|He had just finished his tea.||Il venait juste de finir son thé.|
Comparing French and English Sentence Structure
It can be interesting to look at French sentences and their English translations while comparing the two. Once you have identified corresponding words, you will realize how many similarities there are French and English. You’ll also notice some big differences, and those are worth examining more closely.
He = Il
Il is a subject pronoun which means he or it.
had just = venait juste de
When referring to something that happened before a moment in the past, venir is conjugated in the imperfect tense. It means that someone or something had just done something. It’s important not to confuse this grammatical structure with the plus-que-parfait tense, which means that someone had done something. The most important thing to remember when choosing the passé récent over the plus-que-parfait is the word just. To say that something has just happened, use the verb venir in the present tense.
finished = finir
The regular verb finir is in the infinitive form because it is being used with the recent past construction: venir de + infinitive.
his tea = son thé
Son is a possessive adjective which can mean either his or her. It doesn’t matter if the subject of the sentence is feminine or masculine. What is important is the noun that follows. The adjective must agree in number and gender with the noun it modifies. In this sentence, thé is that noun, and it is masculine and singular.