Common irregular verbs in the passé simple in French

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Common irregular verbs in the passé simple

The following verbs take on a specific conjugation in the passé simple:

avoir en
J’eus
Tu eus
Il eut/elle eut
Nous eûmes
Vous eûtes
Ils eurent/elles eurent
être en
Je fus
Tu fus
Il fut/elle fut
Nous fûmes
Vous fûtes
Ils furent/elles furent
faire en
Je fis
Tu fis
Il fit/elle fit
Nous fîmes
Vous fîtes
Ils firent/elles firent
« Oh ! Je fus comme fou dans un premier moment (...) »
Oh! I was like a madman at first (...).
(Les Contemplations, Victor Hugo)
venir en
Je vins
Tu vins
Il vint/elle vint
Nous vînmes
Vous vîntes
Ils vinrent/elles vinrent
tenir en
Je tins
Tu tins
Il tint/elle tint
Nous tînmes
Vous tîntes
Ils tinrent/elles tinrent
« Une porte basse s’ouvrit. Un air chaud, mêlé de bruit, vint me frapper au visage. »

A low-framed door opened. A warm gust, charged with noise, struck me in the face.
(Le Dernier jour d’un condamné, Victor Hugo)
naître en
Je naquis
Tu naquis
Il naquit/elle naquit
Nous naquîmes
Vous naquîtes
Ils naquirent/elles naquirent
mourir en
Je mourus
Tu mourus
Il mourut/elle mourut
Nous mourûmes
Vous mourûtes
Ils moururent/elles moururent
« Il voulut être César, il mourut Pompée. »

He wanted to be Caesar. He died as Pompey.
(A quote from George Clémenceau about Félix Faure who died in the arms of his young mistress.)
voir en
Je vis
Tu vis
Il vit/elle vit
Nous vîmes
Vous vîtes
Ils virent/elles virent
asseoir en
J’assis
Tu assis
Il assit/elle assit
Nous assîmes
Vous assîtes
Ils assirent/elles assirent
« Je vis cette faucheuse. Elle était dans son champ. »
I saw that reaper, out in her field.

(Les Contemplations, Victor Hugo)
Note: The passé simple is mostly used in formal and literary French for describing specific or completed past actions.




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