French Grammar: Passé Composé with AVOIR – Regular ER/IR/RE Verbs

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French Grammar: Passé Composé with AVOIR – Regular ER/IR/RE Verbs
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Identify:

French Grammar: Passé Composé with AVOIR – Regular ER/IR/RE Verbs
la grammaire française: le passé compose avec AVOIR – les verbes en ER/IR/RE réguliers

When speaking about the past in English, you choose which past tense to use depending on the context and the meaning you wish to convey. In French sentences, you choose which past tense you use depending only on the meaning you wish to convey.

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When speaking about the past in English, you choose which past tense to use depending on the context and the meaning you wish to convey. In French sentences, you choose which past tense you use depending only on the meaning you wish to convey.

The Passé Composé (Past Tense) is the most common past tense in French.  It is used to express an action or event (or a series of actions or events) completed in the past.  The Passé Composé (Past Tense) is used in the following instances:

1. With completed actions in the past:

J’ai étudié la leçon déjà.
I studied the lesson already.

2. With a series of events or actions completed in the past:

La semaine passée, je suis allé en Floride, j’ai nagé dans l’océan et j’ai beaucoup dormi.
Last week I went to Florida, I swam in the ocean, and I slept a lot.

3. With key words associated with past time (hier, avant-hier, hier soir, une fois, tout à coup…)

Hier soir j’ai dansé avec mon mari.
Last night, I danced with my husband.

The literal translation of “Passé Composé is “compound past”, and it is called this because the verb form is composed of two parts:

(1) the present tense of the auxiliary (or “helper”) verb.
(2) the past participle of the main verb (i.e., the verb that conveys the true meaning).

For the majority of French verbs, the Passé Composé is formed with the auxiliary (“helper”) verb AVOIR.  See the lessons on Passé Composé with ÊTRE to learn more about French verbs that form the Passé Composé with the auxiliary (“helper”) verb être.

The past participle is the form of the verb that is equivalent to  -ed  in English.  (For example: played, finished, waited)

To form the past participle of regular French –ER verbs, we have to drop the infinitive –ER ending and replace it with –É :

jouer -> joué
to play -> played

To form the past participle of regular French –IR verbs, we have to drop the infinitive –IR ending and replace it with –I :

finir -> fini
to finish -> finished

To form the past participle of regular French –RE verbs, we have to drop the infinitive –RE ending and replace it with –U :

attendre -> attendu
to wait -> waited

The Passé Composé has three possible English translations. For example, j’ai joué can mean:

I played (simple past)
I have played (present perfect)
I did play (past emphatic)

The Passé Composé consists of three parts:

SUBJECT +
PRESENT TENSE OF AUXILIARY VERB “AVOIR” +
PAST PARTICIPLE OF MAIN VERB

-ER verb JOUER :

Je + ai + joué  = J’ai joué
I played / I have played / I did play

-IR verb FINIR :

Je + ai + fini = J’ai fini
I finished / I have finished / I did finish

-RE verb ATTENDRE :

Je + ai + attendu = J’ai attendu
I waited / I have waited / I did wait

Here are the full conjugations for regular -ER/-IR/-RE verbs with AVOIR in the Passé Composé (Past Tense) :

Regular -ER Verbs
Subject Auxiliary Verb “AVOIR” Past Participle Ending
j’ ai – é
tu as – é
il/elle/on
a – é
nous avons – é
vous avez – é
ils/elles ont – é

Regular -IR Verbs
Subject Auxiliary Verb “AVOIR” Past Participle Ending
j’ ai – i
tu as – i
il/elle/on
a – i
nous avons – i
vous avez – i
ils/elles ont – i

Regular -RE Verbs
Subject Auxiliary Verb “AVOIR” Past Participle Ending
j’ ai – u
tu as – u
il/elle/on
a – u
nous avons – u
vous avez – u
ils/elles ont – u

Here are some common -ER verbs that are regular in the passé composé (past) tense!

AIDER : to help

J’ai aidé ma mère.
I helped my mother.

CHANTER : to sing

Il a chanté dans la douche.
He sang in the shower.

ENSEIGNER : to teach

Tu as enseigné la classe déjà?
You (informal) taught the class already?

ÉTUDIER : to study

Elle a étudié toute la nuit.
She studied all night.

PRÉPARER : to prepare

Nous avons préparé un grand dîner.
We prepared a big dinner.

Here are some common -IR verbs that are regular in the passé composé (past) tense!

APPLAUDIR : to applaud / to clap

Le public a applaudi après le concert.
The audience applauded after the concert.

BÂTIR: to build

Nous avons bâti notre maison nous-mêmes.
We built our house ourselves.

CHOISIR: to choose

Vous avez choisi un boisson et un dessert.
You (formal) chose a beverage and a dessert.

FINIR: to finish

Ils ont fini leurs devoirs?
Have they (masculine or mixed group) finished their homework?

REMPLIR: to fill / to fill out

J’ai rempli le formulaire d’inscription.
I filled out the application form.

Here are some common -RE verbs that are regular in the passé composé (past) tense!

ATTENDRE: to wait

Nous avons attendu longtemps.
We waited for a long time.

ENTENDRE: to hear

J’ai entendu beaucoup de bruit dans la rue.
I heard a lot of noise in the street.

PERDRE: to lose

Il a perdu ses clés!
He lost his keys!

RÉPONDRE (À) : to answer / to respond

Les étudiants ont répondu au professeur.
The students answered the professor.

VENDRE: to sell

Tu as vendu tes livres à la fin du semestre?
Did you (familiar) sell your books at the end of the semester?

And there are many more!

Adapt:

Avec qui avez-vous parlé hier?
Who did you (formal) speak with yesterday?

Hier j’ai parlé avec mon voisin.
Yesterday I spoke with my neighbor (masculine).

Ils ont fini leurs devoirs?
Did they (masculine or mixed group) finish their homework?

Oui, ils ont fini leurs devoirs.
Yes, they (masculine or mixed group) have finished their homework.

Tu as entendu le téléphone sonner?
Did you hear the phone ring?

Oui, j’ai entendu le téléphone sonner.
Yes, I heard the phone ring.

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