black friday cyber monday last chance to save 25% on all packages »

Why the imparfait and not the futur?

NancyC1Kwiziq community member

Why the imparfait and not the futur?

"à tout ce que l'avenir leur réservait": I translate this for myself as "all the future will hold for them". To me it is counterintuitive to use a past tense (even continuous past tense) for events occuring in the future. Please help me make sense of this use of the imparfait.

Asked 8 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

The entire text is set in the past. This is the reason for the imperfect here. It's similar in English: "He looked at everything the future was holding in store for him."

Present tense: He looks at what the future is holding in store.
Past tense: He looked at what the future was holding in store.

JimC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Nancy,

If we think about it in terms of "all that the future held in store / saved for them"

then I don't find it too difficult to get my head around the idea of using "held" or "saved"

Hope this helps?

Jim

FrankC1Kwiziq community member

I translated this as "all that the future was holding for them", which sounds normal  to me.  The use of imperfect implies continuing action in the future in this case rather than in the past.

NancyC1Kwiziq community member

Thanks all, I wasn't looking at the big picture, it makes sense now.

Why the imparfait and not the futur?

"à tout ce que l'avenir leur réservait": I translate this for myself as "all the future will hold for them". To me it is counterintuitive to use a past tense (even continuous past tense) for events occuring in the future. Please help me make sense of this use of the imparfait.

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...