French/Grammar/Tenses/Past infinitive

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In French, the two forms of the infinitive are present and past. Read on below to learn more about the past infinitive.


The past infinitive is composed of avoir or être in infinitive form and the past participle of a verb.

  • avoir parlé - having spoken
  • être allé(e)(s) - having gone

Note that both avoir and être translate to having in English. This is the same in all composed tenses. The past participle may have an -e or -s added in order to agree with other parts of the sentence. All standard agreement rules that composed tenses follow apply to the past infinitive as well.

  • Je suis content(e) d'avoir été là. - I am happy of having been there.
  • Je suis content(e) de les avoir vu(e)s. - I am happy of having seen them.

To make the past infinitive negative, add ne pas in front of avoir or être.

  • Je suis content(e) de ne pas avoir été là. - I am happy of not having been there.


The past infinitive is always used only after prepositions, such as de, après, or sans.

  • Je suis parti(e) sans avoir entendu la fille. - I left without having heard the girl.
  • Je suis parti(e) après avoir entendu la fille. - I left after having heard the girl.

To express a similar idea without a preposition, the composed present participle is used.

  • Je suis parti(e) ayant entendu la fille. - I left having heard the girl.