Conjugate all -er verbs in Le Passé simple (including aller)

Look at these -er verbs in le Passé Simple:

Un jour, j'arrivai dans un petit village.
One day, I arrived in a tiny village.

Quand tu rencontras Sarah, elle avait dix-huit ans.
When you met Sarah, she was eighteen.

Alors, le chevalier libéra la princesse.
Then, the knight freed the princess.

On se reposa ensuite pendant quelques heures.
We then relaxed for a few hours.

Ce jour-là, nous allâmes tous au château.
That day, we all went to the castle.

Vous et vos amis dansâtes toute la nuit.
You and your friends danced all night.

 

 

To conjugate -er verbs in le Passé Simple, here is what to do:

Stem of the verb (without -ER) + endings: -ai, -as, -a, -âmes, -âtes, -èrent

 

ATTENTION: Note that the endings of the je/tu/il/elle/on forms (-ai, -as, -a) are the same as the Futur endings.

The difference between the two tenses is that in le Futur, you keep the infinitive as the stem (e.g. je parler-ai), or use an irregular stem for aller (j'ir-ai), whereas in le Passé Simple, you remove the -ER from the stem (e.g. je parl-ai).

 

As for -CER and -GER verbs, they take ç and extra e in front of 'a', but not in front of 'è', while -GUER verbs take gu- in all forms: 

Les célébrations commencèrent à sept heures, mais le feu d'artifices ne commença que vers dix heures.
The celebrations started at seven, but the fireworks only started around ten.

Tu mangeas dans ta chambre, tandis qu'ils mangèrent dans la salle à manger.
You ate in your room, while they ate in the dining room.

Il se fatigua vite, mais ils ne fatiguèrent qu'à la fin de la journée.
He got tired quickly, but they only tired at the end of the day.

 

 

Pronunciation: The tricky part here is that the je form (j'arrivai) has the same pronunciation as the Imperfect form (j'arrivais). However, since le Passé Simple is an almost exclusively written form, this should not be an obstacle to conversation!

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources


Il se fatigua vite, mais ils ne fatiguèrent qu'à la fin de la journée.
He got tired quickly, but they only tired at the end of the day.


Tu mangeas dans ta chambre, tandis qu'ils mangèrent dans la salle à manger.
You ate in your room, while they ate in the dining room.


Les célébrations commencèrent à sept heures, mais le feu d'artifices ne commença que vers dix heures.
The celebrations started at seven, but the fireworks only started around ten.


Q&A

David

Kwiziq community member

12 August 2018

0 replies

Fireworks. Singular vs plural.

Fireworks is translated in this lesson as "le feu d'artifices" but in this page https://french.kwiziq.com/studylists/view/946769 it is translated as "le feu d'artifice". In Larouse online it is translated as "le feu d'artifice" too. The Kwiziq writing challenge about Bastille Day also uses "le feu d'artifice".

But elsewhere on the web I can see examples with "les feux d'artifices" and even "les feux d'artifice". So all 4 possibilities of singlular and plural for both the noun and adjective are covered.

Are all of these variations correct?

K

Kwiziq community member

7 August 2017

3 replies

Passèrent was used with a family, "les Hobbits,"

I thought that the singular was to be used with a family. K

Ron

Kwiziq community member

8 August 2017

8/08/17

Bonjour K,
I think the issue here is that «la famille» was not used in the phrase but Les Hobbits was. Had the question been, «la famille, les Hobbits» then the 3rd person singular «passa» would be used.
I do not recall anything that I have studied stating if the nom de la famille is used, then it is understood to be «la famille» for conjugation purposes.
Bonne chance,

K

Kwiziq community member

8 August 2017

8/08/17

Hi,
Maybe the confusion came from something I vaguely remember related to Le Dupont being the Dupont family and that being singular. Thanks for the clarification K

Ron

Kwiziq community member

9 August 2017

9/08/17

Bien sûr pas de problème.

Bonne chance,

Marilyn

Kwiziq community member

25 April 2017

1 reply

What is the affect of the circumblex on pronunciation? Why is it needed?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

4 May 2017

4/05/17

Salut Marilyn,
Here is the link within this website that can explain your question:
https://www.lawlessfrench.com/pronunciation/circumflex/

I hope this helps.
Ron

Roisin

Kwiziq community member

14 February 2016

3 replies

When should you use the passé simple instead of other past tenses

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

18 February 2016

18/02/16

Bonjour Roisin,

'Le Passé Simple' is omnipresent when it comes to written French, especially literary texts, but not only. You will find it in articles or biographies, so it's a very useful tense to recognise at first, but also to be able to use in higher levels, when you want your written French to sound more elegant than if you used its more common and spoken equivalent 'Le Passé Composé'.
It cannot be used instead of 'L'Imparfait' as those two tenses are complementary.

I hope that's helpful,

Aurélie

Roisin

Kwiziq community member

18 February 2016

18/02/16

Merci Aurélie, So one wouldn't use le passé simple in spoken french?
Roisin

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

23 September 2016

23/09/16

That's correct.
How has your day been?