FR: il était encadré

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by Let4It4Go, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. Let4It4Go New Member

    English, Chinese

    for the sentence "Chaque expulsé était encadré par un policier. Nous étions menottés", if I am not wrong, the english form should be "each 'expulsed' was surrounded by a police. We were handcuffed". Article is here: w w

    However, it appears that the past tense of both "encadrer" & "menotter" is in the form "avoir+verb". So I do not understand why "être+verb" is used in this article.

    Also, I did a rough search on the web, seems like "était encadré" and "avait encadré" are both used but the former is more common. Same for "menotter".

    This is so confusing. :confused: Please help. Thank you.
  2. moustic Senior Member

    near Limoges
    British English
    Both verbs are used in the passive here. In French (and English) the passive takes "être/be + past participle".
    ... était encadré -> was accompanied ... nous étions menottés -> we were handcuffed
  3. Oddmania

    Oddmania Senior Member


    Moustic is right indeed :thumbsup: I suggest you do a search on the web for the passive voice.

    Basically, "X était encadré par Y" = "Y encadrait X". Note that the Imparfait tense is being used in the passive voice (était encadré), so you need the Imparfait tense too in the active voice (encadrait).

    If the active version was Y avait encadré X, then the passive one would be X avait été encadré par Y. Basically, you always need an extra word in the passive voice. If one word is being used in the active voice (Y encadrait X), then you'll need two in the passive voice (X était encadré par Y).

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