GCSE French : Grammar

Past & Future Tense and The Imperative

Past & Future Tense and The Imperative


frenchThe imperfect (imparfait) tense is a descriptive past tense used to indicate an ongoing action, or a repeated or incomplete action. This can include habitual actions, descriptions of emotions or a repeated physical occurrence, and so forth.

If you know the present indicative form of the verb, conjugating verbs in the imperfect is fairly straightforward with all verbs following a similar conjugation pattern. For example:-




Je lisais J’allais J’tais
Tu lisais Tu allais Tu tais
Il lisait Il allait Il tait
Nous lisions Nous allions Nous tions
Vous lisiez Vous alliez Vous tiez
Ils lisaient Ils allaient

Ils taient

Pass compos

The compound past tense is the most commonly used past tense, and indicates an action completed in the past or a series of actions completed.

The pass compos is employed with either of the auxiliary verbs; the past participle must in in the case of ‘tre‘ agree with the subject in order for the sentence to be correct For example:-



Je suis all(e) J’ai mang
Tu es all(e) Tu as mang
Il est all Il a mang
Elle est alle Elle a mang
Nous sommes all(e)s Nous avons mang
Vous tes all(e)s Vous avez mang
Ils sont alls Ils ont mang
Elles sont alles Elles ont mang


Future tenses

The immediate future

frenchTo describe an action that will take place in the near future, it is possible to use the future proche form. This is formed using the present tense of aller and the infinitive form of the action verb.


Je vais aller au cinma ce soir.

I am going to the cinema this evening.

Est-ce que tu vas appeler Thomas?

Are you going to call Thomas?

Future tense

The future tense is used to describe upcoming events. It can be used when the near future form is not deemed appropriate; for example, if the action described is to take place in a more distant future.

The future tense also uses the verb’s infinitive form as the root; then the same ending for all verbs is applicable. For example:-




Je pourrai Je demanderai J’aurai
Tu pourras Tu demanderas Tu auras
Il pourra Il demandera Il aura
Nous pourrons Nous demanderons Nous aurons
Vous pourrez Vous demanderez Vous aurez
Ils pourront Ils demanderont Ils auront


The imperative

The imperative is a verb tense used to convey an order or a command.

There are only three grammatical persons that can be used in the imperative: tu, nous, and vous. The conjugations are mostly the same as the present tense, although the pronouns just listed are not directly listed in this form. For example:-

Donne-moi a- Give me that.

Sois prudent- Be careful.

(NB. The verb tre is irregular in the imperative tense, as demonstrated in this example).