Bonjour mes amis!
Let’s talk about verb conjugations for a second. You use verb conjugations to signal the action of the subject. In English, there are often two verb conjugations for “regular” verbs. (1) the main verb, (2) the main verb + S. For example:
- to see: (1) see, (2) sees
- You see the cat. She sees the cat.
- to hear: (1) hear, (2) hears
- We hear a car. He hears a car.
- to jump: (1) jump, (2) jumps
- They jump up and down. It jumps up and down.
In French, there are more than just two conjugations in a “regular” verb. The endings will also change depending on the type of verb it is. I will show you how to use the verb endings for regular verbs, but instead of becoming overwhelmed, focus on the similarities you see in the conjugations. Also know, that (generally) 4 of the verb conjugations will sound the same even though they are spelled differently.
For all my first-time language learners out there, here is a basic introduction to French verb conjugation. There are 3 different verb forms to be aware of.
- Verbs ending in “-er”
- Verbs ending in “-ir”
- Verbs ending in “-re”
This is the base (or root, or infinitive) form of the verb, like saying “to eat” or “to run”. You cannot use these verbs as the main verb of a sentence (just like you wouldn’t say, “I to eat this bread”). Each verb form has it’s set of “regular” verb endings.
1. Regular “-er” verbs
Drop the “er” and add the following endings to the “root” of the verb.
For example, when using the verb “manger” (to eat), conjugate it as follows:
Note the asterisk on the nous form, in a regular verb, the “e” would have been dropped, but “mangons” doesn’t give the correct sound, so the “e” was added. You will need to continue this process for all regular “-er” verbs. All irregular verbs, you simply need to memorize! Some common regular “er” verbs include:
- donner (to give, produce)
- demander (to ask)
- trouver (to find)
- passer (to pass, go past)
- rester (to stay, remain)
- porter (to carry)
- parler (to speak)
- montrer (to show, display)
- continuer (to continue)
- penser (to think)
2. Regular “-ir” verbs.
Drop the “ir” from the end of the word and add the following endings:
For example, when using the verb “finir” (to finish), conjugate it as follows:
You will need to continue this process for all regular “-ir” verbs. All irregular verbs, you (again) simply need to memorize! Some common regular “ir” verbs include:
- agir (to act)
- nourrir (to feed, nourish)
- convertir (to convert)
- investir (to invest)
- avertir (to warn)
- choisir (to chose)
- finir (to finish)
- accomplir (to accomplish)
3. Regular “-re” verbs,
Drop the “re” from the end of the word and add the following endings:
For example, when using the verb “attendre” (to wait (for)), conjugate it as follows:
You will need to continue this process for all regular “-re” verbs. All irregular verbs, you (again) simply need to memorize! Some common regular “re” verbs include:
- attendre (to wait…for)
- confondre (to confuse)
- entendre (to hear, understand)
- perdre (to lose)
- rendre (to give back, return)
- vendre (to sell)
Keep practicing and you will find it “click” for you. Always remember that YOU CAN learn to master French verb conjugations.
Simply beautiful verb mastery!
**DISCLAIMERS: This post may contain links to affiliate content. Please note that I always recommend products that are in your best interest and not mine. Please also know that I am not a native French speaker and my pronunciation is not perfect, however, I can definitely help you improve your pronunciation and get to a point where you can converse with native speakers and they can fine-tune your pronunciation.