When to use Le Passé Récent (The Recent Past)

when to use le passé récent

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In this French grammar lesson we will learn about when to use Le Passé Récent (the recent past).

Sometimes it can be unclear which tense you should use.

For that reason this lesson was created, so that you can better understand when to use Le Passé Récent.

In this lesson you will learn about:

  • when to use Le Passé Récent,
  • how to create Le Passé Récent,
  • how Le Passé Récent is used in sentences in French,
  • how Le Passé Récent Anki files can be downloaded.

Please refer to the French A1 Curriculum to get a better overview of French grammar if you are curious about how Le Passé Récent fits in French A1 grammar.

By the end of the lesson you will know all about when to use Le Passé Récent.

Table of Contents

When To Use Le Passé Récent

Le Passé Récent is used to describe an action that has just happened.

Here you can see an example of where Le Passé Récent was used.

Jean: Voulez-vous manger?

Alexandra: Non, je viens de manger.

Jean: Do you want to eat?

Alexandra: No, I just ate.

As you can see Jean asks Alexandra if she wants to eat something.

However Alexandra declines as she has just finished eating something else.

If you want to describe an action that has just happened then Le Passé Récent will be used.

How To Create Le Passé Récent

Creating Le Passé Récent is very easy.

Passé Recent = Venir de + Infinitif

In English one would say “to have just done”

You need to conjugate venir and add the infinitive of the verb that you want to use after it.

The use the infinitive means to use the full verb.

Je viens de rentrer.

I have just returned.

Tu viens de faire une grosse erreur.

You just made a big mistake.

Elle vient de partir.

She just left.

You can see in every example that the verb venir is conjugated and the infinitive is used right after.

This is a very easy tense to use in French, but it is mainly used in speaking.

Generally speaking, this tense is not found in writing.

Practice venir conjugation and this tense will become very easy for you!

Example Sentences with Le Passé Récent

The final section of this lesson on when to use Le Passé Récent contains example sentences so you can see how this is used in practice.

Here are some example sentences that show when to use Le Passé Récent in French.

Je viens de rentrer.

I have just returned.

Tu viens de faire une grosse erreur.

You just made a big mistake.

Elle vient de partir.

She just left.

Il vient de commencer à pleuvoir.

It just started to rain.

Il vient de commencer à neiger.

It just began snowing now.

Nous venons de faire cela.

We just did that.

Vous venez de faire la vaisselle.

You have just done the dishes.

Elles viennent de se lever.

They just got up.

Anki File for Le Passé Récent

It is important to do the Anki excercises for this lesson, so that you can better remember what you just studied.

By downloading the Anki File for French A1, you can practice every French A1 lesson that is on Language Atlas.

You can also choose to just get the Anki File for French A1 Verbs. This only has the verbs for French A1.

If you don’t know why you should use Anki, or if you don’t know what Anki is, then please click here.

Anki can be downloaded from here.

Doing all of this will really help you on your French learning journey!

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