This post will be about compound verbs – aka le Passé composé, le Plus-que-parfait, le Conditionnel passé and the rest of the double-verb gang… – and whether they should agree or not with their neighbors.
Consider the following sentences:
Elle a étudié sa leçon. /ella ay tü dyay sal son/ LISTEN
She studied her lesson.
Les oiseaux ont chanté. /lezwa zoe on sean tay/ LISTEN
The birds sang /have sung.
See how the second part of the verb remains the same, even as the subject changes?
No matter what, the participle (that is the second part of the verb: étudié, chanté…) remains intact. Here is more:
Nous n’avons pas mangé. /noona von paw monjay/ LISTEN
We haven’t eaten / We didn’t eat.
Elles ont beaucoup marché. /elzon bow coup marshay/ LISTEN
They walked a lot.
Now compare with the following sentences:
Il est allé. /eel ett al ay/ LISTEN
Elle est allée. /el ett al ay/ LISTEN
What is going on here?
Tell me, why would we have:
… and then:
That is because the rule goes like this: if the verb in the past is conjugated with être, then the second part agrees. Agrees with whom? With the subject, that is the one doing the action:
When conjugated with avoir, the participle NEVER agrees with the SUBJECT:
Over To You!
Try these sentences:
Now that you are a pro, continue on to Part 2.
(Yes, unfortunately there is more to it).
(It’s FRENCH. What did you expect?)
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