Recognising regular -ir verbs in Le Passé Simple

Look at these -ir verbs in le Passé Simple:

Cette nuit-là, je dormis paisiblement.
That night, I slept peacefully.

Quand tu partis pour la guerre, mon cœur se brisa.
When you left for war, my heart broke.

Le prince choisit Cendrillon parmi toutes les danseuses.
The prince chose Cinderella among all the dancers.

Nous sortîmes alors du placard.
We then came out of the closet. 

Vous réussîtes à vous libérer.
You managed to free yourselves.

Les enfants grandirent très vite.
The children grew up very fast.

 

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

Stem of the verb (without -ir) + endings: -is, -is, -it, -îmes, -îtes, -irent

Note that for regular -IR verbs, the je/tu/il/elle/on forms of le Passé Simple are exactly the same as for le Présent. The context will help you know which tense is intended in thoses cases.

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Quand tu partis pour la guerre, mon cœur se brisa.
When you left for war, my heart broke.


Cette nuit-là, je dormis paisiblement.
That night, I slept peacefully.


Le prince choisit Cendrillon parmi toutes les danseuses.
The prince chose Cinderella among all the dancers.


Les enfants grandirent très vite.
The children grew up very fast.


Vous réussîtes à vous libérer.
You managed to free yourselves.


Nous sortîmes alors du placard.
We then came out of the closet. 


Q&A

K

Kwiziq community member

9 July 2017

3 replies

Hi, I don't understand how "my neighbor manages to wake me up" can be Passe Simple.

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

10 July 2017

10/07/17

Hi K, the sentence ""Mon voisin réussit à me réveiller." could be passé simple or le présent. As the lesson explains, the je/tu/il/elle/on passé simple forms are exactly the same as the Présent for regular -IR verbs. The context would normally tell you which tense was being used.

K

Kwiziq community member

10 July 2017

10/07/17

Thanks. I completely. missed that point. I had never noticed it before. It's so important, Is there any way to emphasize it? Maybe give an example?

K

Kwiziq community member

10 July 2017

10/07/17

I see that it is mentioned in a number of places. Resolved. Thanks.

sue

Kwiziq community member

7 March 2017

1 reply

a comment

I found it helpful to know the original usage of the passe simple, which was absorbed into the perfect tense when spoken . It worked alongside the imperfect where the imperfect gave a habit the passe simple was one off. I wish the passe simple would be used more!

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

10 March 2017

10/03/17

Bonjour Sue !

Yes, Le Passé Simple used to be used (!) the same way we now use Le Passé Composé, alongside L'Imparfait.

I agree that it would much simpler to learn :)

David

Kwiziq community member

4 September 2016

1 reply

Does anyone use the passé simple?

I love knowing and being able to use the more arcane aspects of grammar. I wonder, is it of any use learning this tense for dialogue, or is it solely literary in its applications?

Cheryl

Kwiziq community member

5 September 2016

5/09/16

Bonjour David,
Its use is literary.
Yes, I like knowing what the passé simple of French verbs are too. As far as I understand their use in French, they're only used in written French, not conversational French. Bit like two languages. They're certainly used even in little children's fairy stories. Google E-books for children, and you'll find , which is "Little Red Riding Hood". I read it to children, and it's full of verbs in the passé simple.
Cheryl

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