Passé Simple (Simple Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb creuser

Introduction to the verb creuser

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The English translation of the French verb “creuser” is “to dig.” The infinitive form “creuser” is pronounced as kruh-zey.

The word “creuser” comes from the Latin word “excurvāre,” which means “to hollow out” or “to dig.” It is most often used in everyday French in the Passé Simple (Simple Past) tense, which is one of the literary past tenses and is used mainly in written French.

Here are three simple examples of “creuser” in the Passé Simple tense, along with their English translations:

  1. Je creusai un trou dans le jardin. (I dug a hole in the garden.)
  2. Il creusa une tranchée pour installer les câbles. (He dug a trench to install the cables.)
  3. Elle creusa profondément pour trouver de l’eau. (She dug deep to find water.)

Table of the Passé Simple (Simple Past) Tense Conjugation of creuser

Pronoun Conjugation Short Example English Translation
Je creusai Je creusai un trou. I dug a hole.
Tu creusas Tu creusas un puits. You dug a well.
Il creusa Il creusa un tunnel. He dug a tunnel.
Elle creusa Elle creusa un sillon. She dug a furrow.
On creusa On creusa une tranchée. One dug a trench.
Nous creusâmes Nous creusâmes une fosse. We dug a pit.
Vous creusâtes Vous creusâtes un canal. You dug a canal.
Ils creusèrent Ils creusèrent une grotte. They dug a cave.
Elles creusèrent Elles creusèrent un trou. They (feminine) dug a hole.

Other Conjugations for Creuser.

Le Present (Present Tense) Conjugation of the French Verb creuser

Imparfait (Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb creuser

Passé Simple (Simple Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb creuser (You’re reading it right now!)

Passé Composé (Present Perfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb creuser

Futur Simple (Simple Future) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb creuser

Futur Proche (Near Future) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb creuser

Plus-que-parfait (Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb creuser

Passé Antérieur (Past Anterior) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb creuser

Futur Antérieur (Future Anterior) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb creuser

Subjonctif Présent (Subjunctive Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb creuser

Subjonctif Passé (Subjunctive Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb creuser

Subjonctif Imparfait (Subjunctive Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb creuser

Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait (Subjunctive Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb creuser

Conditionnel Présent (Conditional Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb creuser

Conditionnel Passé (Conditional Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb creuser

Conditionnel Passé II (Conditional Past II) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb creuser

L’impératif Présent (Imperative Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb creuser

L’impératif Passé (Imperative Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb creuser

L’infinitif Présent (Infinitive Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb creuser

L’infinitif Passé (Infinitive Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb creuser

Le Participe Présent (Present Participle) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb creuser

Le Participe Passé (Past Participle) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb creuser

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Creuser – About the French Passé Simple (Simple Past) Tense

The French Passé Simple, also known as the Simple Past or Preterite, is a past tense used in written French to describe completed actions that took place at a specific point in the past.
It is not commonly used in everyday spoken language, where the Passé Composé is the preferred past tense. The Passé Simple is mainly found in literature, formal writing, and historical contexts. It has a somewhat limited use in modern French, and its conjugation can be complex.  
NOTE: To take a deep dive into all the French tenses then see our article on Mastering French Tense Conjugation.

Formation

The Passé Simple is formed by conjugating the verb according to its specific endings for regular and irregular verbs. The endings typically vary based on the verb group (i.e., -er, -ir, or -re). For example:
   – For regular -er verbs (e.g., manger, parler): Remove the -er ending and add appropriate endings, like -ai, -as, -a, -âmes, -âtes, -èrent.
   – For regular -ir verbs (e.g., finir, choisir): Remove the -ir ending and add endings like -is, -is, -it, -îmes, -îtes, -irent.
   – For regular -re verbs (e.g., vendre, attendre): Remove the -re ending and add endings like -is, -is, -it, -îmes, -îtes, -irent.

Usage

Narration

The Passé Simple is commonly used in literature to describe past events in a narrative or storytelling context.

Historical Context

It can be used in historical writing or documents to discuss events that took place in the past.
Formal Writing
In formal or academic writing, especially in essays or reports, you might encounter the Passé Simple.

Interactions with other tenses

Passé Composé

In everyday spoken French, the Passé Composé is the go-to tense for describing completed actions in the past. The Passé Simple is not commonly used in spoken language and is often replaced by the Passé Composé.

Imparfait

While the Passé Simple focuses on completed actions in the past, the Imparfait is used to describe ongoing or habitual actions in the past. They can sometimes be used together to provide a more detailed past narrative. For example, “Il lisait un livre quand il reçut un appel.” (He was reading a book when he received a call).

Conditional and Subjunctive

The Passé Simple can also be found in the conditional and subjunctive moods in formal writing. For instance, “Il faudrait qu’il partît” (He should leave, subjunctive).

Summary

The French Passé Simple is primarily used in formal or literary contexts, and its conjugation can be quite complex. In everyday spoken French, the Passé Composé is the preferred past tense for describing completed actions.

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