Passé-composé (part 2)


LE PASSÉ-COMPOSÉ, accord et négation

In the previous video, we have seen that the passé-composé has two auxiliaries: ETRE and AVOIR.
Certain verbs use ETRE, the rest is conjugated with AVOIR.

Ans that after the auxiliairy there is a participe-passé (past particile)
(If you do not understand this, I advise you to watch my previous video, https://elsafrenchteacher.com/french_passe_compose/.)

Today I am going to tell you about something special: the agreement of the participe-passé with the subject according to the auxiliary.

Do not go! I know it sounds very complicated but I will explain it in a very simple way, wait and see.

1.    Participe-passé and AVOIR auxiliary

First of all, when you have the auxiliary AVOIR you can remember that the participle-past does not change.
For example, if you conjugate the verb PRENDRE in the passé-composé, it will be:

J’ai pris le bus.
I took the bus

Tu as pris le train.

Il a pris son vélo.

Nous avons pris l’avion.

Vous avez pris le métro.

Elles ont pris le tram.

You notice that the auxiliary “pris” does not change. It remains the same even if the subject changes. It works like that with the auxiliary AVOIR.
You can imagine that if I tell you this, it is because with the auxiliary ETRE it’s different 😊

2.    Participe-passé and ETRE et auxiliary

When we use the auxiliary ETRE, that is to say with certain verbs only (if you do not know what are these verbs watch my previous video) … so with these verbs the participe-passé must agree with the subject!

Par exemple, on écrira :

Il est monté dans le bus
He got on the bus

Elle est montée dans le bus

Ils sont montés dans le bus.

Elles sont montées dans le bus.

  • We add an “e” at the end of the participle when the subject is a woman.
  • We add an “s” when the subject is plural.
  • We add an “e” and an “s” when the subject and feminine plural.

This is because we have the auxiliary ETRE, and it’s like that with all the verbs that use this auxiliary.

For example : Elle est descendue du bus et elle s’est promenée dans la ville.
She got off the bus and she walked around the city.

You are going to tell me that it is a detail of the writing because when we speak, we do not hear the difference between « il est descendu » et « elle est descendue. »
That’s right. However, sometimes we hear the difference for some verbs:

Il est mort / elle est morte
He/She died

Il s’est inscrit / elle s’est inscrite
He/She enrolled, registered

We hear a difference in the feminine form because we add an “e” after a consonant so we have to pronounce this consonant.
But this is very rare, so for now you can memorize that this rule is especially useful when you write (and in the passive form but it is another lesson).
Voilà! I hope you have understood the difference in the agreement of the two auxiliaries.
I would like to finish with a rule I did not speak about last time, it is the position of the negation with the passé-composé.

3.     Négation au passé-composé

You know that in the present the negation surrounds the verb.

Par exemple : Elle ne prend pas le bus quand elle va au musée.
She does not take the bus when she goes to the museum.

In the past tense, the negation surrounds the auxiliary.

Elle n’a pas pris le train pour aller au musée.
She did not take the train to the museum.

The auxiliary is after the negation.
There is an apostrophe in front of the auxiliary because it starts with a vowel. It’s the same with ETRE.

Elle n’est pas allée au théâtre aujourd’hui.
She did not go to the theater today.

When there is no vowel, there is no apostrophe:

Nous ne sommes pas allés au concert.
We did not go to the concert.

Voilà! The lesson is finished, I hope you enjoyed it!
A bientôt 😊