Distinguishing between recent and distant past

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Senior Member
UK- English/Spanish
This is my first post in this forum so I thought I'd say "hi"!

I have a question which maybe seems a little simple but I've been wondering for a while now-- is there no way in which the French language can distinguish between events that have recently happened and events that happened a long time ago? For example, I was writing a letter once and in which I included the sentence "Ma grand-mère a eu une crise cardiaque" meaning 'My grandmother had a heart attack.' However, couldn't this tense also be interpreted as "My grandmother has had a heart attack"--> ie, she's just been rushed into hospital? Is there no way to distinguish between the two?

If anyone could explain to me then that'd be great- thanks in advance!
  • OlivierG

    Senior Member
    France / Français
    The context helps.
    "Ma grand-mêre a eu une crise cardiaque il y a dix ans" happened a long time ago, but "Ma grand-mêre a eu une crise cardiaque la semaine dernière" is recent past :)
    However, the use of the expression "vient d'avoir" always express recent past:
    "Ma grand-mêre vient d'avoir une crise cardiaque" is (very) recent past.
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