When to use the imperfect tense and the perfect tense

The imperfect tense and the perfect tense are often used together.

The imperfect describes what was going on/what was happening but is interrupted by the perfect (ie something that has suddenly happened):

  • je mangeais quand tu as telephoné - I was eating when you called
  • il faisait beau quand tu es arrivé - it was sunny when you arrived
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