French Grammar Explained /

The imperfect III

Are you ready for the missing information about l'imparfait ?
I can't believe there's even more to learn about the same thing! Promise me, this is the last time we talk about it...
Umm... I can promise this is the last grammar part of it!
We've already seen that l'imparfait is the past tense used for talking about habits in the past and describing the situation and people.
It should also be used for:
  • Multiple actions occurring simultaneously in the past.
Pendant que Sylvain faisait la vaisselle, Emilie passait la serpillère.
While Sylvain was doing the dishes, Emilie was mopping the floors.
  • A situation that has no limitation of time in the past - or in the present.
Chez moi on ne parlait pas français.
At home we did not speak French.
That looks really difficult.
At the beginning it may seem so, but don't worry. Soon you'll find this very easy. You just need practice!
And why can't I do that with le passé composé ?
Because with l'imparfait you give background information, remember? It's actions that help understand the main story but that are not meant to unravel the story.
Are French people good narrators then?
You'll have to check for yourself once you're more comfortable in French!