Introduction to the verb bricoler
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The English translation of the French verb bricoler is “to tinker” or “to do odd jobs.” The infinitive form of bricoler is pronounced [bree-koh-leh].
The word bricoler comes from the French noun bricole, which means “small piece of equipment” or “odds and ends.” It is derived from the Old French word bricole, which means “siege engine” and is ultimately of Germanic origin.
In everyday French, bricoler is most often used in the Passé Composé tense, which is the equivalent of the present perfect tense in English. This tense is used to talk about actions that have been completed in the past.
Here are three simple examples of bricoler used in the Passé Composé tense:
- J’ai bricolé toute la journée pour réparer ma voiture. (I tinkered all day to fix my car.)
- Nous avons bricolé ensemble pour construire une maison dans l’arbre. (We tinkered together to build a treehouse.)
- Ils ont bricolé un nouveau jouet en utilisant des matériaux recyclés. (They tinkered a new toy using recycled materials.)
Table of the Passé Composé (Present Perfect) Tense Conjugation of bricoler
||J’ai bricolé une étagère.
||I did some DIY and made a shelf.
||Tu as bricolé un meuble.
||You did some DIY and made a piece of furniture.
||Il a bricolé une lampe.
||He did some DIY and made a lamp.
||Elle a bricolé une décoration.
||She did some DIY and made a decoration.
||On a bricolé une table.
||We did some DIY and made a table.
||Nous avons bricolé une étagère.
||We did some DIY and made a shelf.
||Vous avez bricolé un meuble.
||You did some DIY and made a piece of furniture.
||Ils ont bricolé une lampe.
||They did some DIY and made a lamp.
||Elles ont bricolé une décoration.
||They did some DIY and made a decoration.
Other Conjugations for Bricoler.
Le Present (Present Tense) Conjugation of the French Verb bricoler
Imparfait (Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bricoler
Passé Simple (Simple Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bricoler
Passé Composé (Present Perfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bricoler (this article)
Futur Simple (Simple Future) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bricoler
Futur Proche (Near Future) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bricoler
Plus-que-parfait (Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bricoler
Passé Antérieur (Past Anterior) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bricoler
Futur Antérieur (Future Anterior) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bricoler
Subjonctif Présent (Subjunctive Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bricoler
Subjonctif Passé (Subjunctive Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bricoler
Subjonctif Imparfait (Subjunctive Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bricoler
Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait (Subjunctive Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bricoler
Conditionnel Présent (Conditional Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bricoler
Conditionnel Passé (Conditional Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bricoler
L’impératif Présent (Imperative Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bricoler
L’infinitif Présent (Infinitive Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bricoler
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Bricoler – About the French Passé Composé (Present Perfect) Tense
The French Passé Composé is a compound tense used to express actions or events that have been completed in the past. It is one of the most common past tenses in the French language and is typically used in everyday conversation to describe actions that occurred at a specific point in the past. The Passé Composé is constructed using an auxiliary verb (either “être” or “avoir”) and a past participle.
Formation of the Passé Composé
Set the auxiliary verb with either
“être” – used with a select group of verbs (mostly intransitive verbs of motion, reflexive verbs, and some others) or
“avoir” – used with most other verbs.
Conjugate the auxiliary verb
If using “être,” you must conjugate it in the present tense according to the subject of the sentence.
Je suis, Tu es, Il est, Nous sommes, Vous êtes, Ils sont
If using “avoir,” conjugate it according to the subject as well:
J’ai, Tu as, Elle a, Nous avons, Vous avez, Ils ont.
Add the past participle
For regular -er verbs, remove the -er ending and add -é (e.g., “parler” becomes “parlé”).
For regular -ir verbs, remove the -ir ending and add -i (e.g., “finir” becomes “fini”).
For regular -re verbs, remove the -re ending and add -u (e.g., “vendre” becomes “vendu”).
For irregular verbs, you’ll need to learn the past participles individually, as they don’t follow a regular pattern.
Common everyday usage patterns
Narrating Past Events
The Passé Composé is used to talk about specific actions or events that took place in the past. For example: “Hier, j’ai mangé une pizza” (Yesterday, I ate a pizza).
When describing a series of actions in the past, the Passé Composé is used. For example: “D’abord, je me suis réveillé, puis je suis allé travailler” (First, I woke up, then I went to work).
Describing Completed Actions
It’s used to emphasize that an action has been completed, often with a specific time reference. For example: “Elle a terminé son travail à 18 heures” (She finished her work at 6 p.m.).
Interactions with other tenses
The Passé Composé is often used in conjunction with the imperfect tense when telling a story or describing past events. The Passé Composé is used for specific actions that occurred, while the imperfect is used for background information or ongoing actions.
For example: “Il pleuvait quand j’ai sorti mon parapluie” (It was raining when I took out my umbrella).
Conditional and Future Tenses
The Passé Composé is used as a reference point in complex sentences to establish the sequence of events in relation to future or conditional actions.
For example: “Quand il est arrivé, je lui ai donné ton message” (When he arrived, I gave him your message).
The French Passé Composé is an essential tense for talking about completed actions in the past in everyday conversation. It’s important to master the choice of auxiliary verb and the past participle conjugation for various verbs to use it effectively.
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