Avoir ou ÊTRE au passé composé ?
Avoir or ÊTRE in the passé composé?
The words passé and composé mean ‘compound past’. The passé composé always has two parts:
- the helping verb, also called auxiliary
- the past participle
There are only two possible auxiliaries in French ÊTRE or AVOIR.
AVOIR or ÊTRE ? – THREE RULES
1.Most French verbs take AVOIR.
2.All pronominal verbs – use SE or S’ in their infinitive form – use ÊTRE.
3.There are 17 verbs that also use ÊTRE as a helping verb (see ‘Dr & Mrs Van der Trampp’ below).
Dr Mrs Van der Trampp – ÊTRE
There are 17 verbs that also use ÊTRE as a helping verb. Grammar books have different ways of organizing them. I find the simplest way is to decline them as Dr & Mrs Van der Trampp as the acronym for this list of verbs:
devenir, revenir, monter, rentrer, sortir, venir, aller, naître, descendre, entrer, retourner, tomber, rester, arriver, mourir, passer, partir
To practice picking ÊTRE or AVOIR in compound tenses, translate into French.
- I went out last night.
- I took the trash out.
- I dropped by to see you.
- I took an exam.
- I came back late.
- I took the chairs in.
- I went upstairs quickly.
- I took the suitcase up/stairs.
- I came downstairs at 9:00.
- I took the blanket down/stairs.
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