FR: It was exclusively for high society

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by Fadedrose, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. Fadedrose Senior Member

    Bonjour tout le monde,

    I am not sure whether to use "était" or "a été" in this sentence, "La Côte d'Azur a été/était exclusivement pour l'haute bourgeoisie"?

    Merci x
  2. Oddmania

    Oddmania Senior Member


    What's the original English sentence, Fadedrose?
  3. Fadedrose Senior Member

    La Côte d'Azur was exclusively for the high society
  4. Oddmania

    Oddmania Senior Member

    Alright, then first off, you might want to use être exclusivement réservée à instead of être exclusivement pour, which sounds very poor in French. Secondly, try to think about the meaning you want to convey.

    Does the verb to be (was) express an on-going state, a piece of background information, or rather a one-off event?

    I thought he was dead. an on-going state (= I thought he was pushing up daisies → using a continuous tense might help you understand why it expresses an on-going state).
    He was caught. a one-off event (= He got caught).

    In your sentence, the verb to be not only expresses background information, but also a past habit (La Côte d'Azur used to be exclusively for...), thus the Imparfait tense is definitely the right one.
  5. janpol

    janpol Senior Member

    France - français
    Le contexte me semble insuffisant :
    La Côte d'Azur a longtemps été réservée à la haute bourgeoisie
    A cette époque-là, la Côte d'Azur était réservée à...
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  6. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland

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