FR: passé simple + plus-que-parfait / passé antérieur

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csx17

Senior Member
Portuguese
Can you set up an example of the passé antérieur. Is it used?

Moderator note: multiple threads merged to create this one.
 
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  • Callysto

    Senior Member
    French
    It is really hardly used... I can't even think of a example right now..

    Edit : found an example
    "Dès qu'elle eut vérifié la grammaire, elle donna un exemple." (as soon as she had checked on the grammar, she gave an example... )
    Passé antérieur is for the action before the action written in simple past.
     
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    csx17

    Senior Member
    Portuguese
    Thank you very much for the explanation.
    I think le Passé Anterieur corresponds to this:

    I had visited Miami before I visited New York.
    The action that happened in first place must be used in the Passé Anterieur?
     

    Daremo

    Senior Member
    French
    It is indeed most of the time used in writing, you can speak using this tense but you will be said to be snobbish.
     
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    Donaldos

    Senior Member
    French - France
    That's right. Almost never used in speech.
     
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    geostan

    Senior Member
    English Canada
    The passé antérieur is the equivalent of the plus-que-parfait when the main verb is in the passé simple. As such, it is usually literary in nature, although some politicians might use it in a highly formal speech.

    Cheers!
     

    janpol

    Senior Member
    France - français
    Si le passé simple n'est pas utilisé à l'oral et si le passé antérieur n'apparaît qu'en corellation avec ce temps, il est logique qu'il ne soit guère utlisé qu'à l'écrit. Ceci dit, il n'est pas plus difficile à utiliser qu'un autre temps et l' on peut voir une belle rigueur logique dans l'utilisation, dans une phrase, d'un temps simple et, exprimant l'antériorité, dans celle du temps composé correspondant.
     
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    Fred_C

    Senior Member
    Français
    Oui, mais le passé antérieur peut aussi être utilisé en corélation avec le passé composé :
    "Dès qu'elle eut vérifié la grammaire, elle a donné un exemple".
    Dans le langage moderne, on dira :
    "Dès qu'elle a vérifié la grammaire, elle a donné un exemple", ce qui n'est pas vraiment juste au niveau de la concordance des temps.
    Pour rétablir la concordance des temps, on pourra dire :
    "Dès qu'elle a eu vérifié la grammaire, elle a donné un exemple", ce qui est juste au niveau de la concordance des temps, mais utilise un barbarisme morphologique : l'usage du passé "surcomposé", qui utilise l'auxiliaire "avoir" au passé composé.
     

    xaipete

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    If the bulk of the narrative is in the passé simple, do I use the plus-que-parfait or the passé antérieur to express earlier events?
    I am translating an autobiography, using the passé simple. There are many passages like "I had never seen anything like it", "I had forgotten what my grandfather said", and the like. I've been cheerfully putting these in the passé antérieur ("j'eus oublié la parole de mon grand-père"). But now I'm reading something that says the passé antérieur is used only in clauses introduced by "après que", "aussitôt que", and a few others. The same text seems to contradict itself in saying "the passé antérieur is used with the passé simple as the plus-que-parfait is used with the passé composé."
    Do I use passé antérieur with that handful of time-related conjunctions, and plus-que-parfait otherwise?
     
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    tilt

    Senior Member
    French French
    Passé antérieur sounds very literary to me, and I'd try to avoid it.
    Moreover, it is probably true that it should show only in some kinds of clauses. I can't remember I ever learnt such a rule, but it makes sense to me.

    In my opinion, you can use plus que parfait with passé simple just like with passé composé: Il partit car il avait fini.
     

    nayyan

    Senior Member
    French
    "I had never seen anything like it",
    = je n'avais jamais rien vu de tel.
    "I had forgotten what my grandfather said"
    = j'avais oublié ce que mon grand-père (me) disait.

    DO NOT use "j'eus oublié la parole mon grand-père" !!

    Le passé antérieur exprime un fait passé, par rapport à une autre exprimée au passé simple. Peu importe le temps écoulé entre les deux faits, mais souvent ils se succèdent :
    - Dès que la sirène eut sonné, les ouvriers quittèrent l'usine. (L'action de la sirène est antérieure à l'action des ouvriers qui s'en vont).

    But I am really doubtful that a book entirely written in the French "Passé antérieur" would attract many french readers !
     

    mrs.dengler

    Member
    England, English
    Hi
    I'm writing a short story in French, and most of it is in the passé simple. But there's a long passage (about a page or so) that talks about what happened to the main character before we meet him- about where he grew up etc. Should I use the passé antérieur? It's things like he had grown up here, he had gone to school, then he had left home etc.
     

    La Canadienne-française

    New Member
    Français
    Bonjour!

    Pour ma part, j'utiliserais le plus-que-parfait.
    Par exemple:

    Il en vint à se remémorer son passé. Il avait été un brillant journaliste et avait connu un certain succès jusqu'à ce fameux entretien...
     

    janpol

    Senior Member
    France - français
    L'emploi du PA en relation avec le PS est envisageable aussi :
    Après qu'il eut été durant des années un brillant journaliste et qu'il eut connu un certain succès, il eut, un jour, un entretien...
     

    mrs.dengler

    Member
    England, English
    ah merci...mais je ne comprends pas exactement...le plus-que-parfait exprime le meme chose que le passé antérieur, sauf que le passé antérieur s'emploie dans les contextes littéraires ou historiques, n'est-ce pas?
     

    janpol

    Senior Member
    France - français
    Ils expriment l'antériorité, le passé antérieur en rapport avec le passé simple (quand il eut fini...., il partit), le PQP en rapport avec l'imparfait (il portait un pull-over que sa mère avait tricoté)
     

    anastasialapersonne

    New Member
    English
    This sentence is taken from a narrative in the passé simple. I want to indicate that this had been going on before. Should I use the passé antérieur?

    "The spouses fought frequently, and when my aunt couldn't tolerate him anymore, she banished him from the house."


    --> "Les maris eurent se disputé fréquemment, et quand ma tante n’eut le supporté pas plus, elle eut le banni de la maison."
     
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    jann

    co-mod'
    English - USA
    Without context, it is very difficult to understand why you would want to use the passé antérieur in this sentence when a combination of imparfait and passé simple covers all your needs. :confused: The passé antérieur is rather literary and we don't need it very often.

    If you really wanted to, you use the passé antérieur for the verb bannir, because the banishing was a one-time event. But habits (arguing) and states of mind (not tolerating) are expressed in the imparfait, even if they happened before other past events.

    […]

    PS. The passé antérieur is no different from any other compound tense when it comes to pronoun placement and choice of the auxiliary! Ils eurent se disputé :cross: --> Ils se furent disputés // Elle eut le banni :cross: --> elle l'eut banni
     
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    beaujohn

    Banned
    English
    I can't find a thread on Wordreference.com explaining the difference between the plus-que-parfait and the passé anterieure.
    Could someone explain it to me, or direct me to a thread?
    Thanks!
    ~ beau
     

    Ellea1

    Senior Member
    Southern French
    Hi,

    Plus-que-parfait = The past perfect tense refers to something completed futher back in the past than some other past action. Examples : J'avais parlé, j'étais allé. (auxiliary verbs 'être' or 'avoir' in the imperfect) + past participle

    Passé antérieur = Ditto, only it is conjugated differently, and it is only for reading. Examples j'eus fini, je fus parti. Auxiliary verbs 'être' or 'avoir' in the simple past (passé simple) + past participle.
     
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    Wordylady

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I think they both do the same thing, in that they both express an action that happened before a more recent action in the past.

    But the plus-que-parfait is used in everyday language and the passé anterieure is just used in written texts, in literature.

    Plus-que-parfait is constructed with the auxiliary verb (avoir or etre) in the imperfect + the past participle
    J'avais fini

    Passé anterieure is constructed with the auxiliary verb (avoir or etre) in the simple past (passé simple) + the past participle
    J'eus fini

    Someone more knowledgable on these things can probably give you a better definition than that though.
     
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    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    You want a short answer? Forget the passé antérieur and stick to the plus-que-parfait.

    For the long answer, here's what my grammar book says:

    (i) The pluperfect is used in French as in English, e.g.:
    - Je croyais qu'il avait terminé son travail
    - I thought that he had finished his work.

    (ii) The past anterior... is practically unknown in conversation. It is a literary form used principally:
    (a) with temporal conjunctions, such as quand, lorsque, dès que... to indicate that one thing happened immediately after something else had happened, e.g.:
    - Dès qu'ils eurent mis le nez dehors, l'orage éclata
    - The storm burst the instant they put their noses outside.
    (b) Occasionally in a main clause ... to express the speed with which something happened, e.g.:
    - Ils eurent rejoint la chasse en un instant (Mérimée)
    - In a moment they had caught up with the hunt.
     

    Wordylady

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Found this explanation which might help too:

    The French past anterior (passé antérieur) is the literary equivalent of the past perfect (plus-que-parfait). It is used in literature and historical accounts to indicate an action in the past that occurred before another action in the past. Because it is a literary tense, you don't need to practise conjugating it, but it is important for you to be able to recognise it.
     

    soul2soul

    Senior Member
    hindi
    In the following sentence

    Quand il eut diné, il fit une partie de cartes. Il était arrivé à 17 h et avait pris l'apéritif en attendant,

    why is PQP used in the 2nd sentence? Is it ok to replace the PQP with PA?

    ex - Il fut arrivé à 17 h et eut pris l'apéritif en attendant.

    Thank you.
     
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    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    To describe circumstances in the past, the imparfait is used, not the passé composé or the passé simple. Likewise, to describe circumstances in an earlier past, the plus-que-parfait is used instead of the passé antérieur.
     

    soul2soul

    Senior Member
    hindi
    Ah! Finally I have the answer to my question! Thank you!
    So is it safe (& correct) to say that the PA is used "in combination" with the PS, usually with expectations like, "lorsque", "quand" etc, else PQP is used to describe isolated, independant circumstances in the past?
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    That's about it, but I'd rather put it this way:

    The passé antérieur is literary and is used almost exclusively in correlation with the passé simple, typically after quand, lorsque, etc., while the plus-que-parfait is common and is typically used in correlation with the passé composé or passé simple. Anyway, the plus-que-parfait and imparfait are usually used in a different clause within the same sentence like the passé antérieur, but it is also possible to have them in a separate sentence.

    Quand il eut fini [passé antérieur] de préparer le poulet, il le mit [passé simple] au four.
    Il avait acheté [plus-que-parfait] un poulet au marché et était [imparfait] en train de le préparer quand le téléphone sonna [passé simple].
     
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    Fred_C

    Senior Member
    Français
    In the following sentence
    <<Quand il eut diné, il fit une partie de cartes. Il était arrivé à 17 h et avait pris l'apéritif en attendant>>,
    why is PQP used in the 2nd sentence?
    According to Keith’s explanations, because there is no conjunction (neither quand, nor dès que, nor après que)

    Is it ok to replace the PQP with PA?
    According to Keith’s explanations, no.
     

    Donkeydude40

    Member
    English - UK
    Bonjour à tous!

    Je faisais un exercice dans lequel il faut conjuguer les verbes d'un petit texte, c'est une histoire dans le passé qui commence "Nous nous mîmes en route" donc je sais qu'il faut utiliser le passé simple, pas de souci là. Cependant, quand j'ai corrigé l'exercice, où j'avais mis "se fut écroulée" selon mon livre la réponse est "s'était écroulée". ma question, c'est est-ce que les deux sont possibles, ou s'agit-il d'une règle que je ne connais pas? :) Je vous donne le contexte de mon exemple:

    "Nous nous mîmes en route. Lorsque nous arrivâmes devant l'église abandonnée, le jour tombait. La toiture S'ÉTAIT/SE FUT ÉCROULÉE il y a des années déjà et un énorme sycomore AVAIT POUSSÉ à l'ancien emplacement de l'école.

    En fait je vois qu'il y a deux exemples du choix entre passé antérieur/plus-que-parfait.

    Merci en avance pour avoir pris le temps de m'aider!
     

    geostan

    Senior Member
    English Canada
    J'aurais mis le plus-que-parfait. Je réserve le passé antérieur pour les subordonnées temporelles (quand, dès que après que..., etc.) ou les principales avec des mots comme à peine, bientôt, vite.
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    Le passé antérieur ne s'emploie guère qu'en corrélation directe avec le passé simple, donc dans la même phrase. Or dans votre phrase, il n'y a aucun passé simple. Le corrigé de votre exercice est donc correct : il faut le plus-que-parfait dans ce cas.

    La toiture s'était écroulée… et un énorme sycomore avait poussé
     

    MmefrancaisRES

    Member
    English - Canada
    I'm trying to use the literary old style writing involving the passé anterieur, passé simple, etc.
    The context of the phrases in total is "the wind that had howled during the day, that had made the waves crash on the rocky beach, has settled ..."

    I feel like it should be " Le vent qui eut hurlé dans la journée, qui eut fait les vagues se briser à la plage rocheuse, s'apaisa..."
    but I was wondering if I have structured the verbs in the correct tenses and placements around "les vagues"?

    Merci en avance
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    I'm afraid the passé antérieur is inappropriate in your context, even in a literary style. You must use the plus-que-parfait instead. By the way, your use of the present perfect "has settled" is unexpected. Did you intend to use the simple past "settled" or the pluperfect "had settled"? What is the time frame of that event? Does it refer to the present or to a past event?

    Le vent qui avait hurlé pendant la journée, qui avait fait se briser les vagues sur la plage rocheuse, s'apaisa/s'était appaisé.

    […]
     
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    MmefrancaisRES

    Member
    English - Canada
    Thank you!!! Yes, I believe the pluperfect "had settled" makes more sense. ( I am describing my last recollection of this island therefore i would assume it would be all in the past.)
    Also, I am confused with the PQP vs. passé antérieur, I thought when several actions occur in the past, the most recent uses Passé simple, and the ones that happened before this would be passé antérieur. (ex. the wind was howling, and crashing the waves BEFORE it "died down"?)
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    Even in English you don't need to indicate the sequence of events by different tenses:

    The wind that had howled during the day, that had made the waves crash on the rocky beach, had settled.

    The same is true in French:

    Le vent qui avait hurlé pendant la journée, qui avait fait se briser les vagues sur la plage rocheuse, s'était appaisé.


    Anyway, to make it simple, the passé antérieur is mainly used with temporal clauses introduced by quand, lorsque, or dès que, and almost never otherwise, in which case the pluperfect is typically used to indicate anteriority.
     

    coloboc66

    Senior Member
    Russian - Belarus
    Why may not I use here the Indicatif Passé antérieur:
    --------------
    Nous eûmes fini de manger quand elle est rentrée.
    We had finished our meal when she came home.
    --------------
    What difference?
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    The passé antérieur is typically only used in conjunction with the passé simple. It is therefore odd to use it with the passé composé in your example. The natural way to say it is to use the plus-que-parfait:

    Nous avions fini de manger quand elle est rentrée.
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    Using that tense together with the passé simple is no guarantee that it is appropriate, even in a literary context. I would indeed strongly prefer the pluperfect in coloboc66's sample sentence. The passé antérieur is however perfectly natural – in a literary context – when used in a temporal clause introduced by quand/lorsque/après que, etc.

    Quand nous eûmes fini de manger, nous sortîmes prendre l'air.
     

    coloboc66

    Senior Member
    Russian - Belarus
    So we should use:
    the Indicatif Plus-que-parfait - with the Indicatif Passé composé
    and
    the Indicatif Passé antérieur - with the Indicatif passé simple
    Right?
     

    kdm2580

    New Member
    English - UK
    Hello ! I am trying to translate the following sentence from English to French and am not sure whether to opt for the passé antérieur or the plus-que parfait. The sentence is as follows:

    They tried, to begin with, St Briac-sur-Mer, which had been recommended to them in Paris.

    And my attempt is:

    Ils commencèrent par essayer St-Briac-sur-Mer, que l'on leur eut recommandé à Paris.

    I am not sure whether the use of the passé antérieur is suitable here, as I read that it is usually only used with conjunctions of time. But as the action of recommending took place before the action of starting (which took place in the passé simple) I thought it might work? Thank you so much in advance for any advice; I would be so grateful for any insight.
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    Here you need the plus-que-parfait. The passé antérieur doesn't work because, as you suggested, there is no temporal clause introduced with a conjunction (e.g., quand, lorsque).

    Ils essayèrent d'abord St Briac-sur-Mer qu'on leur avait recommandé à Paris.
     

    Lessuh

    New Member
    English
    So it looks like this is an old thread, but I thought I’d share what I’ve found.

    Plus-que-parfait is used in modern French anywhere passé antérieur had been employed when not using passé simple, and I often see novels otherwise mostly written in passé simple failing to use the passé antérieur where appropriate and simply using plus-que-parfait instead.

    That said, if you understand the ordinary differences between passé simple and imparfait, the same sort of logic applies to the passé antérieur and the plus-que-parfait. The passé antérieur describes a completed event that occurred at a defined moment in time (perfect aspect), before another event in the past; whereas the plus-que-parfait describes an event that lasted in time (imperfect aspect), before another event in the past.

    “Il avait fait très chaud avant que la nuit ne tombât.”
    (It had been quite hot before night fell.)


    Here, it was hot for a duration of time before the night fell. For the same reason you’d say “il faisait chaud,” and not “il fit chaud” (or “il a fait chaud in modern French), you use the imparfait for the auxiliary (avait) to make the plus-que-parfait.


    “J’eus déjà dîné quand il m’invita.”
    (I had already had dinner when he invited me.)


    Here, the action of having had dinner refers to a specific, completed action that occurred in the past (perfect aspect), so you use the passé simple for the auxiliary (eus) to make the passé antérieur.

    If you are to write with the passé simple, these rules should be respected. Do realize, however, that it is completely correct to just write with the passé composé and opt to only use the plus-que-parfait.
     
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    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    [The passé simple] can be found in literature, however its modern use is somewhat artificial, and much like the imperfect subjunctive, even the best authors make mistakes in employing it.
    I beg to disagree. Unlike the imperfect subjunctive, which is indeed dated nowadays even in literature, the passé simple is still very common in novels or similar writings. Anyway, this thread is not meant to discuss the use of the passé simple. (For that topic, see FR: passé simple - past historic tense.) This thread is meant to discuss the choice between plus-que-parfait and passé antérieur when used with the passé simple.

    Likewise, plus-que-parfait is now used in modern French anywhere passé antérieur had been employed
    I'm afraid this is incorrect. You cannot always replace the passé antérieur with the plus-que-parfait. Sometimes the plus-que-parfait is out of the question and the passé antérieur is replaced with the passé composé or surcomposé. But then you normally also need to change the tense of the main verb from the passé simple to the passé composé.

    Example:
    Quand il eut terminé son repas, il alla prendre une douche. (common in literary writing)
    Quand il avait terminé son repas, il alla prendre une douche. :thumbsdown: (The plus-que-parfait wrongly suggests it was a habit, which is incompatible with the passé simple.)
    Quand il termina son repas, il alla prendre une douche. (This suggests he took a shower right away after finishing his meal.)
    Quand il a (eu) terminé son repas, il est allé prendre une douche. (You need to change the tense of the main verb; it cannot remain in the passé simple.)

    The passé antérieur describes a completed event that occurred at a precise moment in time, before another event in the past; whereas the plus-que-parfait describes an event that lasted in time sometime before an event in the past.
    The passé antérieur usually describes a completed event that occurred at a precise moment in time, but not always.

    Example: En l'espace de trois mois il eut dilapidé toute la fortune de sa femme. In this case the passé antérieur indicates completion.

    Likewise, the plus-que-parfait doesn't necessarily describe lasting events. It can also describe events occurring at a precise moment.

    Examples:
    Il avait pris son repas avant d'aller prendre une douche.
    Quand il avait terminé son repas, il allait prendre une douche
    . (habit)



    Il avait fait très chaud avant que la nuit ne tombât/tombe. :thumbsup: The plus-que-parfait is appropriate here. Please however note that avant que requires the subjunctive. The passé simple is therefore out of the question.

    J'eus déjà dîné quand il m'invita. :thumbsdown: As you are describing a state, the plus-que-parfait should be used here. Moreover, the passé antérieur is typically used in the temporal clause, not in the main clause.

    J'avais déjà dîné quand il m'invita.
    Quand j'eus dîné, il m'invita.
     
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