J’ai poireauté pendant trois-quarts d’une heure.

J’ai poireauté pendant trois-quarts d’une heure.

zhay pwah-ro-tay pah-dah trwah kaar dew nuhr. Click below to hear this.

I waited for three-quarters of an hour.

Is this a post about how to cook leek soup? I thought un poireau was a leek!

And you thought correctly. Not about the soup, but about the leeks. Have you ever seen leeks growing? They don’t flop over like their cousins the chives. They stand up straight with their little toesies planted in the cool ground, like this.

So when someone has left you planted there, cooling your heels, you can complain about it later to your Facebook friends with this expression: J’ai poireauté pendant trois-quarts d’une heure.

If, however, you want to complain on the spot to the face of the person who made you wait, the grammar changes a bit. Instead of J’ai poireauté pendant…, you say Je poireaute depuis… and then the expression of time. The English equivalent is I have been waiting for/since…. Note that because you are still planted in the same spot where you have been waiting, you use the present tense in French.

This sequence-of-tenses thing is not at all obvious. The best thing to do is to memorize today’s companion expressions and repeat them to yourself until they sound natural and “right”. They will serve as a touchstone for those occasions when you need to make up your own sentences.

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