'Ils ont été'

'Ils ont été'

In the example above this example seems a little misleading. Stated by itself, it seems as though it would be imparfait because it sounds to me that it could be describing a state of being in the past. Correct? In order to be passé composé wouldn't it have to describe an action with a clear ending? (after he canceled on them they were disappointed) ?
Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super star

Bonjour Clif,

The passé composé is also used when an action has a clear beginning. It's hard to make this distinction clear with "to be disappointed," so I'm going to use "to be sick" to show the difference:

J'étais malade = I was sick (for an unspecified period of time)

vs

J'été malade = I got sick (e.g., after eating some bad seafood)

So in the case of déçu, you need the imperfect when their disappointment is ongoing without a beginning *or* an ending, but the passé composé when they suddenly "got" disappointed because he cancelled on them.

Does that help?

Ok. Yes. That's the way I understand it lol. Like you said I think it was a little more challenging with that particular example. Thank you for clarifying.
EB1
Aurélie, In a response regarding passe compose and imparfait, you used "j'ete malade" to mean "I got sick (because of seafood). What tense is that?

'Ils ont été'

In the example above this example seems a little misleading. Stated by itself, it seems as though it would be imparfait because it sounds to me that it could be describing a state of being in the past. Correct? In order to be passé composé wouldn't it have to describe an action with a clear ending? (after he canceled on them they were disappointed) ?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Find your French level for FREE

Test your French to the CEFR standard

Find your French level >>
Ask a question
I'll be right with you...