The PERFECT versus The IMPERFECT Translating these tenses from English into French can be more problematic This is not a problem for a Welsh speaker as the Welsh language uses the Perfect and Imperfect tenses in very much the same circumstances as the French language does.
When using the Perfect tense is easy. For instance... I have played tennis J’ ai joué au tennis Whenever you use the Perfect tense in English, it must also be translated by a Perfect tense in French.
When using the Imperfect tense is easy. The form “used to” to express an habit in the past always translate into the Imperfect in French The Past Progressive always translate into the Imperfect in French I used to play tennis. I was playing tennis. = = je jouais au tennis. je jouais au tennis.
If the action was occurring regularly in the past... If the action was a “one off”, for instance , For instance, I Played tennis last Sunday. I Played tennis in the Army. use the Imperfect tense in French use the Perfect tense in French je jouais au tennis à l’armée. J’ ai joué au tennis dimanchedernier. Translating the Preterit tense (I played) can be challenging in French
I have a tip for you to find out when to use the Perfect or the imperfect in French when translating a Preterit tense in English. Replace the Preterit by “used to” in the sentence. I Played tennis last Sunday. I used to play tennis last Sunday. If it doesn’t make sense, use the Perfect I Played tennis in the Army. I used to play tennis in the Army. If it doesmake sense, use theImperfect