The intent of this article is to present the particular example of use of 4 tenses in the indicative mood: 'passé composé, imparfait, futur simple, futur antérieur'. This analysis is based on various excerpts of texts dating back to XIXth and XXth centuries. The authoress analyses the influence of a number of factors on the interpretation of particular verbal forms appearing in studied sentences. Research takes into account: category of the verb, its aspect, person, adverbs of time, modality particles, verbs of opinion, certain adverbs (e.g. 'jamais, rarement' and those expressing opposition), type of sentence (negative, interrogative), register (written / spoken language), intonation.