Recognising all -er verbs 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.

Les compagnons s'arrêtèrent pour la nuit.
The companions stopped for the 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: you can notice 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).

 

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

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

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


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


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


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


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


Les compagnons s'arrêtèrent pour la nuit.
The companions stopped for the night.


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


Q&A Forum 3 questions, 3 answers

is passe simple used often in today's times?

Asked 9 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Elizabeth,

The passé simple ( past historic) is a narrative tense and is mainly found in literature.

Its equivalent in spoken French is the passé composé...

Hope this helps!

is passe simple used often in today's times?

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About the pronouncation:

About the pronouncation: Isn't there a subtle difference between the pronouncatin of j'arrivai and j'arrivais? If not, then the conditional and the future tenses would sound the same. J'arriverai would sound just like J'arriverais.
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Diana ! We're taught at school there is a nuance of pronunciation between "-ai" (same as closed [é]) and "-ais/-ait/-aient" (same as open [è]). However, this rarely occurs in practice, and they are usually pronounced the same way, either both [è] or both [é], depending on the region. So as you guessed, you cannot really differentiate the future from the conditional in speech in the 1st person (je), apart from context. I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !

About the pronouncation:

About the pronouncation: Isn't there a subtle difference between the pronouncatin of j'arrivai and j'arrivais? If not, then the conditional and the future tenses would sound the same. J'arriverai would sound just like J'arriverais.

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Am not understanding when to use passe' simple

Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Barbara ! Here is a link to our related glossary article explaining when to use Le Passé Simple: https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/glossary/verb-tense-mood/the-french-simple-past-le-passe-simple I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !

Am not understanding when to use passe' simple

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