Participe passé

French Past Participle

A past participle is particular verb conjugation that is mainly used as the second part of the verb in compound tenses. In French, the past participle is preceded by an auxiliary, avoir or êtreconjugated in a specific simple tense (e.g. le présent to form le passé composé):

avoir or être in simple tense + past participle

J'ai oublié ma valise. - I forgot my suitcase.

Elle avait fini la vaisselle. - She had finished washing the dishes.

Nous sommes allés visiter un appartement. - We went to visit a flat.


The past participle is also used with the verb être to create the passive voice.

 La souris est mangée par le chat. - The mouse is eaten by the cat.

Les voleurs ont été arrêtés par la police. - The thieves have been arrested by the police.


The past participle can also be used on its own or after être as an adjective. We can call it the adjectival form of the verb:

La jeune fille fatiguée se repose. - The tired young girl is resting.

Ces gâteaux sont dorés et appétissants. - These cakes are golden and appetising.

Whenever it is used with être, the past participle must agree with the noun or pronoun it modifies.

Forming the French past participle

Here are the main patterns for forming French past participles from infinitives:

Infinitive ending Past participle ending Example
- er - é manger -> mangé
- ir (regular) - i finir -> fini
- re (except prendre) - u vendre -> vendu
- ir (irregular) - u courir -> couru

  

There are also highly irregular past participles that you just need to learn, including

être = été

avoir = eu

faire = fait

prendre = pris

devoir = dû

voir = vu

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