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French Conjugation: The Current Tense

French conjugation refers back to the totally different endings of French verbs.

For instance, consider the verb “to talk”, which in French is parler. In English, the verb is identical whether or not it’s I communicate, you communicate, or they communicate.

In French, the verb modifications:

  • Je parle – “I communicate”
  • Tu parles – “You communicate”
  • Ils parlent – “They communicate”.

We’ve got conjugation in English, as a result of our verb endings change, too. For instance, you don’t say “she communicate”, you say “she speaks”.

Once you’re studying these French conjugations as a local English speaker, it will probably really feel scary, nevertheless it doesn’t must be.

French Conjugation Can Be Simple

Do you discover French conjugation scary? If sure, you aren’t alone. Many learners assume the identical, particularly to start with.

Once I was a secondary college scholar studying French, it appeared inconceivable to learn to conjugate probably the most primary verbs, not to mention grasp French conjugation.

Even so, I made a decision to review languages at college. I lived in France and Belgium, and ended up instructing French to folks from everywhere in the world.

In the present day, I communicate French each day.

The conjugations that scared me a lot come naturally to me now. If I may return in time and apply the information I had as we speak, I might have change into fluent sooner.

So as a substitute, I’ll share it with you!

The three Sorts of Verbs in French

To grasp French conjugation, it is advisable to know the several types of French verbs. We will divide French verbs into three teams:

  • First group verbs: common verbs ending with -er, like parler
  • Second group verbs: common verbs ending with -ir, like choisir
  • Third group verbs: irregular verbs that don’t observe a particular rule, like faire

What’s the distinction between common and irregular verbs? The conjugation of irregular verbs doesn’t observe a sample, like with common verbs.

Take a look at this desk which compares the common verb parler (“to talk”) to the irregular verb être (“to be”)

Parler (common verb) Être (irregular verb)
je parle je suis
tu parles tu es
il/elle parle il/elle est
nous parlons nous sommes
vous parlez vous êtes
ils/elles parl/ent ils/elles sont

Are you able to see how parler follows a sample and être doesn’t? That’s the distinction between common and irregular verbs in French.

Is French Conjugation Exhausting?

I’ve a bit of fine information and a bit of dangerous information.

Excellent news: 80% of French verbs belong to the primary group, common verbs. If you know the way to conjugate one in every of these verbs, it means which you could conjugate all of them.

For instance, the verb parler, (“to talk”) belongs to the primary group. All the opposite first group verbs observe the identical logic as parler with regards to conjugation within the current tense. This implies you may apply your information to all the opposite first group verbs and conjugate déciderarrivermanger, and hundreds extra.

Unhealthy information, now? Among the most typical verbs in French are third group verbs, which suggests they aren’t common.

Consider the verbs you employ day-after-day in English—”to have”, “to go”, “to return”, “to do”… You’ll use them frequently in French as effectively—avoir, aller, venir, faire… All of them belong to the third group.

Studying the most typical French verbs wouldn’t solely velocity up your studying, however it would additionally aid you get extra fluent and extra assured whilst you’re utilizing the language.

Most Widespread Verbs in French for Newcomers

Let’s conjugate among the most typical verbs collectively. To make it simpler, we’ll begin with the primary group verbs after which transfer on to the irregular third group verbs.

Remember that this checklist is just not so as of frequency.

1. Parler (“To Converse”)

Suffixes for 1st group verbs Conjugation Translation
-e Je parle I communicate
-es Tu parles You communicate
-e Il/elle parle He/she speaks
-ons Nous parlons We communicate
-ez Vous parlez You communicate
-ent Ils/elles parlent They communicate

Instance sentence: Je parle français. (“I communicate French.”)

Word: Parler is a primary group verb. Right here is how we conjugate these verbs in French current tense: we take away the -er and add the proper ending. As you may see within the chart, the ending for every individual is totally different.

2. Penser (“To Assume”)

Conjugation Translation Verb group
Je pense I believe 1st
Tu penses You assume
Il/elle pense He/she thinks
Nous pensons We expect
Vous pensez You assume
Ils/elles pensent They assume

Instance sentence: Tu penses à quoi? (“What are you considering of?”)

Word: Penser can also be a primary group verb so we conjugate it the identical manner as parler, utilizing the identical endings.

3. Aimer (“To Like” / “To Love”)

Conjugation Translation Verb group
J’aime I like 1st
Tu aimes You want
Il/elle aime He/she likes
Nous aimons We like
Vous aimez You want
Ils/elles aiment They like

Instance sentence: Il aime sa famille. (“He loves his household.”)

Word: When the verb begins with a vowel, we do a contraction for je and for je solely. For instance, as a substitute of claiming je aime, we must always say j’aime.

4. Regarder (“To Watch”)

Conjugation Translation Verb group
Je regarde I watch 1st
Tu regardes You watch
Il/elle regarde He/she watches
Nous regardons We watch
Vous regardez You watch
Ils regardent They watch

Instance sentence: Vous regardez la télé tous les jours. (“You watch TV day-after-day.”)

5. Appeler (“To Name”)

Conjugation Translation Verb group
J’appelle I name 1st
Tu appelles You name
Il/elle appelle He/she calls
Nous appelons We name
Vous appelez You name
Ils/elles appellent They name

Instance sentence: Ma mère m’appelle. (“My mom is asking me.”)

Word: You already know this verb. How? Consider the primary sentence you’ve realized in French. It’s in all probability je m’appelle. Though it’s used as “my identify is,” its literal which means is “I name myself.” Is smart proper?

6. Donner (“To Give”)

Conjugation Translation Verb group
Je donne I give 1st
Tu donnes You give
Il/elle donne He/she offers
Nous donnons We give
Vous donnez You give
Ils/elles donnent They provide

Instance: Je donne le livre à ma sœur. (“I givethe e-book to my sister.”)

7. Aider (“To Assist”)

Conjugation Translation Verb group
J’aide I assist 1st
Tu aides You assist
Il/elle aide He/she helps
Nous aidons We assist
Vous aidez You assist
Ils/elles aident They assist

Instance: J’aide mon ami. (“I assist my pal.”)

Word: Right here’s a trick to recollect the verb aider: consider “first help” in English. It comes from Previous French which originates from Latin.

8. Manger (“To Eat”)

Conjugation Translation Verb group
Je mange I eat 1st
Tu manges You eat
Il/elle mange He/she eats
Nous mangeons We eat
Vous mangez You eat
Ils/elles mangent They eat

Instance: Je mange trop de sucre. (“I eat an excessive amount of sugar.”)

Word: Whereas we’re conjugating, we should take into accout the pronunciation as effectively. French is just not a phonetic language, which signifies that it’s not pronounced the identical manner it’s written.

Now try nous mangeons. It appears like there’s an additional -e there, proper? It’s simply there in order that the G in mangeons appears like the remainder of the verb.

9. Habiter (“To Reside”)

Conjugation Translation Verb group
J’habite I stay 1st
Tu habites You reside
Il/elle habite He/she lives
Nous habitons We stay
Vous habitez You reside
Ils/elles habitent They stay

Instance: Elle habite à Paris. (“She lives in Paris.”)

Word: The letter “h” often counts as a vowel in French and it’s all the time silent. That is why we are saying j’habite and never je habite.

10. Finir (“To End”)

Suffixes for 2nd group verbs Conjugation Translation
-is Je finis I end
-is Tu finis You end
-it Il/elle finit He/she finishes
-issons Nous finissons We end
-issez Vous finissez You end
-issent Ils/elles finissent They end

Instance: Elles finissent dans 10 minutes. (“They end in 10 minutes.”)

Word: Finir is a second group verb. To conjugate these verbs, we first take away the -ir infinitive and add the best ending. We will apply this to the entire second group verbs.

11. Choisir (“To Select”)

Conjugation Translation Group
Je choisis I select 2nd
Tu choisis You select
Il/elle finit He/she chooses
Nous choisissons We select
Vous choisissez You select
Ils/elles choisissent They select

Instance: Je choisis la deuxième choice. (“I select the second choice.”)

Word: Choisir belongs to the second group as effectively so it has the identical endings as finir.

12. Être (“To Be”)

Conjugation Translation Verb group
Je suis I’m third
Tu es You’re
Il/elle est He/she is
Nous sommes We’re
Vous êtes You’re
Ils/elles sont They’re

Instance sentence: Je suis malade. (“I’m sick”)

Word: Though être is an irregular verb, it’s prone to be one of many first verbs you be taught in French. I’d advocate studying it very effectively as—spoiler alert—être might be essential as you be taught different tenses in French.

13. Avoir (“To Have”)

Conjugation Translation Verb group
J’ai I’ve third
Tu as You’ve gotten
Il/elle a He/she has
Nous avons We’ve got
Vous avez You’ve gotten
Ils/elles ont They’ve

Instance sentence: J’ai 25 ans. (“I’m 25 years previous.”)

Tip: Don’t overlook that we use the verb avoir, not être to speak about our age in French. You’re actually saying “I’ve 25 years” as a substitute of “I’m 25 years previous.”

14. Aller (“To Go”)

Conjugation Translation Verb group
Je vais I am going third
Tu vas You go
Il/elle va He/she goes
Nous allons We go
Vous allez You go
Ils/elles vont They go

Instance sentence: Mon frère va à l’école. (“My brother goes to highschool.”)

Tip: Aller is a tough verb. Though it ends with -er, it’s an irregular verb and it belongs to the third group. You may see that its conjugation could be very totally different from first group verbs.

15. Venir (“To Come”)

Conjugation Translation Verb group
Je viens I come third
Tu viens You come
Il/elle vient He/she comes
Nous venons We come
Vous venez You come
Ils/elles viennent They arrive

Instance sentence: Tu viens du sud. (“You come from the south.”)

Word: Similar to the verb aller, venir can also be a third-group verb—don’t let the -ir ending idiot you.

16. Faire (“To Do” / “To Make”)

Conjugation Translation Verb group
Je fais I do/make third
Tu fais You do/make
Il/elle fait He/she does/makes
Nous faisons We do/make
Vous faites You do/make
Ils/elles font They do/make

Word: Have you ever observed one thing in widespread between faire and venir? In each these verbs, je and tu are conjugated the identical manner. Il/elle finish with -t, nous ends with -ons, and vous ends with -ez.

What about ils/elles in faire? That’s very totally different from venir. Properly, try aller this time!

17. Vouloir (“To Need”)

Conjugation Translation Verb group
Je veux I need third
Tu veux You need
Il/elle veut He/she desires
Nous voulons We wish
Vous voulez You need
Ils/elles veulent They need

Instance sentence: Je fais du sport tous les jours. (“I do sports activities day-after-day.”)

Instance sentence: Il veut beaucoup de cadeaux pour son anniversaire. (“He desires a whole lot of presents for his birthday.”)

18. Pouvoir (“To Be Ready To” / “To Can”)

Conjugation Translation Verb group
Je peux I can third
Tu peux You may
Il/elle peut He/she will
Nous pouvons We will
Vous pouvez You may
Ils/elles peuvent They will

Instance sentence: Je peux parler français. (“I can communicate French.”)

19. Savoir (“To Know”)

Conjugation Translation Verb group
Je sais I do know third
Tu sais You realize
Il/elle sait He/she is aware of
Nous savons We all know
Vous savez You realize
Ils/elles savent They know

Instance sentence: Je ne sais pas. (“I don’t know.”)

Word: Take a look at the similarities between the conjugations of vouloir, pouvoir, and savoir.

20. Voir (“To See”)

Conjugation Translation Verb group
Je vois I see third
Tu vois You see
Il/elle voit He/she sees
Nous voyons We see
Vous voyez You see
Ils/elles voient They see

Instance sentence: Je vois une voiture devant le supermarché. (“I see a automotive in entrance of the grocery store.”)

21. Prendre (“To Take”)

Conjugation Translation Verb group
Je sais I do know third
Tu sais You realize
Il/elle sait He/she is aware of
Nous savons We all know
Vous savez You realize
Ils/elles savent They know

Instance sentence: Vous prenez le bus à 10h. (“You are taking the bus at 10 o’clock.”)

Word: In French, there are various necessary verbs that derive from prendre. Comprendre, for instance, means “to grasp.” You’ll conjugate it the identical manner as prendre.

Make Adverse Sentences in French Current Tense

The most typical method to make a unfavorable sentence in French is to make use of the phrases ne and pas. The verb would go in the midst of these two phrases. In the event you test instance 19, you will notice the negation in motion: je ne sais pas (“I don’t know”).

Listed here are another methods to kind unfavorable sentences in French:

Adverse phrases That means Instance Translation
ne … pas not Je ne parle pas. I do not communicate.
ne … rien something Tu ne fais rien. You do not do something.
ne … personne no one/nobody/anyone/anybody Elle ne voit personne. She would not see anybody.
ne … jamais by no means, not … ever Vous ne fumez jamais. You by no means smoke.
ne … plus any extra Il n’est plus là. He is not right here anymore.

French Pronunciation Ideas for Verbs

It’s true that spelling these verbs accurately is necessary, particularly in case you’re a scholar. However don’t overlook that pronunciation is equally necessary. That is the half the place it will get simpler although.

Let’s clarify through the use of the verb parler once more. As we simply lined, the current tense conjugations for the verb parler are je parle, tu parles, il/elle parle, nous parlons, vouz parlez, ils/elles parlent.

Amongst these six conjugations, parle, parles and parlent are all pronounced the identical. That’s 4 out of six which suggests that you’ve got greater than a 50% likelihood of getting the pronunciation proper! That is solely one of many explanation why talking French is simpler than you assume. You solely have to learn to say the nous kind and the vous kind, which isn’t that tough—you simply don’t pronounce the final letter.

In French, there may be additionally another phrase for nous. It’s referred to as on and it means “we,” identical to nous. However on is conjugated in the identical manner as il/elle, not nous. Native audio system use on as a substitute of nous in casual conditions comparable to when they’re talking with their buddies. So in case you say on parle as a substitute of claiming nous parlons, you’d sound extra fluent. Plus, it’s simpler to conjugate.

French Conjugation Ideas

Begin With the Most Widespread Verbs

It will enhance your confidence as you’ll begin to perceive French increasingly more. Once you be taught the widespread verbs, you’ll be capable of conjugate the extra unusual ones extra simply as effectively.

Search for Patterns

Even in irregular verbs, there are some patterns. For instance, vous conjugations finish with -ez in lots of verbs.

Strive figuring out these patterns so that you simply’ll spend much less time discovering the best conjugation for every verb.

Apply Makes Excellent

Don’t be afraid to talk though you’re not 100% certain if you’re conjugating the verbs accurately. In the event you don’t know a phrase, there may be all the time a method to work round it to make your self understood.

By talking with fellow French audio system, you’ll get a whole lot of talking observe, together with conjugation.

Hearken to French Songs and Watch French Movies

Apart from enhancing your vocabulary, you’ll additionally hear correctly-conjugated French verbs on a regular basis. Plus, you’ll take heed to good songs and watch cool movies. Win-win!

Use Totally different Methods to Research

You need to use totally different methods to practise your verbs and see what works finest for you. Writing verbs on flashcards, studying them out loud, or utilizing a language studying app can all be choices.

Additionally, take into account that everybody has a special studying type. For instance, I be taught by writing and talking.

So… You Mastered the French Current Tense. What’s Subsequent?

I’d say when you’re assured conjugating aller, venir, avoir, and être and a handful of the widespread verbs, you may transfer on to futur proche (close to future) or passé composé (current good/easy previous).

Subsequent articles? Probably!

Bonne likelihood! (“Good luck!”)



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