What you do on Saturday night if you have no life whatsoever

That’s a whole lotta accents…

If you have no life whatsoever, what you do on Saturday night is (a) study French verb conjugations, and (b) binge-watch the excellent Netflix series Criminal: France–and not necessarily in that order, either.

I’ve recently been working on the passé simple, a French tense that’s used in some genres of writing, but only very rarely in the spoken language.  I love les chapeaux chinois (circumflex accents), and one of the nice things about the passé simple is that it uses them.  Specifically, they appear in the nous and vous forms: nouss aimâmes/finîmes/prîmes, vous aimâtes/finîtes/prîtes.

Find a verb with a circumflex accent in the stem, and it gets really fun.  So, it’s Saturday night, and I’m sitting on the back porch smoking a cigarette and and doing some exercises on the French Verb Forms iPhone app (no, I am not sponsored by Netflix, French Verb Forms, or Apple–I pay for that stuff just like everyone else), when I am presented with the verb apprêter “to prepare” to conjugate: Circumflex City!

5 thoughts on “What you do on Saturday night if you have no life whatsoever”

    1. You mentioned le conditionnel passé 2e forme in a comment quite a while back. I didn’t know what it was, so I looked into it, and now it’s my favorite tense! One of the example sentences that I came across (don’t remember where, but probably le Grévisse): j’eusse aimé vivre près d’une jeune géante. WTF?? Love it…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Yeah the sound of “j’eusse aimé” creates a feeling well different from “j’aurais aimé” isn’it ? At least for a French ear who was machined by the French culture and and can smell the several possible unsaid implications of using this tense .

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh man, this comes to the point where our inner self is a receiver and a creator, must be slightly different for everyone… But say, using this tense always conveys humor, can be a poetic humor, you quickly make a display of high French education of language, a display and an invitation to play this game from time to time as a member of the club, or the family . It’s a way to get a part of knowledge of the other person, watching one’s reaction ( it’s very quick, a glance is enough). It can be a tool to trigger a different atmosphere … sometimes I just do it for nothing, for the fun or the pleasure of the this softer -sss- sound .
        Several possibiliites really, furthermore personal and different among the people .

        BTW, WTF ! Little man, this WTF example was written by an unknown poet called Baudelaire . I found rather dry and imperfect in such a context the use of “près d’une” while I would have said “auprès d’une” . So I checked and here is the first strophe of “La Géante” (this guy didn’t need much psychotropics) .
        “Du temps que la Nature en sa verve puissante
        Concevait chaque jour des enfants monstrueux,
        J’eusse aimé vivre auprès d’une jeune géante,
        Comme aux pieds d’une reine un chat voluptueux.”

        Like

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