How to form the French passé composé?
The passé composé is one of the most widely used French past tenses.
This tense is a compound tense. It means that you need two verbs to conjugate it.
You will first need an auxiliary verb, either AVOIR or ÊTRE, that you conjugate in present tense.
See AVOIR or ÊTRE conjugations in the attached infographic.
Then you will need the past participle of the verb you want to conjugate in passé composé.
For example: J’ai parlé (I spoke) / Je suis allé (I went)
How to form the Past Participle?
In English, most past participles end with -ED (arrived).
In French, they mostly end with -É, -I, -U:
- For all regular -ER verbs, remove the -ER from the infinitive and replace it with -É –> parler –> parlé
- For all regular -IR verbs, remove the -IR from the infinitive and replace it with -I –> finir –> fini
- For all regular -RE verbs, remove the -RE from the infinitive and replace it with -U –> vendre –> vendu
Then you have all the irregular verbs that don’t follow any pattern and that you have to learn by heart 😉
Here are some very useful verbs to know:
- être –> été
- avoir –> eu
- faire –> fait
- pouvoir –> pu
- vouloir –> voulu
Read also: Verbs using ÊTRE in passé composé
You may be interested in my learning pack “Passé composé and Imparfait” with a 45 min video explaining how to use these 2 past tenses: