu'il avait terminé son travail
    - I thought that he had finished his work.

    (ii) The past anterior... is practically unknown in conversation. It is a literary form used principally:
    (a) with temporal conjunctions, such as quand, lorsque, dès que... to indicate that one thing happened immediately after something else had happened, e.g.:
    - Dès qu'ils eurent mis le nez dehors, l'orage éclata
    - The storm burst the instant they put their noses outside.
    (b) Occasionally in a main clause ... to express the speed with which something happened, e.g.:
    - Ils eurent rejoint la chasse en un instant (Mérimée)
    - In a moment they had caught up with the hunt.
     
  26. Wordylady

    Wordylady Senior Member

    Paris
    English - British
    Found this explanation which might help too:

    The French past anterior (passé antérieur) is the literary equivalent of the past perfect (plus-que-parfait). It is used in literature and historical accounts to indicate an action in the past that occurred before another action in the past. Because it is a literary tense, you don't need to practise conjugating it, but it is important for you to be able to recognise it.
     
  27. soul2soul Senior Member

    hindi
    In the following sentence

    Quand il eut diné, il fit une partie de cartes. Il était arrivé à 17 h et avait pris l'apéritif en attendant,

    why is PQP used in the 2nd sentence? Is it ok to replace the PQP with PA?

    ex - Il fut arrivé à 17 h et eut pris l'apéritif en attendant.

    Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  28. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    To describe circumstances in the past, the imparfait is used, not the passé composé or the passé simple. Likewise, to describe circumstances in an earlier past, the plus-que-parfait is used instead of the passé antérieur.
     
  29. soul2soul Senior Member

    hindi
    Ah! Finally I have the answer to my question! Thank you!
    So is it safe (& correct) to say that the PA is used "in combination" with the PS, usually with expectations like, "lorsque", "quand" etc, else PQP is used to describe isolated, independant circumstances in the past?
     
  30. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    That's about it, but I'd rather put it this way:

    The passé antérieur is literary and is used almost exclusively in correlation with the passé simple, typically after quand, lorsque, etc., while the plus-que-parfait is common and is typically used in correlation with the passé composé or passé simple. Anyway, the plus-que-parfait and imparfait are usually used in a different clause within the same sentence like the passé antérieur, but it is also possible to have them in a separate sentence.

    Quand il eut fini [passé antérieur] de préparer le poulet, il le mit [passé simple] au four.
    Il avait acheté [plus-que-parfait] un poulet au marché et était [imparfait] en train de le préparer quand le téléphone sonna [passé simple].
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
  31. Fred_C

    Fred_C Senior Member

    France
    Français
    According to Keith’s explanations, because there is no conjunction (neither quand, nor dès que, nor après que)

    According to Keith’s explanations, no.
     

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