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Verbs | Les verbes

Conjugation | La conjugaison



This verb section is a quick, simple reference tool to assist with writing assignments. Listed are a few examples of high frequency verbs, basic conjugation rules and some anomalies.

This verb section is not an exhaustive or comprehensive list of all possible verbs, tenses and rules.

A verb is often defined as a word which indicates an action or a state of being.

Types of Verbs

There are two basic categories of verbs in French, regular verbs and irregular verbs. Each of these is further categorized into er verbs, ir verbs and re verbs.

Regular verbs generally follow a specific pattern for conjugation.
Irregular verbs do not follow a specific pattern for conjugation.

Conjugating Être and Avoir

The best way to learn how to conjugate verbs in French is by starting with the important ones: être and avoir.

The verbs être and avoir are two of the most important irregular verbs in French. They form the base to any past tenses and many other grammatical rules of the language.

Conjugating Verbs in Indicatif présent

Conjugating Regular 'ER' Verbs

It is best to learn regular er verbs, as a large number of regular verbs in French belong to this particular category. Most verbs that belong to this category have the same endings:

'e' for je,
'es' for tu,
'e' for il/elle,
'ons' for nous,
'ez' for vous,
'ent' for ils/elles.

Remember to drop the er from the infinitive (the basic, unconjugated form of a verb, sometimes called the name of the verb: to talk = parler), and add the given endings to their respective pronouns.

Conjugating Regular 'IR' Verbs

Once you have mastered the conjugation of er verbs, you could go on to conjugate some regular ir verbs. The rules do not change here. The only thing that changes is the endings. Most verbs that belong to this category have the same endings:

'is' for je,
'is' for tu,
'it' for il/elle,
'issons' for nous,
'issez' for vous,
'issent' for ils/elles.

Remember to drop the ir from the infinitive and add the given endings to their respective pronouns.

Conjugating Regular 'RE' Verbs

This group does not have as many verbs as the first two. The re regular verbs are just as simple to conjugate. The endings for these verbs are:

's' for je,
's' for tu,
'_' for il/ elle, (simply drop the re ending of the verb ) i.e. prendre = il prend
'ons' for nous,
'ez' for vous,
'ent' for ils/ elles.

Remember to drop the re from the infinitive and add the given endings to their respective pronouns.

Conjugating Verbs in Passé Composé

Passé composé is the most commonly used past tense. Passé composé is formed using an auxiliary verb and the past participle of a verb. The auxiliary verb is typically avoir (to have) but sometimes être (to be).

 To form the past participle for er verbs, drop the -er and add -é.
   auxiliary  past participle
 parler (to speak)   - er  +  é = parlé (spoken)     –     j’  ai  parlé
     
 To form the past participle for regular ir verbs, drop the -ir and add -i.
   auxiliary  past participle
 finir (to finish) - ir   +  i   = fini (finished)        -     j’  ai  fini
     
 To form the past participle for regular re verbs, drop the -re and add -u.
   auxiliary  past participle
 vendre (to sell)    - re   +  u   = vendu (sold)    -     j’  ai  vendu