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I am writing a narrative with that involves multiple verbs in the PC/l’imparfait within the same sentence. I suspect there are special procedures you follow when conjugating in this situation, but I don’t remember what. I remember something about using infinitive the second time you use passé compose, I think, but I’m really not positive. Are there any special rules about using the PC/l'imparfait together? Could you please read over these sentences and let me know if I am correct? Merci beaucoup!

In my yard there was an indentation, and I stared at it wistfully: Sur mon jardin était un marque, et je voulais á cet rêveusement.

When I was seven, I made a life-changing discovery—that woolly mammoths existed! : Quand J’avais sept ans, J’ai fait une découverte bouleverser une vie—que les mammoths laineux était vrai.

The boys could not appreciate the woolly mammoths: Les garçons ne pouvaient pas apprécier les mammoths laineux.

  • French -

    Are you referring to WHY the passé composé and l'imparfait are used in writing a story? Let me address that first.
    The purpose of the passé composé is to show action, with both a beginning and an ending. Imagine a series of snapshots = / / / / / The usual English translation is: je suis allée = I DID go, I went.
    The purpose of l'imparfait is to "paint" the background by concentrating on the middle of something. We know it began but as far as you know, it may never have ended. Imagine now a movie camera grinding away = ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ The usualy English is: j'allais = I WAS goING, I USED TO GO (repeated action), I went (the tertiary meaning overlaps with the passé composé so you need to analyze which to use. Often ONLY the author can determine which.

    I'm not sure what you mean about using the infinitive after the passé composé = il a voulu étudier = He wanted to study?

    In my yard? Or in my garden? Dans mon jardin...there was = il y indentation? (I can't imagine this. Always try to use the vocabulary and structure you have studied and try synonyms...dent, hole, depression? ...I stared at it = et je la regardais (was) or (did) je l'ai regardée fixement.

    life-changing discovery = une découverte qui a changé ma vie...les mammouths laineux étaient (plural) vrais.

    Sra (aka Mme)

  • French -

    that woolly mammoths existed! =que les mammouths (à poils) laineux ont existé.

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