Level B1 - French Music - Passé Composé vs Imparfait

See the passé composé and imperfect tenses used together in this song «Il avait les mots»

Level B1 - French Music - Listening Comprehension

Listening to music in French has so many advantages when you are learning the language, and that’s true even if you are a beginner. Find a song you like and commit yourself to listening to it every day for a few weeks. Listen to it often, and this is very important...Sing along!

I'm including a link to the song Il avait les mots on YouTube. I do not have permission to download this song and include it with this resource. This song is appropriate for adults, but not recommended for minors. There is reference to a young woman having an affair with an older man, and some slang is used.


  • Listening comprehension activity - Fill in the blanks with the verbs you hear either in the imperfect or passé composé tenses. You don't have to choose which tense is to be used, you only need to listen closely and write what you hear.
  • Written French lyrics to the song - I've included VERY helpful explanations as to why the passé composé or imperfect tenses are used, and I've also added translations for all verbs and pronouns (including whether they are slang or not). You can use this as your answer key, so be sure to do the activity first!

What makes this an excellent activity?

In the beginning it doesn’t matter if you don’t understand much. How many songs do you listen to in your native language and you don’t understand exactly what they’re singing? As you sing along you’ll improve your pronunciation because you’ll imitate exactly what you hear.
As time goes on you will begin to understand more of what you’re singing, and especially if you have the lyrics to read as you sing along. You’ll find yourself grasping grammatical structures more clearly, and you’ll learn a ton of vocabulary.
This is a great song to practice the imparfait and passé composé as well as direct object pronouns, reflexive pronouns and indirect object pronouns. Pay close attention to the grammar and vocabulary and you will learn a lot from this song..
You can see that the imparfait is used a lot in this song, but sometimes the passé composé is used as well. Can you figure out why?

This lesson is included in my money saving FRENCH PROGRAM FOR SELF-LEARNERS.

Join the LLL French Academy on Facebook and get to know others in the community!

Questions? Write to me: [email protected]

Your Instructor

Jennifer Crespin
Jennifer Crespin

Jennifer is originally from Louisiana, and has been teaching French for over 20 years. She has been living in France with her husband and children since 2013, and continues to teach French both online and locally. She completed a BA in French and English, and taught French and moved to France for a year before completing an MA degree in French literature and language. While living in the US, she taught French for 15 years at Saint Louis University High School, a Jesuit college preparatory school for young men.

Course Curriculum

  French Listening Comprehension - Grammar and Music
Available in days
days after you enroll

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

Get started now!