FR: The results in France were unexpected - past historic


Senior Member
England, English
I've had a bit of a blank...can you use the past historic in spoken French? I'm doing a presentation on France's attitude to the European this sentence OK to use:

Les résultats en France furent inattendus et par conséquent, la ratification de la Constitution Européenne est actuellement en suspens.

(The results in France were unexpected, and as a result the ratification of the European Constitution is currently on hold)

  • Agnès E.

    Senior Member
    France, French
    It is perfect in this context, Becky. :thumbsup:
    But I doubt that it could fit in an everyday chat about clothes, work, weather...


    Senior Member
    English, England
    The past historic is only used in written French. And normally only in literature rather than texts about the European Constitution. I would use "étaient inattendus" here.

    Kind regards,



    Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
    French (lower Normandy)
    In real spoken French, we don't use the past historic much (or maybe just for fun :p ). But if you're doing an exam, reading an 'exposé', you can use it.
    In your example, I don't really like the sound of it. Maybe because you have a past historic (no link with now) and just after, you have a present tense, which sounds really strange (though it's the case in English). But I guess my ears are far too sensitive anf unfortunately my brain can't think of any rational explanation. :eek: Actually, I couldn't think of another way to say it, I'm afraid. Maybe le passé composé would sound more natural.
    Waiting for other opinions...


    Senior Member
    Brittany - french
    "The past historic is only used in written French"

    It is still used in some french dialects.
    For instance, in Eastern Brittany.

    (But all french dialects are now headed for extinction).


    Senior Member
    Yes! I agree totally with Agnès, it is absolutely perfect in this context. Well done Becky! :thumbsup:

    Bernik, through we may have quite few differences, but from the sud-ouest to sud-est, it is still used apparantly as well... ;)