Conjugate tenir and derivatives (+avoir) in Le Passé Composé (conversational past)

In Passé composé, the verb tenir (to hold) and its derivatives* have an irregular past participle: tenu.

Note that tenir uses the auxiliary avoir, unlike venir (see Conjugate coming and going verbs (+ être) in Le Passé Composé (conversational past))


TENIR
 
  (to hold)

j'

ai tenu

tu

as tenu

il / elle / on     

a tenu

nous

avons tenu

vous

avez tenu

ils/elles

ont tenu

Here's the pattern to conjugate tenir in Passé composé :

avoir in Le Présent + tenu

 

Note that with avoir as an auxiliary, past participles never agree with the subject of the verb:

Le Parlement a tenu sa première réunion hier.
The Parliament held its first meeting yesterday.

La Commission a tenu sa première réunion hier.
The Commission held its first meeting yesterday.

*These derivatives follow the same pattern as tenir:

retenir (to retain/hold back) -> retenu
soutenir (to support)  -> soutenu
appartenir (to belong)  -> appartenu
contenir (to contain)  -> contenu
détenir (to detain)  -> détenu
entretenir (to maintain/keep)  -> entretenu
obtenir (to obtain/get)  -> obtenu


Listen to these sentences:

J'ai enfin obtenu mon visa pour le Canada !
I finally got my visa for Canada!

Tu m'as soutenu toutes ces années.
You supported me all these years.

Il a tenu sa promesse.
He kept his promise.

Nous avons retenu notre respiration pendant trente secondes !
We held our breath for thirty seconds!

Vous lui avez tenu la main quand il avait peur.
You held his hand when he was scared.

Marie et Lucas ont entretenu une liaison pendant des mois.
Marie and Lucas had an affair for months.

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Nous avons retenu notre respiration pendant trente secondes !
We held our breath for thirty seconds!


Le Parlement a tenu sa première réunion hier.
The Parliament held its first meeting yesterday.


Tu m'as soutenu toutes ces années.
You supported me all these years.


La Commission a tenu sa première réunion hier.
The Commission held its first meeting yesterday.


J'ai enfin obtenu mon visa pour le Canada !
I finally got my visa for Canada!


Marie et Lucas ont entretenu une liaison pendant des mois.
Marie and Lucas had an affair for months.


Vous lui avez tenu la main quand il avait peur.
You held his hand when he was scared.


Il a tenu sa promesse.
He kept his promise.


Q&A Forum 4 questions, 14 answers

HeatherB1Kwiziq community member

Il a tenu sa promesse. The English translation should be he kept his promise. We don’t hold promises.

Asked 5 months ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Mais bien sûr, Heather ! What a silly mistake :)

Thanks to you, it's now been fixed!

Merci et bonne journée !

Il a tenu sa promesse. The English translation should be he kept his promise. We don’t hold promises.

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BillC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

That day you kept your word - test question

Hello, based on the lesson, it would appear that an article or a possessive adjective is either required or at least optional but i was marked incorrect for the answer:

Ce jour-là tu as retenu la parole.

and the only accepted answer was:

Ce jour-là tu as retenu parole.

Could someone advise on why the former is incorrect? Is it idiomatic?

thanks

Asked 8 months ago
BillC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributorCorrect answer

I meant "tenu" not "retenu"

BillC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Nevermind, i see the answer below, thank you.

That day you kept your word - test question

Hello, based on the lesson, it would appear that an article or a possessive adjective is either required or at least optional but i was marked incorrect for the answer:

Ce jour-là tu as retenu la parole.

and the only accepted answer was:

Ce jour-là tu as retenu parole.

Could someone advise on why the former is incorrect? Is it idiomatic?

thanks

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StewartC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

"J'ai tenu une conversation en française". Is this a correct use of tenir?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Stewart,

Indeed you can use the verb 'tenir' ( une conversation) for to conduct, carry on or maintain a conversation or just to converse. 

J'arrive à tenir une conversation en français. I am able to conduct a conversation in French.

Hope this helps!

RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Stewart, While the literal translation is I held a conversation in French, I do not find a similar phrase in the Collins-Robert using tenir. Perhaps there is an idiomatic expression that uses tenir. French like English has many different ways to say the same or similar phrases so I certainly would not rule out the use of tenir. Ron
StewartC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thanks Ron ... could you please advise which verb I should use. Thank you Stewart
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
The choice of verb depends on the context of the conversation being held. Scenario 1: you are leading a discussion or conversation in a group then: J'ai mené la discussion ou conversation du groupe. Scenario 2: one is just in a common conversation Nous avons fait une conversation en ce qui concerne mon patron. Nous avons eu une conversation. It is also possible that there are French idioms that mean the same thing. Bonne chance.
StewartC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thank you
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Je vous en prie.
StewartC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Brilliant! Thank you

"J'ai tenu une conversation en française". Is this a correct use of tenir?

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William C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Definite Article or Possessive Pronoun not Required here?

Translate That day, you kept uour word, Fill in the blnk. Cette jour-là, tu ............... parole. Conversational pat for verb tenir. Should answer not be Cette jour-là, tu AS TENU LA (TA) parole.
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer
Bonjour William !

The correct sentence given is:
Ce jour-là, tu as tenu parole.

To say to keep one's promise in French, you can use the more colloquial fixed expression tenir parole (without article), but you can also say tenir sa parole.

So here I agree that the answer "Ce jour-là, tu as tenu ta parole" should also be considered correct, even though you're specifically asked to produce the verb :)
I've now updated the question accordingly.

Bonne journée !
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour William, I think that «Cette jour-là, tu as tenu ta parole» is more correct than using the definite article. The reason being that with the definite article «la parole» becomes the word instead of your word. Bonne chance.
William C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Bonjour Ron The answer given is Cette jour-là, tu as tenu parole which does not include either "ta" or "la".
William C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Bonjour Aurélie A timely reminder that I should be translating the thought not the individual words. Thanks for your help.

Definite Article or Possessive Pronoun not Required here?

Translate That day, you kept uour word, Fill in the blnk. Cette jour-là, tu ............... parole. Conversational pat for verb tenir. Should answer not be Cette jour-là, tu AS TENU LA (TA) parole.

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