Full Guide to French Verbs: Tenses, Conjugations, Examples | OptiLingo (2023)

Table of Contents
Learn Everything About French Verbs How to Recognize French Verbs Try the App Today! List of the Most Common French Verbs Basics of French Verb Conjugation Present Tense Conjugating French Verbs in the Present Tense -ER Ending (Simple Verbs) -IR Ending -RE Ending Common Irregular Verbs in the Present Tense Past Tense Common Irregular Verbs in the Past Tense French Verbs That Use Étre in the Past Tense Conjugating Étre in the Past Tense According to Gender Negative Past Tense Imperfect Past Tense Imperfect Past Tense for French Verbs Ending in -ER Imperfect Past Tense for French Verbs Ending in -IR Imperfect Past Tense for French Verbs Ending in -RE Pluperfect Tense Future Tense Future Tense Conjugation of Verbs Ending in -ER Future Tense Conjugation of Verbs Ending in -IR Future Tense Conjugation of Verbs Ending in -ER Common Irregular Verbs in the Future Tense An Alternative Future Tense for French Verbs Conditional Tense Common Irregular French Verbs in the Conditional Tense Conditional Tense in the Past Reflexive Verb Tenses List of Common French Reflexive Verbs Infinitives with Special Prepositions French Verbs That Use “à” French Verbs That Use “de” Subjunctive Tense Subjunctive Tense for French Verbs Ending in -ER Subjunctive Tense for French Verbs Ending in -IR Subjunctive Tense for French Verbs Ending in -RE Common Irregular Verbs in the Subjunctive Tense Examples of French Subjunctive Case French Verb Commands Examples of French Command Verbs Learn French Verbs in Their Natural Environment FAQs Videos

Learn Everything About French Verbs

Mastering verb tenses is one of the most crucial parts of learning French. Every sentence in French needs to have a verb to show action. But, French grammar can be quite intimidating. This post can walk you through absolutely everything you need to know about French verbs. So, you can stop worrying about language learning. Discover all the possible tenses, the rules for French verb conjugation, and common examples to enhance your vocabulary.

How to Recognize French Verbs

Verbs are the words in the sentence that show the action. That’s true in every language. But, unlike in English, in French you need to conjugate verbs to fit into the sentence properly. Before we begin unraveling the secrets of French verb conjugation, let’s take a look at what a verb in French can look like.

First, it’s best to be able to identify when you are looking at a verb. There are three endings that indicate a verb:

  1. -er” infinitive ending– the most common type of verb, and they have a regular conjugation
  2. -ir” infinitive ending
  3. -re” infinitive ending

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List of the Most Common French Verbs

This list of common French verbs is the most useful vocabulary you can have. You’ll surely encounter these several times as you’re learning French. So, it’s crucial to be familiar with these French verbs to reach complete fluency.

French Verb

English translation

être

to be

avoir

to have

pouvoir

to be able (can)

faire

to do, to make

mettre

to put, to place

dire

to say, to tell

devoir

to have to , must, to owe

prendre

to take, to catch, to capture

donner

to give, to produce

aller

to go

vouloir

to want, to wish

savoir

to know

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Basics of French Verb Conjugation

Conjugation means that you need to make the verb fit the pronoun in the sentence. There are 6 different pronouns you need to know when you conjugate a French verb.

(Video) French Verbs & Tenses explained in 10 minutes!

  1. Je – I
  2. Tu – you (singular informal)
  3. Il, Elle – he, she
  4. Nous – we
  5. Vous – you (plural) or you (singular formal)
  6. Ils, Elles – them

Now that you know all of the basic French pronouns, we can take a look at all of the tenses and conjugations you can have for French verbs. Don’t worry, we also have examples for you.

Present Tense

The first tense to learn in another language is present tense. You use this to show that something’s happening at the time of speaking. In French, you only have one way to express the present tense.

Conjugating French Verbs in the Present Tense

One thing to note is that the first person plural (“nous”) conjugation does not change, regardless of tense. Whenever you want to say “We….” you will always conjugate it exactly the same, “Nous –ons.” The one exception is “to be;” that is conjugated as “nous sommes” or “we are.”

This is also true of third-person plural (“ils”) – there are no exceptions. You can feel comfortable conjugating because it will always be “Ils –ent.”

The conjugation of the second person plural (“vous”) conjugation is almost always the same. If you aren’t sure, you can fall back on the one shown above (“Vous –ez”) and you will almost always be right. Do take the time to read through the exceptions and practice working them into a conversation.

-ER Ending (Simple Verbs)

The easiest of the three types is verbs ending in “-er,” as well as it being the most common. The following table shows you how to conjugate this verb in the present tense.

Pronoun

French Verb Ending

Example

Translation

-er

Marcher

To walk

Je (I)

-e

Je marche.

I walk. I am walking.

Tu (You – singular)

-es

Tu marches.

You walk. You are walking.

Il/Elle (He/She)

-e

Il marche.

He walks. He is walking.

Nous (We)

-ons

Nous marchons.

We walk. We are walking.

Vous (You – plural)

-ez

Vous marchez.

You all walk. You all are walking.

Ils/Elles (They)

-ent

Ils marchent.

They walk. They are walking.

Useful tips

  1. You likely will not use “tu” when visiting France as it is only for informal use (people you know well). The formal form of singular “you” is “vous” which also serves as the plural you
  2. Though you need to know how to spell them, the singular endings (“-e” and “-es”) and third-person plural endings (“-ent”) are all silent. This will make it easier to get it right when speaking – but you will need to spend time writing them out so that you learn the differences.

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-IR Ending

The following table contains the standard way of conjugating “-ir” verbs. However, you should be aware that a large number of exceptions. We listed a few below the table.

Pronoun

French Verb Ending

Example

Translation

-ir

Finir

To finish

Je (I)

-is

Je finis.

I finish. I am finnishing.

Tu (You – singular)

ies

Tu finis.

You finish. You are finishing.

Il/Elle (He/She)

-it

Il finit.

He finishes. He is finishing.

Nous (We)

-ssons

Nous finissons.

We finish. We are finishing.

Vous (You – plural)

-issez

Vous finissez.

You all finish. You all are finishing.

Ils/Elles (They)

-issent

Ils finissent.

They finish. They are finishing.

  1. All three singular forms sound the same, making it easier to conjugate when you speak. Do take the time to learn how to spell them though as they are not the same conjugation.
  2. There are two verbs that end in “-ir” that do not follow this pattern: “ouvrir” (to open) and “offrir” (to offer). These follow the same conjugation as the “-er” verbs.

-RE Ending

The following table contains the standard way of conjugating “-re” verbs. Like the “-ir” verbs, there are as many exceptions as there are verbs that follow these rules. That doesn’t mean it won’t help, but you will need to spend time looking at the exceptions once you have the baseline down.

Pronoun

French Verb Ending

Example

Translation

-re

Dire

To say

Je (I)

-s

Je dis.

I say. I am saying.

Tu (You – singular)

-s

Tu dis.

You say. You are saying.

Il/Elle (He/She)

-d or -t

Il dit.

He says. He is saying.

Nous (We)

-ons

Nous disons.

We say. We are saying.

Vous (You – plural)

-ez or -es

Vous dites.

You all say. You all are saying.

Ils/Elles (They)

-ent

Ils disent.

They say. They are saying.

  1. All three singular forms sound the same, making it easier to conjugate when you speak. Do take the time to learn how to spell them though as they are not the same conjugation.

Common Irregular Verbs in the Present Tense

The following table shows you the present tense form of common verbs that do not follow these rules in the present tense. This list of 12 French verbs isn’t just useful for their irregularities, they’re also very common in everyday French speech.

Pronoun

Aller
(to go)

Avoir
(to have)

Boire
(to drink)

Connaitre
(to know)

Courir
(to run)

Faire
(to do/make)

Je (I)

Vais

Ai

Bois

Connais

Cours

Fais

Tu (You – singular)

Vas

As

Bois

Connais

Cours

Fais

Il/Elle (He/She)

Va

A

Boit

Connait

Court

Fait

Nous (We)

Allons

Avons

Buvons

Connaissons

Courons

Faisons

Vous (You – plural)

Allez

Avez

Buvez

Connaissez

Courez

Faites

Ils/Elles (They)

Vont

Ont

Boivent

Connaissent

Courent

Font

Pronoun

Lire
(to read)

Mettre
(to put)

Pouvoir
(to be able)

Recevoir
(to receive)

Savoir
(to know)

Vouloir
(to want)

Je (I)

Lis

Mets

Peux

Reçois

Sais

Veux

Tu (You – singular)

Lis

Mets

Peux

Reçois

Sais

Veux

Il/Elle (He/She)

Lit

Met

Peut

Reçoit

Sait

Veut

Nous (We)

Lisons

Mettons

Pouvons

Recevons

Savons

Voulons

Vous (You – plural)

Lisez

Mettez

Pouvez

Recevez

Savez

Voulez

Ils/Elles (They)

Lisent

Mettent

Peuvent

Reçoivent

Savent

Veulent

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Past Tense

The French past tense for verbs isn’t so difficult, but there are a few grammar rules you need to master. The easiest way to follow them is to break them down by the verb endings (just like the present tense). However, before getting to the breakdown, let’s review how to create the past participle in French. In the example, “I have spoken.” is the past participle form while “I spoke.” is the simple past tense.

You will need to conjugate the action verb by adding “-é” (for –ER ending verbs), “-i” or “-u” to it, plus adding the right conjugation of “avoir” (“to have”) before the action verb.

(Video) All 18 French Verb Tenses Explained in 12 Minutes! How Many Do You Know?

I have visited.J’ai visité.
You have visited.Tu as visité.
He has visited.Il a visité.
We have visited.Nous avons visité.
You have visited.Vous avez visité.
They have visited.Ils ont visité.
I have chosen.J’ai choisi.
You have chosen.Tu as choisi.
He has chosen.Il a choisi.
We have chosen.Nous avons choisi.
You have chosen.Vous avez choisi.
They have chosen.Ils ont choisi.
I have lost.J’ai perdu.
You have lost.Tu as perdu.
He has lost.Il a perdu.
We have lost.Nous avons perdu.
You have lost.Vous avez perdu.
They have lost.Ils ont perdu.

This covers the three common ending types.

Common Irregular Verbs in the Past Tense

As you probably remember though, there were a lot of verbs that were exptions to the established rules. The following table will help you with some of the most common irregular past participles.

English Infinitive

French Infinite

French Past Participle

English Past Participle

To have

Avoir

Eu

Had

To drink

Boire

Bu

Drunk

To know

Connaître

Connu

Known

To run

Courir

Couru

Run

To beieve

Croire

Cru

Believed

To owe

Devoir

Ought

To say/tell

Dire

Dit

Said/told

To be

Être

Été

Been

To do/make

Faire

Fait

Done/made

To read

Lire

Lu

read

To put

Mettre

Mis

Put

To offer

Offrir

Offert

Offered

To open

Ouvrir

Ouvert

Opened

To leave

Partir

Parti

Left

To be able

Pouvoir

Pu

Been able

To take

Prendre

Pris

Taken

To receive

Recevoir

Reçu

Received

To laugh

Rire

Ri

Laughed

To know

Savoir

Su

Known

To come

Venir

Venu

Come

To see

Voir

Vu

Seen

To want

Vouloir

Voulu

Wanted

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French Verbs That Use Étre in the Past Tense

Sixteen French verbs use “étre” instead of “avoir” to express the past participle.

To goaller Il est allé.
To arrivearriver Il est arrivé.
To descenddescendre Il est descendu.
To becomedevenir Il est devenu.
To enterentrer Il est entré.
To go upmonter Il est monté.
To diemourir Il est mort.
To be bornnaître Il est né.
To leavepartir Il est parti.
To returnrentrer Il est rentré.
To remainrester Il est resté.
To returnretourner Il est retourné.
To come backrevenir Il est revenu.
To go outsortir Il est sorti.
To falltomber Il est tombé.
To comevenir Il est venue.

Conjugating Étre in the Past Tense According to Gender

Each of these requires a different conjugation of “étre” to agree with the gender and whether the subject is singular or plural. For feminine singular nouns, the past participle ends in “-e.” For masculine plural nouns, the past participle ends in “-s.” For feminine plural nouns, the past participle ends in “-es.”

Note that the sound does not change, but you need to know the correct spelling for writing and reading.

I have left (masculine).Je suis sorti.
I have left (feminine).Je suis sortie.
You have left (masculine/singular).Tu es sorti.
You have left (feminine/singiular).Tu es sortie.
He has left.Il est sorti.
She has left.Elle est sortie.
We have left (masculine).Nous sommes sortis.
We have left (feminine).Nous sommes sorties.
You have left (masculine/plural).Vous êtes sortis. (no “s” if singular formal)
You have left (feminine/plural).Vous êtes sorties. (no “s” if singular formal)
They have left (masculine).Ils sont sortis.

Negative Past Tense

In French, making a sentence have a negative meaning, you add “ne … pas” around the first part of the verb (“être” or “avoir”).

They did not arrive on time.Elles ne sont pas arrivées à temps.
I haven’t paid the bill yet.Je n’ai pas encore payé la note.

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Imperfect Past Tense

When you want to express how things use to be, you do that in the imperfect past tense. French also has this tense for the same purpose, and it follows similar rules as English.

Imperfect Past Tense for French Verbs Ending in -ER

Pronoun

French Verb Ending

Example

Translation

Parler

To speak

Je (I)

-ais

Je parlais.

I spoke. I used to speak.

Tu (You – singular)

-ais

Tu parlais.

You spoke. You used to speak.

Il/Elle (He/She)

-ait

Il parlait.

He spoke. He used to speak.

Nous (We)

-ions

Nous parlions.

We spoke. We used to speak.

Vous (You – plural)

-iez

Vous parliez.

You all spoke. You all used to speak.

Ils/Elles (They)

-aient

Ils parlaient.

They spoke. They used to speak.

Imperfect Past Tense for French Verbs Ending in -IR

Pronoun

French Verb Ending

Example

Translation

Finir

To finish

Je (I)

-ais

Je finissais.

I finished. I used to finish.

Tu (You – singular)

-ais

To finissais.

You finished. You used to finish.

Il/Elle (He/She)

-ait

Il finissait.

He finished. He used to finish.

Nous (We)

-ions

Nous finissions.

We finished. We used to finish.

Vous (You – plural)

-iez

Vous finissiez.

You all finished. You all used to finish.

Ils/Elles (They)

-aient

Ils finissaient.

They finished. They used to finish.

Imperfect Past Tense for French Verbs Ending in -RE

Pronoun

French Verb Ending

Example

Translation

Attendre

To wait

Je (I)

-ais

J’attendais

I waited. I used to wait.

Tu (You – singular)

-ais

Tu attendais

You waited. You used to wait.

Il/Elle (He/She)

-ait

Il attendait.

He waited. He used to wait.

Nous (We)

-ions

Nous attendions.

We waited. We used to wait.

Vous (You – plural)

-iez

Vous attendiez.

You all waited. You all used to wait.

Ils/Elles (They)

-aient

Ils attendaient.

They waited. They used to wait.

“Ais”, “ait” and “aient” are all pronounced the same, like the “e” in “bet”.

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Pluperfect Tense

There is one more way of saying something in the past tense with a slightly nuanced meaning. It is called the pluperfect tense and includes the use of “to have” in English. The French pluperfect tense follows the same pattern.

I had taken.J’avais pris.
You had taken.Tu avais pris.
He had taken.Il avait pris.
We had taken.Nous avions pris.
You all had takenVous aviez pris.
They had taken.Ils avaient pris.
I had fallen.J’étais tombé.
You had fallen.Tu étais tombé.
He had fallen.Il était tombé.
She had fallen.Elle était tombée.
We had fallen.Nous étions tombés.
You all had fallen.Vous étiez tombés.
They had fallen.Ils étaient tombés (masculine).
They ahd fallen.Elles étaient tombées (feminine).

Future Tense

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In English, there’s a simple way to show the future tense: with “will”. But in French you don’t just add a verb for future tense, you also conjugate. And conjugating verbs for future tense isn’t that simple. Fortunately, the different verb endings all follow the same rules and patterns: the infinitive (without its final “e” for the 3rd class of verb) and the same ending. See the examples of this:

(Video) All French Verb Tenses Simplified

Future Tense Conjugation of Verbs Ending in -ER

Pronoun

French Verb Ending

Example

Translation

-er

Donner

To give

Je (I)

-erai

Je donnerai.

I will give.

Tu (You – singular)

-eras

Tu donneras.

You will give.

Il/Elle (He/She)

-era

Il donnera.

He will give.

Nous (We)

-erons

Nous donnerons.

We will give.

Vous (You – plural)

-erez

Vous donnerez.

You all will give.

Ils/Elles (They)

-ont

Ils donneront

They will give .

Future Tense Conjugation of Verbs Ending in -IR

Pronoun

French Verb Ending

Example

Translation

-ir

Bâtir

To build

Je (I)

-irai

Je bâtirai.

I will build.

Tu (You – singular)

-iras

Tu bâtiras.

You will build.

Il/Elle (He/She)

-ira

Il bâtira.

He will build

Nous (We)

-irons

Nous bâtirons.

We will build.

Vous (You – plural)

-irez

Vous bâtirez.

You all will build.

Ils/Elles (They)

-iront

Ils bâtiront.

They will build.

Future Tense Conjugation of Verbs Ending in -ER

Pronoun

French Verb Ending

Example

Translation

-re

Rendre

To give back.

Je (I)

-rai

Je rendrai.

I will give back.

Tu (You – singular)

-ras

Tu rendras.

You will give back.

Il/Elle (He/She)

-ra

Il rendra.

He will give back.

Nous (We)

-rons

Nous rendrons.

We will give back.

Vous (You – plural)

-rez

Vous rendrez.

You all will give back.

Ils/Elles (They)

-ront

Ils rendront.

They will give back.

Notice that all three have the same verb ending, so you only have to worry about the case and plurality to express future tense.

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Common Irregular Verbs in the Future Tense

Many of the verbs that were irregular in the present tense continue to cause problems and be exceptions in the future tense as well. This list of common irregular verbs will help you enhance your vocabulary. They’re all very useful to know.

Pronoun

Aller
(to go)

Avoir
(to have)

Devoir
(must/ought)

Envoyer
(to send)

Étre
(to be)

Faire
(to do/make)

Je (I)

Irai

Aurai

Devrai

Enverrai

Serai

Ferai

Tu (You – singular)

Iras

Auras

Devras

Enverras

Seras

Feras

Il/Elle (He/She)

Ira

Aura

Devra

Enverra

Sera

Fera

Nous (We)

Irons

Aurons

Devrons

Enverrons

Serons

Ferons

Vous (You – plural)

Irez

Aurez

Devrez

Enverrez

Serez

Ferez

Ils/Elles (They)

Iront

Auront

Devront

Enverront

Seront

Feront

Full Guide to French Verbs: Tenses, Conjugations, Examples | OptiLingo (10)

Pronoun

Pouvoir
(to be able)

Recevoir
(to receive)

Savoir
(to know)

Venir
(to come)

Voir
(to see)

Vouloir
(to want)

Je (I)

Pourrai

Recevrai

Saurai

Viendrai

Verrai

Voudrai

Tu (You – singular)

Pourras

Recevras

Sauras

Viendras

Verras

Voudras

Il/Elle (He/She)

Pourra

Recevra

Saura

Viendra

Verra

Voudra

Nous (We)

Pourrons

Recevrons

Saurons

Viendrons

Verrons

Voudrons

Vous (You – plural)

Pourrez

Recevrez

Saurez

Viendrez

Verrez

Voudrez

Ils/Elles (They)

Pourront

Recevront

Sauront

Viendront

Verront

Voudront

An Alternative Future Tense for French Verbs

It’s also possible to avoid using future tense if you feel too bogged down in the other tenses to learn these new verb endings. In English, you do this by using a form of “to be” and “going” – “I am going to go,” “She is going to find it,” and “They are going to be late.” All of these indicate something that will happen (it is a future event), but none of them use the future tense with “will.” It is exactly the same in French.

I am going to go.Je vais y aller.
She is going to find it.Elle va le trouver.
They are going to be late.Ils vont être en retard.
I leave for London on Friday.Je pars pour Londres vendredi

Conditional Tense

As if there weren’t enough tenses, both English and French also have the conditional tense. As the name implies, the structure of the sentence changes based on a condition. “Would” is the most common Engish word associated with this tense – “I would go if the timing were better,” or “They would have found.” There isn’t a word in French to create this tense, but another way to conjugate the verbs. Like the future, it’s based on the infinitive form (without the “e” for 3rd class verbs) to which the endings of imperfect are added.

Full Guide to French Verbs: Tenses, Conjugations, Examples | OptiLingo (11)

English Pronoun

French Verb Ending

Example

Translation

Manger

To eat

Je (I)

-ais

Je mangerais.

I would eat.

Tu (You – singular)

-ais

Tu mangerais.

You would eat.

Il/Elle (He/She)

-ait

Il /Elle mangerait.

He/She would eat.

Nous (We)

-ions

Nous mangerions.

We would eat.

Vous (You – plural)

-iez

Vous mangeriez.

You all would eat.

Ils/Elles (They)

-aient

Ils/Elles mangeraient.

They would eat.

Common Irregular French Verbs in the Conditional Tense

And like all other tenses, there are some verbs that simply refuse to follow the set pattern. It is usually the same set of verbs, which makes it a little easier to remember that you need to adjust the conjugations once you need to say one of these verbs. Nearly all verbs that are irregular in the future tense use the same stem to express the conditional tense.

Pronoun

Aller
(to go)

Avoir
(to have)

Devoir
(must/ought)

Envoyer
(to send)

Étre
(to be)

Faire
(to do/make)

Je (I)

J’irais

J’aurais

Je devrais.

J’enverrais.

Je serais.

Je ferais.

Pronoun

Pouvoir
(to be able)

Recevoir
(to receive)

Savoir
(to know)

Venir
(to come)

Voir
(to see)

Vouloir
(to want)

Je (I)

Je pourrais.

Je recevrais.

Je saurais.

Je viendrais.

Je verrais.

Je voudrais.

Conditional Tense in the Past

To express the conditional tense as a past event in French, you add either “avoir” or “étre” and the past participle. Use the past participle section to determine which form of “to be” to use.

I would have sold it.Je l’aurais vendu.
You would have sold it. vendu (formal)Tu l’aurais vendu. (informal) / Vous l’auriez
She would have sold it.Elle l’aurait vendu.
We would have sold it.Nous l’aurions vendu.
You all would have sold it.Vous l’auriez tous vendu.
They would have sold it.Ils l’auraient vendu.

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I would have left.Je serais parti.
You would have left.Tu serais parti.
She would have left.Elle serait partie.
We would have left.Nous serions partis.
You all would have left.Vous seriez tous partis.
They woud have left.Ils seraient partis.

Reflexive Verb Tenses

All western languages have reflexive verbs – verbs that require both a subject and repetition of that subject after the verb, although English uses them less frequently than most languages. . For example, “I washed myself after I jogged.” You can omit “myself” and the sentence still makes sense. When speaking French, you cannot omit the reflexive pronoun.

myselfme
yourself (singular)te
himself/herself/itselfse
ourselvesnous
yourself (plural)vous
themselvesse

Not only you need to know the right reflexive pronoun, you have to be able to conjugate the verb based on the tense. “To hurry” is a reflexive verb in French. The following show the present tense conjugation of “to hurry.”

(Video) Learn French Conjugation # Discover all the French tenses

I hurry myself.Je me dépêche.
You hurry yourself.Tu te dépêches.
She hurries herself.Elle se dépêche.
We hurry ourselves.Nous nous dépêchons.
You all hurry yourselves.Vous vous dépêchez.
They hurry themselves.Ils/Elles se dépêchent.

It is a little awkward to work in with plural forms because you will repeat the same word twice – “nous nous” and “vous vous.” It takes a little while to get used to it.

List of Common French Reflexive Verbs

To have a good times’amuser
To be called, namess’appeler
To sit downs’asseoir
To go to bedse coucher
To get dresseds’habiller
To washse laver
To get upse lever
To be/feelse porter
To shavese raser
To be quietse taire
To be locatedse trouver

Infinitives with Special Prepositions

This is something that you use all the time in English, with verbs like “to get accustomed to” and “to follow up.” In French, you will need to learn when to use either the preposition “à” or “de” for the verb infinitives that require a preposition.

French Verbs That Use “à”

The following are verbs that use “à” when followed by another verb in the infinitive form.

To learnapprendre
To helpaider
To begincommencer
To teachenseigner
To inviteinviter
He is teaching me to swim.Il m’enseigne à nager.
We are beginning to understand.Nous commençons à comprendre.

Full Guide to French Verbs: Tenses, Conjugations, Examples | OptiLingo (13)

French Verbs That Use “de”

The following are verbs use “de” when followed by another verb in the infinitive form.

To stopcesser
To decidedécider
To forbiddéfendre
To askdemander
To telldire
To preventempêcher
To tryessayer/tâcher
To take care not tose garder
To failmanquer
To forgetoublier
To promisepromettre
To refuserefuser
To rememberse souvenir
He promised that he would try to comeIl a promis qu’il tâcherait de venir.
Don’t fail to go thereNe manquez pas d’y aller.

Subjunctive Tense

The most painful tense in English is the subjunctive tense. It is largely ignored because it sounds so wrong when you use it properly (“If I were to go, I would bring the cups.” is proper subjective, but it is almost cringeworthy because it both looks and sounds completely wrong). However, it is frequently used in French, so it is important to take the time to learn the French subjunctive sentence structure. Since you are not as familiar, it isn’t going to sound wrong to you either, which is one benefit.

Subjunctive Tense for French Verbs Ending in -ER

Pronoun

French Verb Ending

Example

-er

Parler (to speak)

Je (I)

-e

Parle

Tu (You – singular)

-es

Parles

Il/Elle (He/She)

-e

Parle

Nous (We)

-ions

Parlions

Vous (You – plural)

-iez

Parliez

Ils/Elles (They)

-ent

Parlent

Subjunctive Tense for French Verbs Ending in -IR

Pronoun

French Verb Ending

Example

-ir

Finir (to finish)

Je (I)

-isse

Finisse

Tu (You – singular)

-isses

Finisses

Il/Elle (He/She)

-isse

Finisse

Nous (We)

-issions

Finissions

Vous (You – plural)

-issiez

Finissiez

Ils/Elles (They)

-issent

Finissent

Full Guide to French Verbs: Tenses, Conjugations, Examples | OptiLingo (14)

Subjunctive Tense for French Verbs Ending in -RE

Pronoun

French Verb Ending

Example

-re

Vendre (to sell)

Je (I)

-e

Vende

Tu (You – singular)

-es

Vendes

Il/Elle (He/She)

-e

Vende

Nous (We)

-ions

Vendions

Vous (You – plural)

-iez

Vendiez

Ils/Elles (They)

-ent

Vendent

Common Irregular Verbs in the Subjunctive Tense

Pronoun

Aller
(to go)

Faire
(to do/make)

Pouvoir
(to be able)

Prendre
(to take)

Recevoir
(to receive)

Savoir
(to know)

Venir
(to come)

Je (I)

Aille

Fasse

Puisse

Prenne

Reçoive

Sache

Vienne

Tu (You – singular)

Ailles

Fasses

Puisses

Prennes

Reçoives

Saches

Viennes

Il/Elle (He/She)

Aille

Fasse

Puisse

Prenne

Reçoive

Sache

Vienne

Nous (We)

Allions

Fassions

Puissions

Prenions

Recevions

Sachions

Venions

Vous (You – plural)

Alliez

Fassiez

Puissiez

Preniez

Receviez

Sachiez

Veniez

Ils/Elles (They)

Aillent

Fassent

Puissent

Prennent

Reçoivent

Sachent

Viennent

Examples of French Subjunctive Case

  • Expression of desire with “vouloir” and “désirer” (“to want”):
    • I want you to do it. Je veux que vous le fassiez.
  • Emotional expression, such as “regretter” (“to be sorry) and “étre surpris” (to be surprised:
    • I am sorry that they left. Je regrette qu’ils soient parties.
  • Expressing doubt (“douter”).
    • I doubt that he knows it. Je doute qu’il le cache.
  • Impersonal expression, such as “il faut” (it is necessary) and “il est possible” (it is possible).
    • You must go there this morning. Vous devez y aller ce Martin.
  • Following some conjuctions, such as “quoique” (although) and “avant que” (before).
    • Tell me what happened before they arrive. Dis-moi ce qui s’est passé avant qu’ils arrivent.

French Verb Commands

Commands are used more often than most people realize. Remember when you give commands, it is always to second person singular and plural. In English, this is understood so that all you have to say is the verb. For example, “Run!” “Speak!” “Sit!” “Go!” For all of these, the understood subject is “you.”

French follows the same pattern. For commands the endings are the same as with the present, except there is no “s” at for “-er” class of verbs when give an order to a single person.

Run!Cours ! (singular informal)
Courez ! (plural or singular formal)
Speak!Parle ! (s.)
Parlez ! (p.)
Choose!Choisis ! (s.)
Choisissez ! (p.)
Go!Va ! (s.)
Allez ! (p.)

Examples of French Command Verbs

If you prefer to avoid sounding demanding or do not wish to repeat the same polite “please” every time you have to give a command, you can use “vouloir” (to want) and “bien” to turn a command into a request.

  • Will you please speak louder? Voulez-vous (bien) parlez plus fort?
  • Will you please leave the key? Voulez-vous (bien) laisser la clé.

There are times when you need to issue a command in the first person plural. The most commonly used version of this is “Let’s go!” It’s a command, but it comes across and enthusiastic. It does not require softening, but does require you to conjugate verbs to the first person plural form.

  • Allons! – Let’s go!
  • Lisons! – Let’s read!
  • Commençons! – Let’s start!
  • Mangeons! – Let’s eat!

Be there at noon. Soyez-là à midi.It probably does not come as a surprise that “to be” or “être” is conjugated different than other verbs even in the command form.

  • Let’s be happy. Soyons heureux.

Learn French Verbs in Their Natural Environment

If you want to learn more verbs easily, you need to try OptiLingo. This language learning app isn’t just convenient and fun, it’s also extremely useful. It’s a collection of the most common French words and phrases, aka the best of French vocabulary. You can learn exactly how the locals speak with OptiLingo.

Best of all though, you don’t have to worry about conjugating French verb tenses. All of these phrases are already conjugated, so you can learn them in their natural environment. Don’t waste time trying to cram useless French grammar. Achieve French fluency easily by downloading OptiLingo today!

(Video) French Verb Conjugation Practice with 50 French Sentences : 3 common verbs - aller, avoir, être

FAQs

How do you conjugate verbs in all tenses in French? ›

French verbs are conventionally divided into three conjugations (conjugaisons) with the following grouping:
  1. 1st group: verbs ending in -er (except aller, envoyer, and renvoyer).
  2. 2nd group: verbs ending in -ir, with the gerund ending in -issant.
  3. 3rd group: verbs ending in -re (with the exception of irregular verbs).

What are examples of conjugated verbs in French? ›

To set you up, here are the 20 most common French verbs conjugations, examples of their use in everyday life, and grammar tips.
  • Être (to be)
  • Avoir (to have)
  • Aller (to go)
  • Parler (to speak/talk)
  • Faire (to do)
  • Prendre (to take)
  • Vouloir (to want)
  • Savoir (to know)
Sep 12, 2022

What is conjugation of verbs with examples? ›

Conjugation of verbs is the linguistic process in which a verb changes its form in order to reflect aspects like person, number, tense, mood, etc. Changes in the verb can be by way of inflections, changes in the spelling, usage of helping verbs and so on.

What are the 17 movement verbs in French? ›

Common French Verbs of Motion
  • aller (to go) → allé(e)(s)
  • descendre (to go or step down) → descendu(e)(s)
  • monter (to go or step up) → monté(e)(s)
  • sortir (to go out) → sorti(e)(s)
  • partir (to leave) → parti(e)(s)
  • venir (to come) → venu(e)(s)
  • revenir (to come back) → revenu(e)(s)
  • rester (to stay) → resté(e)(s)
Nov 24, 2021

What order should I learn the French verb tenses? ›

It's best to learn the different verb tenses gradually. They are usually tackled in the following order: present, immediate future, recent past, perfect, future, imperfect, conditional (present and past). Then come the pluperfect, subjunctive or past historic.

What is the best way to learn verb conjugations? ›

An effective way to study and learn these different conjugations is to use two stacks of flashcards simultaneously. One stack will consist of verbs, and the other stack will be the pronouns.

What are the 3 steps strategies to learn verb conjugations? ›

Practically speaking, learning to conjugate verbs in a new language is a three-step process:
  • Learn about a conjugation pattern.
  • Get example sentences and supplementary resources.
  • Memorize.
Jun 14, 2017

What are the 6 conjugations? ›

To be verb conjugation

In English, we have six different persons: first person singular (I), second person singular (you), third person singular (he/she/it/one), first person plural (we), second person plural (you), and third person plural (they).

What are the 4 conjugations? ›

  • The Present Indicative (amō), showing the Present Stem.
  • The Present Infinitive (amā-re), showing the Present Stem.
  • The Perfect Indicative (amāv-ī), showing the Perfect Stem.
  • The neuter of the Perfect Participle (amāt-um), or, if that form is not in use, the Future Active Participle (amāt-ūrus), showing the Supine Stem.

How do you teach verb conjugation? ›

They will have taught. They will not have taught.
...
Conjugation of verb To teach.
AffirmativeNegativeInterrogative
I teach.I do not teach.Do I teach?
You teach.You do not teach.Do you teach?
He/She/It teaches.He/She/It does not teach.Does he/she/it teach?
We teach.We do not teach.Do we teach?
2 more rows

What are the 5 steps to conjugate a verb? ›

Match
  1. write out pronoun chart.
  2. write and define infinitive.
  3. find stem of verb and drop the ending.
  4. put stem of verb beside each pronoun.
  5. add appropriate verb endings.

What are the rules of conjugation? ›

Conjugating a verb takes it from the infinitive form (“to” + verb) and gives it a subject and a tense.
...
Use the Right Verb Tense
  • present tense - You look at me. I ask you a question. ...
  • past tense - You looked at me. I asked you a question. ...
  • future tense - You will look at me.

What are the Super 7 verbs in French? ›

The Super 7™ Verbs by Terry Waltz in French
  • C'est / elle est / il est.
  • Il y a.
  • Elle a / Il a.
  • Elle veut / Il veut.
  • Elle va / Il va.
  • Elle peut / Il peut.
  • Elle aime / Il aime.
Apr 22, 2022

What are the big 4 verbs in French? ›

Big 4 French verbs
  • etre = to be.
  • avoir = to have.
  • aller = to go.
  • faire = to do.

What are the 12 rules of tenses? ›

All Tenses Rules
TensesTenses Rule
Past Continuous tenseSubject + was + V1 + ing + Object (Singular) Subject + were + V1 + ing + Object (Plural)
Past perfect continuous tenseSubject + had been + V1 + ing + Object
Present Simple tenseSubject + V1 + s/es + Object (Singular) Subject + V1 + Object (Plural)
9 more rows

What is the hardest tense in French? ›

6) Le subjonctif (The Subjunctive Tense)

This is notoriously one of the most difficult tenses for native English-speakers to learn.

How many French tenses do I need to know? ›

French grammar is on the more complicated side as grammar systems go. You have languages like Indonesian with no verb tenses, which makes French's 21 different verb forms seem pretty complex. In general, grammar experts believe there are three main tenses: past, present, and future.

How do you teach verb tenses in a fun way? ›

8 Fun Tenses Games & Activities for Kids
  1. Making questions. There are chances that your child has difficulty forming questions in different tenses. ...
  2. Quiz. ...
  3. Sing it out loud. ...
  4. Name the tenses. ...
  5. Match-up LEGO bricks. ...
  6. Tell a story from a picture. ...
  7. Let the characters teach. ...
  8. Listen and say.
Dec 11, 2021

What language has the easiest conjugation? ›

1) Esperanto.

Because of that goal, Esperanto has a simple grammar, easy rules and a lot of words that resemble words from other languages.

What are the 5 principal parts of a verb? ›

English verbs have 5 principal parts with which other forms are derived using verb auxiliaries: base/stem, simple past/present, past participle, present participle and the infinitive (the “name” of the verb).

What is the difference between an infinitive and a conjugated verb? ›

Generally, infinitive form is the to + verb base form. For example, the verb we will use below is the verb to work. Verb Conjugation means to change the verb from its infinitive form so that it matches with the subject in a sentence.

What are the 2 ways to conjugate a verb in the simple future? ›

The endings for the simple future are: -ai, -as, -a, -ons, -ez, -ont. The future stem for -er and -ir verbs is the infinitive. For regular -re verbs, the stem is the infinitive minus the final e.

How can I practice tenses at home? ›

Tenses Exercise
  1. When I opened my eyes, I ………………. a strange sight. ...
  2. Every morning she …………….. up early and gets ready for work. ...
  3. If I knew what he wanted, I ………………. ...
  4. I ………………….. anything from her in a long time. ...
  5. The headmaster ……………… to talk to you. ...
  6. Jane ………………. ...
  7. We ..................... ...
  8. The moon …………….. around the earth.
Sep 12, 2017

What are the 3 main tenses used all the time? ›

There are three main verb tenses: past, present, and future. In English, each of these tenses can take four main aspects: simple, perfect, continuous (also known as progressive), and perfect continuous. The perfect aspect is formed using the verb to have, while the continuous aspect is formed using the verb to be.

How do you master tenses? ›

Separate them - Separate the tenses as we've done - the past, the present, and the future. Focus on a single category - Don't go learning all the tenses at once. Take your time, otherwise, there'll be confusion. Start from the past, master it, and then move on.

What are the 3 types of infinitives? ›

The infinitive has four other forms: the perfect infinitive, the continuous infinitive, the perfect continuous infinitive, and the passive infinitive.

What language has the most conjugations? ›

While English has a relatively simple conjugation, other languages such as French and Arabic or Spanish are more complex, with each verb having dozens of conjugated forms. Some languages such as Georgian and Basque have highly complex conjugation systems with hundreds of possible conjugations for every verb.

How do you find the conjugate? ›

You find the complex conjugate simply by changing the sign of the imaginary part of the complex number. To find the complex conjugate of 4+7i we change the sign of the imaginary part. Thus the complex conjugate of 4+7i is 4 - 7i.

What is the first conjugation in French? ›

The first conjugation is typified by the verb aimer. It includes all verbs in -er except for aller, and envoyer and its derivatives. Some first-conjugation verbs take the regular endings but have spelling changes in the verb root, usually to preserve pronunciation, or due to shifts in the location of the stress.

What conjugation is Tu YY? ›

Spanish Verbs and Subject-Verb Agreement
SingularPlural
1st person--Juan y yo / tú y yo hablamos
2nd person--tú y ella / tu y tu padre habláis
3rd personJuan / el chico, etc. hablaLos chicos / mi papá y mi tío / Juan y él, etc. hablan
HOME

How many verb conjugations are there? ›

The simple tenses (past, present, and future) are the most basic forms, but there are 12 major verb tenses in English in all.

What are the 14 irregular verbs in French? ›

Common Irregular French Verbs
  • Je vais. Tu vas. Il/Elle va. Nous allons. ...
  • J'ai. Tu as. Il/Elle a. Nous avons. ...
  • Je dis. Tu dis. Il/Elle dit. Nous disons. ...
  • Je suis. Tu es. Il/Elle est. Nous sommes. ...
  • Je fais. Tu fais. Il/Elle fait. Nous faisons. ...
  • Je peux. Tu peux. Il/Elle peut. Nous pouvons. ...
  • Je sais. Tu sais. Il/Elle sait. ...
  • Je vois. Tu vois. Il/Elle voit.

What is the most difficult part of learning French? ›

All that doesn't make the life of native English speakers easier when learning the French language. We have some good news, though. The three issues mentioned above – gender, conjugation, and subjunctive mood – are the most challenging aspects of French grammar.

Which tense to teach first? ›

You'd usually want to say a lot about yesterday, about now and about tomorrow, so you need to learn these tenses first: Past Simple, Present Progressive (Continuous) and Future Simple. In addition, there is one more basic tense used in English that describes facts and things in general.

What are the 14 verb tenses? ›

In total, there are 14 (7 simple and 7 compound): Present, Imperfect, Preterite, Future, Conditional, Present Perfect, Pluperfect, Preterit Perfect, Future Perfect, Conditional Perfect, Present Subjunctive, Imperfect Subjunctive, Present Perfect Subjunctive, and Pluperfect Subjunctive.

How does French conjugation work? ›

French has simple and compound tenses. Simple tenses are conjugated by just changing the verb, while compound tenses use an auxiliary (être or avoir) together with the verb. For example: Je parle.

What is the first step in conjugating? ›

To conjugate the verb, the first step is to drop the infinitive ending (“er”) and add the ending that is specific to the subject (e, es, e, ons, ez, ent ).

How do you start a conjugation? ›

Conjugation English verb to start
  1. Simple present. I start. ...
  2. Present progressive/continuous. I am starting. ...
  3. Simple past. I started. ...
  4. Past progressive/continuous. I was starting. ...
  5. Present perfect simple. I have started. ...
  6. Present perfect progressive/continuous. I have been starting. ...
  7. Past perfect. ...
  8. Past perfect progressive/continuous.

How do you conjugate etre in all tenses? ›

Compound Tenses for the Verb Être
  1. J'ai été impressionné I was impressed.
  2. Tu as été très clair. You were very clear.
  3. Il a été bouleversé He was devastated.
  4. Nous avons été fatigués. We were tired.
  5. Vous avez été si tendu. You were so tense.
  6. Ils ont été bouleversé They were devastated.
Dec 9, 2019

What are the endings for all French tenses? ›

There are three endings that indicate a verb:
  • “-er” infinitive ending– the most common type of verb, and they have a regular conjugation.
  • “-ir” infinitive ending.
  • “-re” infinitive ending.

What is the rule of all tenses? ›

All Tenses Rules
TensesTenses Rule
Past Continuous tenseSubject + was + V1 + ing + Object (Singular) Subject + were + V1 + ing + Object (Plural)
Past perfect continuous tenseSubject + had been + V1 + ing + Object
Present Simple tenseSubject + V1 + s/es + Object (Singular) Subject + V1 + Object (Plural)
9 more rows

How do you use all tenses correctly? ›

Using the Correct Tense
  1. Tense Guideline 1: Keep the same tense if everything happens in the same time frame.
  2. Tense Guideline 2: Change the tense to show a change in time from one event to another event.
  3. Tense Guideline 3: When changing tenses, use signal words to show the change.
  4. Tense Signal Words.

What are the 6 forms of être? ›

#1 Être In The Present Tense
  • je suis (I am)
  • tu es (you are)
  • il/elle est (he/she/it is)
  • nous sommes (we are)
  • vous êtes (you are)
  • ils/elles sont (they are)

What are examples of Je suis? ›

In French, je suis (pronounced ʒə sɥi or juh-swee) means “I am”. For example, “Je suis desolé (I'm sorry) and “Je suis fatigué (I'm tired).

What verb is vais? ›

The conjugation of "aller" (to go) in the present tense is: je vais.

What are 12 tenses with example? ›

ENGLISH GRAMMAR TENSES TABLE
TENSESEXAMPLES
Present SimpleHe plays a game every Sunday.
Past SimpleHe played a game every Sunday.
Future SimpleHe will / is going to play the game every Sunday.

What are the 16 types of tenses with examples? ›

What are the 16 tenses in English?
PresentPast
SimpleI walkI walked
ProgressiveI am walkingI was walking
PerfectI have walkedI had walked
Perfect ProgressiveI have been walkingI had been walking

What is the easiest way to understand tenses? ›

  • Divide them into past, present and future tenses.
  • Divide them into pairs.
  • Practice with online exercises and apps.
  • Create your own sentences.
  • Watch series, movies and videos to see tenses in context.
  • Create flashcards for each tense and how they are used.
  • Create your own short stories.
  • Read, read, read!
Aug 16, 2022

What is the easiest way to identify tenses? ›

Here's a really simple guide to help you remember which is which!
  1. It's happening right now. ...
  2. It's happening right now – and continuing. ...
  3. It was happening in the past – and is still happening now. ...
  4. It happened in the past. ...
  5. It was happening – then it got interrupted! ...
  6. It's going to happen in the future.

Videos

1. How to conjugate French verbs - French tenses explained
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2. French conjugation - How to memorize French verbs (5 EASY Tips)
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3. Basic French Verb Conjugation - (Present Tense)
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4. 70+ Common French Verbs with Conjugation · Présent, Futur & Imparfait
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5. 50 French verbs conjugated in the Present tense #1
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6. Irregular French Verbs: Present Tense Conjugations
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