How to use the recent past in French?


Do you know the recent past? Here is a new lesson to use it in French. The recent past is one the fourth French past tenses.

In a previous grammar lesson, you learned how to use the future in French with just the conjugation of verb aller (to go).

Then it is time for you to learn to describe what you just did or an event that just happened. To do that, you will use the recent past.

For instance, you may like to say: I’m going to eat. And after a few minutes, you could say: I just ate. Or generally, you could say I’m going to do something and then I just did something.

Like the use of the near future, the use of the recent past in French is quite easy. You just have to know the conjugation of the verb venir in present tense, then add the French preposition de, and then the verb in the infinitive form.

Here is an example with the verb faire (… just did something):

  • Je viens de … (faire quelque chose)
  • Tu viens de … (faire quelque chose)
  • Il vient de … (faire quelque chose)
  • Nous venons de … (faire quelque chose)
  • Vous venez de … (faire quelque chose)
  • Ils viennent de … (faire quelque chose)

To sum up, recent past: venir (present) + de + verb infinitive.

You can change the verb given in this example, with any action verb that you want to use. Now you know how to use the recent past in French.

In future articles, I will show you how to conjugate verbs in other French past tenses. You will see that another French past tense is as easy as this one.

photo rights: Paul L Dineen

How to easily conjugate verbs in French?

In this article, I’m going to share a website which will help you to conjugate any verb in French.

When I taught you the personal pronouns in French, I take the example of the verb faire (to do) conjugated in the present. When I taught you how to use the future, you learned the conjugation of the verb aller (to go) in the present.

Like in English, there are several tenses for each verb: the present, the future, the past etc… I don’t think I’m going to list all verbs in all the tenses on this blog. We will probably see together several verbs, used in several tenses, but it’s difficult to enumerate all the possibilities of verbs and tenses.

One of the reason is that there are some tenses that are useless in the oral form of French, so you can avoid to learn them in the first time.

If you have a doubt on some verb, you can use: Actually, I think the name of this service is a kind of joke, because the expression “va the faire” is the beginning of an insult in French. Don’t use this expression!

The website is very easy to use. You enter a verb, a list of most used verbs is available below, and you click on “Conjuguer”. The verb is then conjugated in all tenses. As the interface is in French, you know that this website can also be used by French people when the have some doubt on a verb.

Unfortunately, there is not the pronunciation for the results. If you are interested, I can tell you what is the pronunciation with Skype or in an audio file.

What verb you would like to learn and to know how to pronounce it ?
Tell me in a comment below so that I can help you.

How to simply use the future tense in French

In this article, I am going to show you that it’s quite easy to say something with the future tense in French.

As we saw the verb faire (to do) in the first grammar lesson about the personal pronouns, this verb is used in this article to show you how to say “I will do something“. By the way, something in French is quelque chose. You can use other verbs instead of faire.

The use of future tense

In French, there is a specific tense for the future. For instance, if you want to say I will do something, you can say je ferai quelque chose.

As you can see, there is not a simple way to use the future tense in French. There is no direct rule like it is the case in English with: will + bare infinitive.

For all verbs, the endings are -rai -ras -ra -rons -rez -ront that are used with the different personal pronouns.
For instance:

  • faire: je ferais
  • attendre: nous attendrons

But you can see that there is no rule between these conjugations.

The simplest way: use the near future

Actually, the verb to go is aller in French. As you use the expression to be going to do something, we can say in French aller faire quelque chose. You use the verb aller + infinitive.
When we speak, we use these form in general and not the future tense.

So you just have to know the conjugation of the verb aller in the present tense:

  • Je vais … (faire)
  • Tu vas … (faire)
  • Il / Elle va … (faire)
  • Nous allons … (faire)
  • Vous allez … (faire)
  • Ils / Elles vont … (faire)

Now you can conjugate French verbs very easly in the future tense in French.
What are the tenses you would like to learn?
Share them in a comment so that I can give you more details.

photo rights: gnews pics