Le passé Past

Now would be a good time to study the passé composé in the conjugation guide. The passé composé is used to report activities that have finished.

Le chauffeur a arrêté le moteur.
The driver turned the engine off.

Nous avons marché jusqu'à la gare.
We walked to the station.

La serveuse m'a amené un verre d’eau.
The waitress brought me a glass of water.

The imperfect (see imperfect conjugations) is used to describe background activities, which in the time frame of the story haven't been completed and are ongoing.

Le serveur m'amenait un plat d'escargots, quand il est tombé et a laissé tomber le plat. Les petits escargots étaient partout.
The waiter was bringing a plate of snails when he slipped and dropped the plate. The little snails were everywhere..

The imperfect is normally used to describe characteristics or lasting qualities as these tend to be ongoing.

Le film était très long et ennuyeux.
The film was long and boring.

L'enfant boitait à cause de l'accident.
The child limped because of the accident.

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