To help some more about the difference between perfect and imperfect tenses in French.

Oui, c'est ça!

When speaking in the past, French has two tenses: imparfait or passé composé. These two co-existing past tenses are used depending on the circumstance. “ Was”, that is to say the verb “to be” in the past, can be either:


était   /aytay/         or         a été    /ah aytay/


When to use which?


For a description, a state, a mood or situation in the past, or moreover a formal habit, use the imparfait (était  /aytay/).



 était  /aytay/ translates into : was, was being, was always, used to be, would (always)be, formely was, previously was.


For an action that is now over

–          I repeat: now over

use the passé composé: a été  /ah aytay/


(…One week later) :


a été /ah aytay/  translates into : has been, was

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