Languages › French French Compound Tenses and Moods Temps et modes composés Share Flipboard Email Print franckreporter/E+/Getty Images French Grammar Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Resources For Teachers By ThoughtCo Updated January 27, 2019 Conjugations for the different French verb tenses and moods can be divided into two categories: simple and compound. Simple tenses and moods have only one part (e.g., je vais) whereas compound tenses and moods have two (je suis allé). This lesson will explain everything you need to know about the more complicated compound conjugations.But first, a chart: the simple tense or mood on the left is used to conjugate the auxiliary verb for the compound tense or mood on the right, as demonstrated with the verb avoir (to have). Simple Compound Present tu as (you have) Passé composé tu as eu (you have had) Imperfect tu avais (you were having) Pluperfect tu avais eu (you had had) Passé simple tu eus (you had) Past anterior tu eus eu (you had had) Future tu auras (you will have) Future perfect tu auras eu (you will have had) Conditional tu aurais (you would have) Conditional perfect tu aurais eu (you would have had) Subjunctive tu aies (you have) Past subjunctive tu aies eu (you had) Imperfect subjunctive tu eusses (you were having) Pluperfect subjunctive tu eusses eu (you had had) Imperative (tu) aie ([you] have) Past imperative (tu) aie eu ([you] have had) Present participle ayant (having) Perfect participle ayant eu (having had) Infinitive avoir (to have) Past infinitive avoir eu (to have had) Please note that I have provided (English translations) to give you an idea about the differences in meaning, but there may be other possibilities. For detailed information about each tense and mood, click the links to read the lesson. You might also find this lesson helpful: Translating French verbs into English. See other French verbs conjugated into all the tenses and moods: Simple Compound aller aller avoir avoir être être prendre prendre There are four things you need to know about French compound tenses and moods in order to conjugate and use them correctly. 1. Two-part conjugations Compound tenses/moods are always made up of two parts: the conjugated auxiliary verb (either avoir or être) and the past participle. French verbs are classified by their auxiliary verb, and use it for all compound moods/tenses. That is, avoir verbs use avoir in all of the compound tenses/moods, and être verbs use être in all the compound tenses/moods.In the chart on page 1, the tense/mood in the first column is the conjugation used for the auxiliary verb of the compound tense/mood listed in the second column.For example, aller is an être verb. So the present tense of être, Il est, is the conjugation used for the passé composé of aller: Il est allé (He went).Manger is an avoir verb. The future of avoir, Nous aurons, is the conjugation for the future perfect, Nous aurons mangé (We will have eaten). 2. Agreement There are two different types of agreement with compound tenses and moods, depending on whether you're dealing with être verbs or avoir verbs.Être verbs: In all compound tenses/moods, the past participle of être verbs has to agree with the subject of the sentence in gender and number.Il est allé.He went.Elle était allée.She had gone. Ils seront allés.They will have gone....qu'elles soient allées....that they went.Avoir verbs: The past participle of avoir verbs that are preceded by a direct object must agree with the direct object*Les livres que tu as commandés sont ici.The books that you ordered are here.La pomme ? Je l'aurai mangée.The apple? I will have eaten it. Mes sœurs... vous les aviez vues ?My sisters... had you seen them?*Except for verbs of perception and the causative.When the direct object follows the avoir verb, there is no agreement.As-tu commandé des livres ?Did you order some books?J'aurai mangé la pomme.I will have eaten the apple. Aviez-vous vu mes sœurs ?Had you seen my sisters?There is no agreement with indirect objects.Je leur ai parlé.I talked to them.Il nous a téléphoné.He called us.Learn more about agreement 3. Word order: Pronouns Object, reflexive, and adverbial pronouns always precede the auxiliary verb in compound tenses/moods: Je te l'ai donné.I gave it to you.Il l'avait fait.He had done it. Nous y serons allés.We will have gone there. 4. Word order: Negation Negative structures almost always surround the auxiliary verb** Je n'ai pas étudié.I didn't study.Nous n'aurions jamais su.We would have never known.**Exceptions:a) In the past infinitive, both parts of the negation precede the auxiliary verb:J'espère ne pas avoir perdu.I hope I didn't lose.b) Personne, aucun, and nulle part follow the past participle:Je n'ai vu personne.I didn't see anyone.Je ne l'ai trouvé nulle part.I couldn't find it anywhere. 3+4. Word order with pronouns and negation When the sentence includes a pronoun and negation, the pronoun is placed in front of the auxiliary verb, and then the negative structure surrounds that pair:Subject + ne + pronoun(s) + auxiliary verb + negative word + past participle.Nous n'y serions jamais allés.We would never have gone there.Je ne te l'ai pas donné.I didn't give it to you.For detailed information about the conjugations and uses of the individual compound tenses/moods, follow the links in the summary table on page 1. Other two-verb constructions In addition to compound conjugations (auxiliary verb + past participle), French has other two-verb forms, what I call "dual-verb constructions." These consist of a semi-auxiliary verb plus an infinitive, and the rules regarding agreement and word order are somewhat different - learn more. For more information about how all the different French tenses and moods fit together, take a look at our French verb timeline. Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation ThoughtCo. "French Compound Tenses and Moods." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, thoughtco.com/french-compound-tenses-and-moods-1368821. ThoughtCo. (2020, August 26). French Compound Tenses and Moods. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/french-compound-tenses-and-moods-1368821 ThoughtCo. "French Compound Tenses and Moods." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/french-compound-tenses-and-moods-1368821 (accessed May 6, 2021). copy citation Passé composé: French Compound Past Tense French Verbs That Take 'Être' as Their Auxiliary Verb Introduction to the French Past Infinitive Auxiliary Verbs: French Grammar and Pronunciation Glossary French Perfect Participle ~ Passé Composé du Participe Présent French Pluperfect Subjunctive 'Prendre' (to Take): Compound Conjugations 'Would Have' In French: That's the Past Conditional All About Être, a French Super Verb An Introduction to Translating French Verb Tenses and Moods How to Use French Pronominal Verbs Using French Semi-Auxiliary Verbs How to Use the French Past Subjunctive French Object Pronouns 'Passé Anterieur': An Important French Literary Tense The French Past Perfect (Pluperfect): 'Le Plus-Que-Parfait'