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.”

        Liked by 1 person

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