Les festivités commençaient

LorieC1Kwiziq community member

Les festivités commençaient

Since the beginning of the festivities is a precise and limited event, I thought this would use passe compose "ont commencees." Can someone help me understand why this is imperfait?

And the last sentence: J'ai toujour trouve ca magique," I had thought this would be imparfait since it's ongoing and indefinite.

Asked 9 months ago
CélineKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Lorie,

 Thank you for your question. I am very sorry it wasn’t answered quicker.

1. “les festivités commençaient avec …” is in L’ Imparfait because it is used here to describe. It is giving a setting, an atmosphere.

Les festivités commençaient = stating the fact that the action started but it is                                                                                                   ongoing

Les festivités ont commencé = referring to a past action (as a single event)                                                                                  with a clear timeframe

Il faisait beau hier matin = stating the fact that the action started but it is                                                                                                       ongoing

Il a fait beau hier matin = referring to a past action (as a single event) with a                                                                                     clear timeframe

 

See link here: Le-passe-compose-usage-on-its-own-or-with-l-imparfait

 

2. “J’ai toujours trouvé ça magique” is in Le Passé Composé because it refers to an past action that still has value in the present time. The person still thinks it is magical which is reinforced by the use of ‘toujours’ (= still).

J’ai lu un livre → j’ai [maintenant] lu un livre → you are now in the situation of                                                                      ‘having read a book’

 

I hope this is helpful.

Bonne journée!

JimC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Had it been written   --  "At the beginning......." then I would agree with you about using the perfect tense.

But it is expressing "since the beginning...." which to my mind does not tell me that it is a completed action, more an action that has started and is ongoing therefore l’imparfait.

Sorry but I cannot comment about your other query  --  I haven't read the text that you are referring to.

Hope this helps.

Alan (Jim)

Les festivités commençaient

Since the beginning of the festivities is a precise and limited event, I thought this would use passe compose "ont commencees." Can someone help me understand why this is imperfait?

And the last sentence: J'ai toujour trouve ca magique," I had thought this would be imparfait since it's ongoing and indefinite.

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Ask a question

Find your French level for FREE

Test your French to the CEFR standard

Find your French level
Thinking...