FR: se sentir - passé composé / imparfait

nouvelleprof

New Member
English-USA
Is it ever possible to use se sentir au passé composé? Or is it more often à l'imparfait ?

For example: Il est parti très tôt parce que sa femme ne se sentait pas bien? Can I say ne s'est pas sentie bien? I'm thinking the first one is correct. But when would you say the second, if ever?

And also, if the wife is still not feeling well currently, can you say "Il est parti très tôt parce qu'elle ne se sent pas très bien"?

Merci
 
  • Oddmania

    Senior Member
    French
    Hi,

    You can use any verbs in any tenses (except for defective verbs). In your sentence, you need the Passé Composé + the Imparfait because first you have a 'foreground' action ("He left; he has gone home") and then a piece of background contextual information ("His wife wasn't feeling well").

    The Passé Composé would be appropriate if the action was a key one. For example, "Quand elle l'a vu, elle s'est sentie mal". It's not saying that she was feeling unwell when he happened to be passing by. It's saying that she saw him and suddenly that made her feel sick.

    Using the Passé Composé twice in a row in your sentence would be like using the Present Perfect several times in a row in English: "He has gone home because somebody has told him that his wife has felt unwell". That sounds really bizarre. You need to add a bit of dimension: He has done this because somebody told him that something was happening. Same thing in French.
    And also, if the wife is still not feeling well currently, can you say "Il est parti très tôt parce qu'elle ne se sent pas très bien"?
    Yes :tick:
     
    Last edited:

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    Il est parti très tôt parce que sa femme ne se sentait pas bien. → background information, continuous feeling
    Il est parti quand sa femme s'est sentie mal. → specific event

    For more details about the imparfait vs. passé composé, see the many threads adressing this topic. In particular, see FR: passé composé / imparfait.

    You need to add a bit of dimension: He has done this because somebody told him that something was happening.
    I wouldn't use the present perfect in that example: He did this because somebody told him
     

    1amateurdechopin

    Senior Member
    Polish, English
    What about in a diary entry? If I wanted to say "Today I felt depressed because my cat died", I would be inclined to use l'imparfait since it's an emotional state "Aujourd'hui je me sentais déprimé car mon chat est mort.". Or would passé composé work here as well?

    I'm not saying that I just felt depressed at the moment that my cat died, but throughout the day because my cat wasn't there anymore.
     

    olivier68

    Senior Member
    French Paris France
    Techniquement les deux temps sont possibles : "je me sentais" ou "je me suis senti(e?)".
    Vous pouvez aussi utiliser le simple verbe "déprimer" : "j'ai déprimé / je déprimais".

    La question est : l'êtes-vous encore ? Si vous utilisez l'imparfait, c'est que c'est une action passée, longue et continue. Si vous utilisez le passé composé, c'est plutôt une action courte, dans le passé.

    Dans ce cas très précis, il ne serait d'ailleurs pas inexact d'utiliser le présent : "Aujourd'hui, je déprime car mon chat est mort".

    RIP pour le chat.
     

    1amateurdechopin

    Senior Member
    Polish, English
    Merci pour cette explication! Oui, je crois que le présente marche mieux ici parce que l'émotion continue.

    Mais nb le chat est imaginaire, c'est-à-dire que cette situation est imaginaire car mes deux chats vont assez bien, bien qu'ils soient vieux :) . C'était juste un exemple auquel j'ai pensé.
     
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