The Past Infinitive and The Passé Récent

This week’s language post concerns the past again but with a slightly different meaning to the passé composé. Read through the notes and click on the links provided in order to practice what you learn…

The past infinitive is formed by using the correct helper verb (avoir or être) in its infinitive form and the past participle of the verb showing the action. The past infinitive is used:

To express a previous action regardless of the English translation:

Il est parti sans avoir dit “au revoir.” (He left without saying goodbye.)

Elle a été renvoyée pour avoir menti. (She was fired for lying [having lied].)


After the preposition après:

Après être rentrée, je me reposerai. (After returning [having returned] home, I’ll relax.)

Je te téléphonerai après avoir mangé. (I’ll call you after eating [having eaten].)


To modify the verb in the main clause:
J’aurais préféré t’avoir vu hier. (I would have preferred seeing you yesterday.)

Il se rappelle d’être venu ici il y a un an.(He remembers coming here a year ago.)

To modify the adjective in the main clause:
Je suis ravi de t’avoir vu. (I’m delighted to have seen you.)

Il est content d’être venu ici il y a un an. (He’s happy that he came here a year ago.)

To express gratitude:
Je vous remercie de m’avoir aidé. (I thank you for helping me.)

Merci de m’avoir envoyé la lettre. (Thank you for sending me the letter.)



Passé Récent


Definition: A verb construction used to express something that just happened.

Formation: Present tense of venir + the preposition de + infinitive of action verb


Je viens de voir Luc.
I just saw Luc.

Il vient d’arriver.
He just arrived.

Nous venons de manger.
We just ate.

Je venais de sortir

I had just gone out


Practice Time:

Past Infinitive

This one combines the past infinitive with some other verbs/vocab.


Tex’s Grammar has a small section on après avoir/être as part of his notes on the infinitive. The whole page is well worth a read. Do all the exercises at the end too.

Passé Récent



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s