French to English autrefois

Dictionary entry: autrefois


English - USA
Rather than using a time marker, the modal verb phrase "used to (verb)" can often work in the place of 'autrefois', and may sound more natural than "in the past", or "once".
  • DrD

    Senior Member
    Dictionary Editor
    England English

    Thank you for your message, but as autrefois is often used with the imperfect tense, which itself is often translated with 'used to', I think you may be advocating not including it in the translation at all. I don't necessarily think you are wrong, but I think that's a case-by-case translation decision rather than a good dictionary translation for the word itself. In most cases, I think there is some version of 'once' or 'in the past' that can work (but I also think we'd often used them at a different point in the sentence. I've made some changes to the sentence translations to make them sound more natural. You'll see those changes next time the dictionary is updated).