Repetition is the mother of genius: more on the plus-que-parfait

keep-calm-it-s-only-organic-chemistry-1
Picture source: https://www.brainscape.com/blog/2015/06/organic-chemistry-hard/.

My organic chemistry professor used to say that repetition is the mother of genius.  I believe him to be right–certainly about language-learning.  I’m fairly sure that some strategies for repetition are better than others, though.  One that I believe comes from Georgetown University’s excellent applied linguistics program works like this:

  1. Repeat something several times.  For example: repeat the je form of some conjugation several times–that is, for several different verbs.
  2. Repeat things with which it contrasts several times.  For example: do the on form several times.  Do the nous form several times.  Do the ils/elles form several times.
  3. Mix them up.  Do je, then on, then tu, etc.

In that spirit, let’s go back to the plus-que-parfait.  (See this post if you don’t remember what that is.)  We’ll do a couple examples of each person and number.  Remember that the only auxiliaries are avoir and être, so in a way, we’re really practicing the conjugation of the imperfect forms of these verbs.  (See here for a review of the imperfect.)  Because it’s difficult to search for particular combinations of tenses, I’m going to focus on the pattern “had already,” since “already” in English will usually get you the plus-que-parfait in French.  Most of the examples will come from the linguee.fr web site, which makes it fairly easy to search by a phrase (as opposed to just a word).  The exception is the tu examples, since that’s a pronoun that doesn’t get used very often on the linguee.fr web site.  For tu, I’ll use Twitter.

Je:

Screenshot 2016-01-04 12.30.51
Source: linguee.fr.

Tu:

Screenshot 2016-01-04 12.47.20
“Why you re-tweet the tweet that you had already tweeted?”
Screenshot 2016-01-04 12.48.51
“@JuEymr because you had already started?”

Il/elle/on:

Screenshot 2016-01-04 12.36.56
Source: linguee.fr.

Nous:

Screenshot 2016-01-04 12.38.33
Source: linguee.fr.

Vous:

Screenshot 2016-01-04 12.34.43
Source: linguee.fr.

Ils/elles (and notice the lesquels in the second one):

Screenshot 2016-01-04 12.42.38

This one is just too delicious to allow to pass by without notice–back to it later:

Screenshot 2016-01-04 12.40.14
Source: linguee.fr.

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