Let’s simplify this expression.
What is an infinitive?
- Manger: To eat
- Arriver: To arrive
- Commencer: To begin/start
Now we need to conjugate venir in the present tense, and add de.
We can use the verbs that I’ve just listed to make it more pedagogical.
- Je viens de manger: I just ate.
- Tu viens d’arriver: You just arrived.
- Il/elle vient de commencer: He/she just started.
- Nous venons de manger: We just ate
- Vous venez d’arriver*: You just arrived
- Ils/elles viennent de commencer. They just started
*Why are we only using d’ instead of de? If the following word/noun begins with a vowel, we’ll use d’ instead of de. The pronunciation will now sound better.
We can add any verb (infinitive) to our sentence. I could for instance say:
- Je viens de faire un gâteau : I have just made a cake.
- Je viens d’acheter une voiture: I just bought a car.
Are you starting to get the hang of it?
This expression works in the same way when using plural pronouns. For instance:
- Ils viennent de célébrer leur fête nationale: They have just celebrated their national holiday.
- Elle viennent de teminer leurs études : They have just finished their studies.
So, are you read to do some exercises :-)? If not, I’ve prepared more examples.
- Nous venons de rencontrer notre ami: We just met our friend.
- Il vient de m’appeler*: He just called me.
*This is another example where we remove a vowel: Me becomes m.
Let’s look at a final example:
- Ce que vous venez de faire est dangereux: What you just did is dangerous.
I have changed the order in this phrase. However, the grammatical concept remains the same:
- venez de (venir de) + faire (infinitive).
Do you remember the definition of a reflexive verb?
- Je me réveille – I wake up
We have to add a reflexive pronoun to the verb.
Why is this important in this context?
You have to use the reflexive pronoun when using the construction venir de.
Let’s look at 2 examples:
- Je viens de me réveiller: I just woke up
- Elle vient de se maquiller: She just put on make up
Do you remember the reflexive pronouns?
- Je me réveille
- Tu te réveilles
- Il/elle/on se réveille
- Nous nous réveillons
- Vous vous réveillez
- Ils/elles se réveillent
The reflexive pronoun will change based on the personal pronoun. This sounds more difficult in theory 🙂
Let’s look at 2 examples:
- Nous venons de nous réveiller: We just woke up.
- Elles viennent de se réveiller: They just woke up.
Not that difficult, right? 🙂
Comment: This one might be easy for some.
However, I have noticed that some students conjugate the verb.
Remember that the expression venir+de, will always be followed by the infinitive:
Comment: You need to insert the reflexive pronoun before the infinitive.
How do I know if a verb is reflexive?
You can read my article on reflexive verbs.
Comment: We will only add the reflexive pronoun.
We will not conjugate the reflexive verb.
Remember the rule about the infinitive.
Comment: It’s always a gooda idea to learn the spelling of the conjugations (of venir) 🙂
Venais de + Infinitive
So, venir+de usually means that you just did something.
Let’s stick to the same concept. However, now we want to say “Had just done something”.
There is only on difference: We need to conjugate venir in the imperfect tense
- Je venais (de)
- Tu venais (de)
- Il/elle/on venait (de)
- Nous venions (de)
- Vous veniez (de)
- Ils/elles venaient (de)
Now we can add a verb to these conjugations. Let’s pick 3 new verbs:
- Passer: To spend
- Finir: To finish
- Faire: To do/to make
We could for instance say:
- Je venais de finir mon devoir: I had just finished my assignment.
So, it’s exactly the same concept as before. Let’s look at another phrase:
- Nous venions de passer de bonnes vacances au Pérou: We had just spent a nice holiday in Peru.
And a phrase with faire:
- Il venait de faire le dîner: He had just made dinner.
Last but not least, will the construction of the expression change with reflexive verbs?
No, we will only add the reflexive pronoun, just like before. For instance:
- Elle venait de se réveiller: She had just woken up.
- Je venais de me réveiller: I had just woken up.
Do you still find it difficult to understand? No problem. Leave a comment and I will do my best to help you 🙂