Ultimate Guide to French Verbs: Tenses, Conjugations, and Examples

By OptiLingo • 25 minutes read

Learn everything about French verbs, including their tenses and conjugation

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

    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

    To give

    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.

    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.

    Learn French verbs

    -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

      Past tense for French verbs

      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.

      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

      to Drink in past tense French

      French Verbs That Use Étre in the Past Tense

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

      To go aller Il est allé.
      To arrive arriver Il est arrivé.
      To descend descendre Il est descendu.
      To become devenir Il est devenu.
      To enter entrer Il est entré.
      To go up monter Il est monté.
      To die mourir Il est mort.
      To be born naître Il est né.
      To leave partir Il est parti.
      To return rentrer Il est rentré.
      To remain rester Il est resté.
      To return retourner Il est retourné.
      To come back revenir Il est revenu.
      To go out sortir Il est sorti.
      To fall tomber Il est tombé.
      To come venir 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.

      Use imperfect tense to show how things used to be

      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”.

      Imperfait French verbs are very useful to know

      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 taken Vous 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

      Future tense verbs in French

      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:

      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.

      Give back in French future tense

      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

      to make in French is a verb

      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.

      French verbs in conditional tense conjugation

      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.

      to sell in French conditional

      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.

      myself me
      yourself (singular) te
      himself/herself/itself se
      ourselves nous
      yourself (plural) vous
      themselves se

      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.”

      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 time s’amuser
      To be called, names s’appeler
      To sit down s’asseoir
      To go to bed se coucher
      To get dressed s’habiller
      To wash se laver
      To get up se lever
      To be/feel se porter
      To shave se raser
      To be quiet se taire
      To be located se 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 learn apprendre
      To help aider
      To begin commencer
      To teach enseigner
      To invite inviter
      He is teaching me to swim. Il m’enseigne à nager.
      We are beginning to understand. Nous commençons à comprendre.

      French verbs sometimes come with prepositions

      French Verbs That Use “de”

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

      To stop cesser
      To decide décider
      To forbid défendre
      To ask demander
      To tell dire
      To prevent empêcher
      To try essayer/tâcher
      To take care not to se garder
      To fail manquer
      To forget oublier
      To promise promettre
      To refuse refuser
      To remember se souvenir
      He promised that he would try to come Il a promis qu’il tâcherait de venir.
      Don’t fail to go there Ne 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

      Finish learning the French verbs

      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.)

              learn all the French command verbs

              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!

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