1. Passé Composé - Usage
  2. Forming the Passé Composé
  3. Être or Avoir?

Passé Composé - Usage

Rule 1: Passé composé is used to talk about actions that were completed in the past. It emphasizes their results or consequences in the present. It corresponds to the English simple past and, sometimes, the present perfect.



J’ai joué.

I have played / I played.

Il est rentré à la maison.

He went home.

Forming the Passé Composé

Rule 2: This tense is formed by using the present form of an auxiliary verb (avoir or être) together with the past participle of the verb you're conjugating.

Here's an example with the verb venir (to come):

je suis venu
tu\t es venu
il, elle, on est venu
nous\t sommes venus
vous\t êtes venu(s)
ils, elles sont venus

And with the verb manger (to eat):

j' ai mangé
tu as mangé
il, elle, on a mangé
nous avons mangé
vous avez mangé
ils, elles ont mangé

Être or Avoir?

Rule 3: Most verbs build passé composé with avoir.



J'ai chanté.

I sang.

With several verbs describing movement or rest, être is used instead. It's best to memorize them:

aller to go
arriver to arrive
descendre to descend / go downstairs
entrer to enter
monter to climb
mourir to die
naître to be born
partir to leave
passer to pass
rester to stay
retourner to return
sortir to go out
tomber to fall
venir to come

Être is also used with the derivatives of these verbs, such as remonter (to climb again), repartir (to leave again), or devenir (to become).

Rule 4: Être is also used for reflexive verbs:



Nous nous sommes reveillés.

We woke up.

Rule 5: A few verbs can also build the passé composé with both auxiliary verbs. In this case, avoir is used if a direct object follows the conjugated verb



Je suis sorti dehors.

I went out.

J’ai sorti les poubelles.

I took out the trash.



___ chez moi.


correct answers.