French past tenses

I am now starting to learn French now I have a problem do I need to learn the passé simple tense
people tell me the passé compose is more common and the passé simple is used in writing and old literature not for speaking my dictionary did not even cover that tense but I was trying to read childrens book and there it was so do I need to know both

Very common in litterature, probably all kind of litterature, even in children’s books. But nobody uses it for speaking (except for speeches or very formal conversations). It’s not very used also in writing, i.e. for emails, chatting, or letters. But very common in any eras of litterature, even today’s.

  1. présent: je vais
  2. futur: j’irai
  3. imparfait: j’allais
  4. passé composé: je suis allé
  5. conditionnel: j’irais

those are the most common tenses for speaking. It’s good to be aware that subjonctif exists, although most people dont use it correctly*, so dont bother. So like passé simple, just make sure to recognize it, that’s all.

  • for instance: “que j’aie” is written with an ‘e’ at the end". But many people will just write “que j’ai” and nobody will care. Same thing for speaking. “Que j’eusse mangé” will be replace with “que j’ai mangé” because it’s more simple.

The passé compose is more commonly used outside the realm of books and a common tense in books and magasin’s. In contrast passé simple is only used in books, so learning to use this tense in conversation is obsolete because it’s being replace with the passé compose for easier remembering. ( I think) But with the passé simple, you should at least learn to recognize it when you’re reading books or wish to use it in a book your writing.