Being Consistent with French Tenses

La Concordance des Temps

This lesson will show intermediate to advanced learners of French how to reply to the following situations and retell a dialogue.  


Observe the following chart, and when you want to relay or retell information that has been said, pay close attention to the verb tense that is  used in the direct conversation (left column). When you relay the information, use the tense indicated in the right column. Examples follow.

Direct ConversationRelayed Conversation
présentimparfait
imparfaitimparfait
passé composéplus-que-parfait
futur procheimparfait
futur simpleconditionnel

Examples

Read the following examples and pay close attention to the tense that is used in the first sentence. That is the direct conversation (left column on the chart). Then look at the tense used in the very last sentence. That is the relayed conversation (right column on the chart).


Relaying information from a direct conversation that was spoken in the PRESENT TENSE. 

  • Martine SAYS she’s going to France.
  • Martine dit qu’elle va en France.
  • What did Martine say?
  • Qu’est-ce que Martine a dit?
  • Martine SAID she was going to France.
  • Martine a dit qu’elle allait en France. 

Relaying information from a direct conversation that was spoken in the IMPARFAIT. 

  • Martine SAYS it was a good idea to go to France.
  • Martine dit que c’était une bonne idée d’aller en France.
  • What did Martine say?
  • Qu’est-ce que Martine a dit?
  • Martine SAID it was a good idea to go to France.
  • Martine a dit que c’était une bonne idée d’aller en France. 

Relaying information from a direct conversation that was spoken in the PASSÉ COMPOSÉ. 

  • Martine SAYS she went to France.
  • Martine dit qu’elle est allée en France.
  • What did Martine say?
  • Qu’est-ce que Martine a dit?
  • Martine SAID she had gone to France.
  • Martine a dit qu’elle était allée en France. 

Relaying information from a direct conversation that was spoken in the FUTUR PROCHE. 

  • Martine SAYS she is going to go to France.
  • Martine dit qu’elle va aller en France.
  • What did Martine say?
  • Qu’est-ce que Martine a dit?
  • Martine SAID she was going to go to France.
  • Martine a dit qu’elle allait aller en France. 

Relaying information from a direct conversation that was spoken in the FUTUR SIMPLE. 

  • Martine SAYS she will go to France.
  • Martine dit qu’elle ira en France.
  • What did Martine say?
  • Qu’est-ce que Martine a dit?
  • Martine SAID she would go to France.
  • Martine a dit qu’elle irait en France. 

STEP 1: Download your lesson guide, and read the rules and all of the examples in French and English carefully.

STEP 2: Observe the tense chart and keep it handy.

STEP 3: Complete exercise 1 in written form and check your work.

STEP 4: Use your set of numbered cards from Exercise 1 to practice oral production at your own pace.  One set has only one card per page for easy online use with no printing.  The other set has four cards per page if you prefer printing and cutting them out. 

STEP 5: Listen to the audio recording of exercise 1 while reading along with your set of numbered practice cards. I’ll read each prompt twice, and I’ll then give you time to say your response. You’ll then hear me saying the correct response.

STEP 6: Listen to the audio recording of exercise 1 without the help of your practice cards to work on listening comprehension and oral production at the same time. Use the answer key from the exercise to check your responses when needed.

STEP 7: Complete exercise 2 in written form and check your work.

STEP 8: Use your set of numbered cards from Exercise 2 to practice oral production at your own pace.

STEP 9: Listen to the audio recording of exercise 2 while reading along with your set of numbered practice cards. I’ll read each prompt twice, and I’ll then give you time to say your response. You’ll then hear me saying the correct response.

STEP 10: Listen to the audio recording of exercise 2 without the help of your practice cards to work on listening comprehension and oral production at the same time. Use the answer key from the exercise to check your responses when needed.



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