Passe compose or imparfait?

IanB1Kwiziq community member

Passe compose or imparfait?

"We listened to the water".

I would have considered that a past imperfect ie, "Nous ecoutions les bruits de l'eau" because you can't listen to water at a specific moment in time - it's a continuous action in the past. "Nous avons ecoute les bruits de l'eau" isn't appropriate. 

We got splashed with water would be passe compose but not a continuous event of listening to the water?

Suggestions please....

Asked 1 year ago
MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Passé composé isn’t indicating a specific ‘moment’ (and doesn’t have to), but it is indicating a specific ‘event’ (listened to the water) that occurred within the defined period of the walk, while they were at the water’s edge.

I found the following link useful for developing a better feel for use of imparfait and passé composé. Worth reading, and also watching the short videos at the end. 

https://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/french-verb-conjugation/passe-compose-versus-imparfait/

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Just to complement Maarten's reply with two examples:

Pendant la promenade, nous avons écuté les bruits de l'eau. -- During the walk, we listened to the sounds of the water.

Nous écoutions les bruits de l'eau quand mon portable a sonné. -- We were listening to the sounds of the water when my mobile rang.

Dans notre enfance, nous écoutions les bruits de l'eau. -- In our childhood we used to listen to the sounds of the water. (but not any longer)

IanB1Kwiziq community member

Most kind of you to reply. 

Thank you both for a very helpful answer. 

Passe compose or imparfait?

"We listened to the water".

I would have considered that a past imperfect ie, "Nous ecoutions les bruits de l'eau" because you can't listen to water at a specific moment in time - it's a continuous action in the past. "Nous avons ecoute les bruits de l'eau" isn't appropriate. 

We got splashed with water would be passe compose but not a continuous event of listening to the water?

Suggestions please....

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