How to Conjugate Verbs in French

In many languages, the main verb in a sentence may change according to the subject and the context. In grammar, this process is called conjugation.  French verbs also go through conjugation. Here, we will learn how to conjugate verbs in French. However, it is important to know the different pronouns that act as the subject before learning about conjugation.

French Subject Pronouns

Singular:

Je – I

Tu – You

Il – He

Elle – She 

*On – One

Plural:

Nous – We

*Vous – You

Ills – They (masculine)

Elles – They (feminine)

* Vous is also used formally to one person, but the conjugation pattern remains plural.

* On can sometimes mean we, but the conjugation pattern remains singular.

How to Conjugate Verbs in French

Just like in English, verbs can be loosely categorised as regular and irregular verbs. Regular verbs follow a regular conjugation pattern whereas irregular verb conjugations can only be learnt by memorising. The regular verbs can be categorized in to three groups, and each of these groups has predictable conjugation pattern. These groups are known as -er, -ir, and -re.

Conjugation of -ER verbs

-er verb group contains verbs whose infinitive ends with the letters –er. Most of the verbs in the French language belong to this group.

Conjugating –er verbs is easy because all you have to do is remove the –er at the end of the infinitive verb and add subject specific endings. The endings in the present tense include

Je – e

Tu – es

Il/Elle/On – e

Nous – ons

Vous – ez,

Ils/Elles – ent

Given below is an example of Aimer.

J’aime

Tu aimes

Il/elle/on aime

Nous aimons

Vous aimez

Ils/elles aimentHow to Conjugate Verbs in French

Examples

Some Examples of –ER verb Conjugations in Present Tense

 

Donner

Chanter

Parler

Visiter

Je

donne

chante

parle

visite

Tu

donnes

chantes

parles

visites

Il/Elle

donne

chante

parle

visite

Nous

donnons

chantons

parlons

visitons

Vous

donnez

chantez

parlez

visitez

Ils/Elles

donnent

chantent

parlent

visitent

Note: Aller (to go) is a very common French verb that ends with -er. However, it cannot be conjugated in this pattern because it is an irregular verb.

Conjugation of –IR verbs

-ir verbs are more somewhat more difficult to conjugate than –er verbs since not all –ir verbs follow the same conjugation pattern.

But, the method of conjugating is still the same: remove the –ir ending from the infinitive and add the specific endings. The endings in present tense include

Je – is

Tu – is

Il/Elle – it

Noun – issons

 Vous – issez

Ils/Elles – issent

Examples

 

Finir

Choisir 

Réussir

Je

Finis

Choisis

Réussis

Tu

Finis

Choisis

Réussis

Il/Elle

Finit

Choisit

Réussit

Nous

Finissons

Choisissons

Réussissons

Vous

Finissez

Choisissez

Réussissez

  Ils/Elles

Finissent

Choisissent

Réussissent

Conjugation of –RE Verbs

-re verbs are the verbs that end in –re. They are also conjugated in the same way as –er and –ir verbs. The ending –re is removed from the infinitive verb and the specific –re endings are added.

Je – s

Tu – s

Il/Elle – no ending

Vous – ons

Nous – ez

Ils/Elles – ent

How to Conjugate Verbs in French - 2

Examples

 

Vendre

Perdre

Descendre

Je

vends

perds

descends

Tu

vends

perds

descends

Il/Elle

vend

perd

descend

Vous

vendez

perdez

descendez

Nous

vendons

perdons

descendons

Ils/Elles

vendent

perdent

descendent

Present endings of -er, -ir, and -re verbs

How to Conjugate Verbs in French

*This article deals with conjugating verbs in the present tense.

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.


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