Verb Tense

AshC1Kwiziq community member

Verb Tense

Why is it "je te l'avais dit" and not "je te l'ai dit!"?


Asked 7 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

This is an excellent question Ash and we looked at it in great detail.

That's what we believe -

Often English speakers avoid using the past perfect as it can sound awkward in English unless the previous past action it refers to is in the actual sentence which is not the case here.

In this colloquial expression, "I told you so! " strictly speaking, it should be "I (had) told you so!".

The wife in the story had told Rémi to update the GPS and even to buy a new one so in French it cannot be anything but the plus que parfait -

Je te l'avais dit !

But thank you for this excellent question which got us thinking ...


MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor


She is not the speaker in this sentence - that is not the context in which "I told you so" occurs. 

He (Rémi) has just told his wife that he will try to restart the GPS and that maybe that will fix the problem - it does, the GPS starts, and he says "It works, I told you so" in reference to that final statement. 

He has just told her and it was a one-off comment - passé composé seems quite reasonable here.

CécileKwiziq team member

Hi Maarten, 

I found the following discussion interesting -


I wouldn't have used 'voisinage' in this particular context it just means that the grandmother lives nearby, in the same 'quartier'.

Verb Tense

Why is it "je te l'avais dit" and not "je te l'ai dit!"?


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
Let me take a look at that...