FR: Les ambulances évacuent les nombreux blessés - temps


New Member

Below in the sentence,

Les ambulances, elles, évacuent les nombreux blessés mais pour beaucoup il est déjà trop tard.

English translation : Ambulances evacuated many wounded people but it was already too late for a lot of them.

My question is , The verb ‘ évacuent ‘, from conjugation, it is either 3e personne du pluriel du présent du subjonctif OR

3e personne du pluriel du présent de l'indicatif

But from the English translation, it looks like past tense. So I am confused. Could anyone let me know what is the tense for the verb “évacuent “ ?
Merci à tous.
  • Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    Hello Adela26 and welcome to the forums! :)

    The verb évacuent is conjugated in the present indicative. There is no reason it should be in the subjunctive.

    In the English translation, the verb is, however, conjugated in the simple past as you noted.

    I suspect the present in French is an example of historical present. But you need to provide more context if you want a definitive answer. Is the sentence talking about the present or the past? Where did you read it? What is the full context?

    Anyway, for more details about the historical present, see FR: présent historique/littéraire/de narration - historical/literary/narrative present.


    New Member
    Thank you Maître,

    I am reading an article which describes the historical event. The full context is very long, the topic is Attentat du Quatorze Juillet,

    I post one paragraphs here, there are several verbs are conjugated in the present indicative, but In the English translation, conjugated in the simple past. That is why I am confused.

    "Les ambulances, elles, évacuent les nombreux blessés mais pour beaucoup il est déjà trop tard. De nombreuses personnes restent assises, l’air hagard, auprès d’un proche décédé. Le ministre de l’Intérieur, Bernard Cazeneuve, s’est rendu sur place dans la soirée."

    Merci !


    New Member
    Hi, Maître
    I read previous post that you send to me about “literary present “
    it seems that “literary present” that can also be used to tell a past story and whose goal is to make the story more living and current.”.
    Ok, I understand now. Merci !:)


    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    The historical present is used in English much less often than in French. Usually a French historical present verb is translated into an English simple past verb.