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Difference of using vouloir in the passé composé rather than the imparfait...

ThadB1Kwiziq community member

Difference of using vouloir in the passé composé rather than the imparfait...

Hi, I have a very similar question... with this example from the quiz...

Tu ________ me piéger mais ça n'a pas marché !

You wanted to trick me but it didn't work!HINT: Conjugate vouloir in Le Passé Composé (conversational past)I think I understand that the 'wanted' with vouloir is a one time 'wanting'...is that why we are using the passé composé? In my mind, I think of wanting as an undetermined amount of time as I don´t see a trigger for something specific. Could you help me understand this better? Perhaps I am still thinking in Spanish more than in French? Thanks so much!
Asked 1 week ago
MaartenB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Definitely not due to thinking in Spanish - I can't think/speak Spanish! Although the passé composé is correct in this example from the lesson (source: my French wife)  «J'ai toujours voulu visiter Paris.

I've always wanted to visit Paris.»  neither she nor I can convincingly explain how it is not imparfait - is it because it is considered a 'repetitive action' from the past, even though 'toujours' is used, and even though there is no evidence of whether it is still happening? 
AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Thad - I think this is similar to the examples in the lesson where voulu is translated as "tried". The action (i.e. wanting) can be considered complete because we know he failed.

Maarten - In your example, it's because it extends into the present. That's definitely implied by the English translation "I've always wanted to visit Paris". The present perfect in English is usually translated by the passé composé, even if the reverse is not true. On the other hand, "Je voulais toujours visiter Paris" = "I always wanted to visit Paris" or "I still wanted to visit Paris".

Difference of using vouloir in the passé composé rather than the imparfait...

Hi, I have a very similar question... with this example from the quiz...

Tu ________ me piéger mais ça n'a pas marché !

You wanted to trick me but it didn't work!HINT: Conjugate vouloir in Le Passé Composé (conversational past)I think I understand that the 'wanted' with vouloir is a one time 'wanting'...is that why we are using the passé composé? In my mind, I think of wanting as an undetermined amount of time as I don´t see a trigger for something specific. Could you help me understand this better? Perhaps I am still thinking in Spanish more than in French? Thanks so much!

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