French Lessons

French Classes

French Articles

Articles are small words that you use only with nouns. They both present a noun and indicate the gender and number of a noun. French has definite, indefinite, and partitive articles. The following sections describe these three types of articles and identifies when and how you should use them in your French writing and speech.

Definite articles indicate that the noun they’re presenting is specific. In English, the definite article is the. French has three different definite articles, which tell you that the noun is masculine, feminine, or plural. If the noun is singular, the article is le (for masculine nouns) or la (for feminine nouns). If the noun is plural, the article is les no matter what gender the noun is. If a singular noun begins with a vowel or mute h, the definite article le or la contracts to l’, as in l’ami (the friend) and l’homme (the man).

Indefinite articles refer to an unspecific noun. The English indefinite articles are a and an. French has three indefinite articles — un (for masculine nouns),une (for feminine nouns), and des (for masculine or feminine plural nouns). Which one you use depends on the noun’s gender and number. You use the indefinite article in basically the same way in French and English — to refer to an unspecific noun, as in J’ai acheté une voiture (I bought a car) or Je veux voir un film (I want to see a movie). Note that un and une can also mean one: J’ai un frère (I have one brother). Des is the plural indefinite article, which you use for two or more masculine and/or feminine nouns: J’ai des idées (I have some ideas). When you make a sentence with an indefinite article negative, the article changes to de, meaning (not) any.
  • J’ai des questions. (I have some questions.)
  • Je n’ai pas de questions. (I don’t have any questions.)

Partitive articles

Partitive articles are used with things that you take only part of. They don’t exist in English, so the best translation is the word some. There are, once again, three partitive articles, depending on whether the noun is masculine (du), feminine (de la), or plural (des). You use the partitive article with food, drink, and other uncountable things that you take or use only a part of, like air and money, as well as abstract things, such as intelligence and patience. If you do eat or use all of something, and if it is countable, then you need the definite or indefinite article. Compare the following:
  • Je veux du gâteau. (I want some cake — just a piece or two.)
  • Je veux le gâteau. (I want the cake — the whole one.)
  • Je veux un gâteau. (I want a cake — for my birthday party.)
When a singular noun begins with a vowel or mute h, the partitive article du or de la contracts to de l’, as in de l’eau (some water) and de l’hélium (some helium). Partitive Articles Use the partitive article to expresses that you want part of a whole (some or any), to ask for an indefinite quantity (something that is not being counted). Before a noun, the partitive is generally expressed by de + the definite article. Note that de + le contract to become du and de + les contract to become des, as shown in Table 1. Note the following about the use of the partitive article: Although the partitive some or any may be omitted in English, it may not be omitted in French and must be repeated before each noun. Il prend des cèrèales et du lait. (He’s having cereal and milk.) In a negative sentence, the partitive some or any is expressed by de or d’ without the article. Je ne mange jamais de fruits. (I never eat any fruits.) Je n’ai pas d’amis. (I don’t have any friends.) Before a singular adjective preceding a singular noun, the partitive is expressed with or without the article. C’est de (du) bon gâteau. (That’s good cake.) Before a plural adjective preceding a plural noun, the partitive is expressed by de alone. Ce sont de bons èlèves. (They are good students.) Certain nouns and adverbs of quantity are followed by the partitive article de ( d’ before a vowel). The following nouns and adverbs of quantity are followed by de + definite article: la plupart (most) bien (a good many) la majoritè (the majority) la plus grande partie (the majority) La plupart des gens aiment ce film. (Most people like this movie.) The adjectives plusieurs (several) and quelques (some) modify the noun directly. J’adore plusieurs lègumes. (I like several vegetables.) Il achète quelques livres. (He is buying some books.) The partitive is not used with sans (without) and ne … ni … ni (neither … nor). Elle prendra du thè sans citron. (She’ll take tea without lemon.) Il ne boit ni cafè ni thè. (He doesn’t drink coffee or tea.)

Subject Pronouns

pronoun is a word that is used to replace a noun (a person, place, thing, idea, or quality). Pronouns allow for fluidity by eliminating the need to constantly repeat the same noun in a sentence. A subject pronoun replaces a subject noun(the noun performing the action of the verb). Je Unlike the English pronoun “I,” the pronoun je is capitalized only when it begins a sentence. Je becomes j’ before a vowel or vowel sound ( y and unaspiratedh — meaning that no puff of air is emitted when producing the h sound):
  • J’adore le français. (I love French.)
  • Voilà où j’habite. (There’s where I live.)
Tu Tu is used to address one friend, relative, child, or pet and is referred to as the familiar form of “you.” The u from tu is never dropped for purposes of elision: Tu es mon meilleur ami. (You are my best friend.) Vous Vous is used in the singular to show respect to an older person or when speaking to a stranger or someone you do not know very well.Vous is the polite or formal form of “you:” Vous êtes un patron très respecté. (You are a very respected boss.) In addition, vous is always used when speaking to more than one person, regardless of the degree of familiarity. Il and elle Il (he) and elle (she) may refer to a person or to a thing (it):
  • L’homme arrive. (The man arrives.) Il arrive. (He arrives.)
  • Le colis arrive. (The package arrives.) Il arrive. (It arrives.)
  • La dame arrive. (The lady arrives.) Elle arrive. (She arrives.)
  • La lettre arrive. (The letter arrives.) Elle arrive. (It arrives.)
On On refers to an indefinite person: you, we, they, or people in general.On is often used in place of nous, such as in the following: on part(we’re leaving). Ils and elles Ils refers to more than one male or to a combined group of males and females, despite the number of each gender present. Elles refers only to a group of females.
  • Anne et Luc partent. (Ann and Luke leave.) Ils partent. (They leave.)
  • Anne et Marie partent. (Ann and Marie leave.) Elles partent. (They leave.)
Ce The pronoun ce (it, he, she, this, that, these, those), spelled c’ before a vowel, is most frequently used with the verb être (to be): c’est (it is) orce sont (they are). Ce replaces ilelleils, and elles as the subject of the sentence in the following constructions:
  • Before a modified noun:C’est un bon avocat. (He’s a good lawyer.)
But, when unmodified, the following is correct: Il est avocat. (He’s a lawyer.)
  • Before a name:C’est Jean. (It’s John.)
  • Before a pronoun:C’est moi. (It is me.)
  • Before a superlative:C’est le plus grand. (It’s the biggest.)
  • In dates:C’est le dix mars.(It’s March 10th.)
  • Before a masculine singular adjective that refers to a previously mentioned idea or action:Il est important. (He is important.) C’est évident. (That’s obvious).
  • Before an adjective + à + infinitive (the form of any verb before it is conjugated): C’est bon à savoir. (That’s good to know.)
Use il in the following constructions:
  • To express the hour of the day:Il est deux heures. (It’s 2 o’clock.)
  • With an adjective + de + infinitive:Il est bon de manger. (It’s good to eat.)
  • With an adjective before queIl est important que je travaille. (It is important that I work.)

Using Object Pronouns

Object pronouns are used so that an object noun doesn’t have to be continuously repeated. This allows for a more free‐flowing conversational tone. When using object pronouns, make sure your conjugated verb agrees with the subject and not the object pronoun. Table 1 lists direct and indirect object pronouns. The forms me, te, se, nous, and vous are both direct, indirect object, and reflexive pronouns.

Direct object pronouns

Direct objects (which can be nouns or pronouns) answer the question as to whom or what the subject is acting upon. It may refer to people, places, things, or ideas. A direct object pronoun replaces a direct object noun and, unlike in English, is usually placed before the conjugated verb.
  • Tu regardes le film. (You watch the movie.): Tu le regardes. (You watch it.)
  • Je t’aime. (I love you.)
  • Tu m’aimes. (You love me.)

Indirect object pronouns

Indirect objects (which can be nouns or pronouns) answer the question of to or for whom the subject is doing something. They refer only to people. An indirect object pronoun replaces an indirect object noun, and, unlike in English, is usually placed before the conjugated verb. As a clue, look for the preposition à (to, for), which may be in the form of au (the contraction of à + le, à l’, à la, or aux (the contraction of à + les), followed by the name or reference to a person.
  • Elle écrit à Jean. (She writes to John.): Elle lui écrit. (She writes to him.)
  • Tu m’offres un sac à main. (You offer me a purse.)
  • Je t’offre un sac à main. (I offer you a purse.)
Verbs that take an indirect object in English do not necessarily take an indirect object in French. The following verbs take a direct object in French:
  • attendre (to wait for)
  • chercher (to look for)
  • écouter (to listen to)
  • espérer (to hope for/to)
  • faire venir (to call for)
  • payer (to pay)
Verbs that take a direct object in English do not necessarily take a direct object in French. The following verbs take an indirect object in French because they are followed by à:
  • convenir à (to suit)
  • désobéir à (to disobey)
  • faire honte à (to shame)
  • faire mal à (to hurt)
  • faire peur à (to frighten)
  • obéir à (to obey)
  • plaire à (to please)
  • répondre à (to answer)
  • ressembler à (to resemble)
  • téléphoner à (to call)
The expression penser à (to think about) is followed by a stress pronoun; for example, Je pense à lui/elle. (I think about him/her). The following verbs require an indirect object because they are followed by à. Note the correct preposition to use before the infinitive of the verb.
  • apprendre (teach) à quelqu’un à + infinitive
  • enseigner (teach) à quelqu’un à + infinitive
  • conseiller (advise) à quelqu’un de + infinitive
  • défendre (forbid) à quelqu’un de + infinitive
  • demander (ask) à quelqu’un de + infinitive
  • ordonner (order) à quelqu’un de + infinitive
  • pardonner (forgive) à quelqu’un de + infinitive
  • permettre (permit) à quelqu’un de + infinitive
  • promettre (promise) à quelqu’un de + infinitive
  • rappeler (remind) à quelqu’un de + infinitive
  • reprocher (reproach) à quelqu’un de + infinitive
With the French verbs plaire (to please), falloir (to be necessary), and manquer (to miss), the French indirect object is the subject in the English sentence:
  • Ce cadeau me plaît. (I like this gift. This gift is pleasing to me.)
  • Il me faut un stylo. (I need a pen. A pen is necessary for me.)
  • Tu me manques. (I miss you. I am missing to you.)
The adverbial pronoun (y) The adverbial pronoun y (pronounced ee) means “there” when the place has already been mentioned. Y can also mean “it,” “them,” “in it/them,” “to it/them,” or “on it/them.” Y usually replaces the preposition à + the noun object of the preposition, but it may also replace other prepositions of location or position, such as chez (at the house/business of) , dans (in) , en (in), sous (under), or sur (on) + noun:
  • Je vais à Paris. (I’m going to Paris.) J’y vais. (I’m going there.)
  • Il répond à la note. (He answers the note.) Il y répond. (He answers it.)
  • Tu restes dans ton lit. (You stay in the hotel.) Tu y restes. (You stay in it.)
Y is used to replace de + noun only when de is part of a prepositional phrase showing location: L’hôtel est près de l’aéroport. (The hotel is near the airport.) L’hôtel y est. (The hotel is there.) Never use y to replace à + a person. Indirect object pronouns are used for this purpose: Je parle à Luc. (I speak to Luke.) Je lui parle. (I speak to him.) Sometimes y is used in French but is not translated into English: Il va au cinéma? (Is he going to the movies?) Oui, il y va. (Yes, he is.) The adverbial pronoun (en) The pronoun en refers to previously mentioned things or places. Enusually replaces de + noun and may mean some or any, of it/them, about it/them, from it/them, or from there:
  • Je veux de la glace. (I want some ice cream.) J’en veux. (I want some [of it]).
  • Tu ne bois pas de lait. (You don’t drink any milk.) Tu n’en bois pas. (You don’t drink any.)
  • Il parle de l’examen. (He speaks about the test.) Il en parle. (He speaks about it.)
  • Vous sortez du café. (You leave the cafe.) Vous en sortez. (You leave [from] it.)
En is always expressed in French even though it may have no Engish equivalent or is not expressed in English: Astu du temps? (Do you have any time?) Oui, j’en ai. (Yes, I do.) Note the following rules governing the use of en:
  • En is used with idiomatic expressions requiringde.
    • J’ai besoin de film. (I need film.) J’en ai besoin. (I need some.)
  • Enis used to replace a noun (de + noun) after a number or a noun or adverb of quantity.
    • Je prépare six gâteaux. (I’m preparing six cakes.) J’en prépare six. (I’m preparing six [of them].)
    • Tu bois une tasse de thé. (You drink a cup of tea.) Tu en bois. (You drink a cup [of it].)
  • Enonly refers to people when de means some. In all other cases (when de + a noun mean “of” or “about” a person), a stress pronoun is used.
    • I have a lot of sons. (J’ai beaucoup de fils.) I have a lot of them. (J’en ai beaucoup.)
The position of object pronouns An object pronoun is placed before the verb to which its meaning is tied, usually before the conjugated verb. When a sentence contains two verbs, the object pronoun is placed before the infinitive:
  • Je le demande. (I ask for it.) Je ne le demande pas. (I don’t ask for it.)
  • Il va en boire. (He is going to drink some of it.) Il ne va pas en boire. (He isn’t going to drink some of it.)
In an affirmative command, an object pronoun is placed immediately after the verb and is joined to it by a hyphen. The familiar command forms of ‐ er verbs (regular and irregular — retain their final s before y and en to prevent the clash of two vowel sounds together. Put a liaison (linking) between the final consonant and y or enRestesy!(Stay there!) But: N’y reste pas! (Don’t stay there!) In compound tenses, the object pronoun is placed before the conjugated helping verb: J’ai parlé à Nancy. (I spoke to Nancy.) Je lui ai parlé. (I spoke to her.)

Double object pronouns

The term double object pronouns refers to using more than one pronoun in a sentence at a time, as follows: The following examples show how double object pronouns are used before the conjugated verb, before the infinitive when there are two verbs, in the past tense, and in a negative command. Note the different order of the pronouns in the affirmative command:
  • Before the conjugated verb:Elle me la donne. (She gives it to me.)
  • Before the infinitive with two verbs:Vastu m’en offrir? (Are you going to offer me any?)
  • In the past tense:Tu le lui as écrit. (You wrote it to her.)
  • In a negative command:Ne me le montrez pas. (Don’t show it to me.)
But note the difference in an affirmative command: Montrezlemoi, s’il vous plaît. (Please show it to me.) In an affirmative command, m oi + en and toi + en become m’en andt’en respectively:
  • Donnem’en, s’il te plaît. (Please give me some.)
  • Va t’en. (Go away.)

Independent (Stress) Pronouns

Independent pronouns, listed in Table 1, may stand alone or follow a verb or a preposition. They are used to emphasize a fact and to highlight or replace nouns or pronouns. Independent pronouns are used as follows: To stress the subject: Moi, je suis vraiment indépendant. (Me, I’m really independent.) When the pronoun has no verb:Qui veut partir? (Who wants to leave?) Moi. (Me.) After prepositions to refer to a person or persons: Allons chez elle. (Let’s go to her house.) After c’estC’est moi qui pars. (I’m leaving.) After the following verbs:
  • avoir affaire à (to have dealings with)
  • être à (to belong to)
  • faire attention à (to pay attention to)
  • penser à (to think about [of)])
  • se fier à (to trust)
  • s’intéresser à (to be interested in)
  • Ceci est à moi. (This belongs to me.)
In compound subjects:
  • Lui et moi allons au restaurant. (He and I are going to the restaurant.)
  • Sylvie et toi dînez chez Marie. (Sylvia and you are dining at Marie’s.)
If moi is one of the stress pronouns in a compound subject, the subject pronoun nous is used in summary (someone + me = we) and the conjugated verb must agree with nous. If toi is one of the stress pronouns in a compound subject, the subject prounoun vous is used in summary (someone + you [singular] = you [plural]) and the conjugated verb must agree with the vous. Neither nous nor vous has to appear in the sentence. With  même(s) to reinforce the subject: Je suis allé au concert moimême. (I went to the concert by myself.)

Relative Pronouns

relative pronoun (“who,” “which,” or “that”) joins a main clause to a dependent clause. This pronoun introduces the dependent clause that describes someone or something mentioned in the main clause. The person or thing the pronoun refers to is called the antecedent. A relative clause may serve as a subject, a direct object, or an object of a preposition. Qui (subject) and que (direct object) Qui (“who,” “which,” “that”) is the subject of a relative clause (which means that it will be followed by a verb in the dependent clause). Qui may refer to people, things, or places and follows the format antecedent + subject + verbC’estla femmequia gagné. (She’s the woman who won.) The verb of a relative clause introduced by qui is conjugated to agree with its antecedent: C’est moi qui choisis les bons cafés. (I am the one who chooses the good cafés.) Que (“whom,” “which,” or “that”) is the direct object of a relative clause (which means that it will be followed by a noun or pronoun). Although frequently omitted in English, the relative pronoun is always expressed in French. Que may refer to people or things and follows the format antecedent + direct object + pronounC’est l’homme que j’ adore. (He’s the man [that] I love.) Qui and lequel (objects of a preposition) Qui (meaning “whom”) is used as the object of a preposition referring to a person.
  • Anne est la femme avec qui je travaille. (Anne is the woman with whom I am working.)
Lequel, laquelle, lesquels, lesquelles (“which” or “whom”) are used as the object of a preposition referring primarily to things. The form of lequel must agree with the antecedent. Select the proper form of lequel after consulting Table 1, for example, Voilà la piscine dans laquelle je nage. (There is the pool in which I swim.) Lequel and its forms contract with the prepositions à and de, as shown in Table 2: Some examples include the following:
  • Ce sont les hommes auxquels elle pense. (Those are the men she is thinking about.)
  • C’est la classe de laquelle je parlais. (That’s the class I was talking about.)
Ce qui and ce que The relative pronouns ce qui and ce que are used when no antecedent noun or pronoun is present:
  • Ce quimeans “what” or “that which” and is the subject of a verb: Je me demande ce qui se passe. (I wonder what is happening.)
  • Ce que means “what” (that which) and is the object of a verb: Tu sais ce que ça veut dire. (You know what that means.)

How to Conjugate ER Verbs in French

One thing English speakers who are learning French struggle with is learning how to conjugate all the different verbs. Most French verbs typically end in -er, -re, or -ir. The biggest group is verbs that end in -er. Verbs that fall into this group that follow the same conjugation pattern are called regular -er verbs. Once you know how to conjugate one regular -er verb, you know how to conjugate all regular -er verbs! Let’s take a look at the process.

Steps to Follow Conjugating Regular ER Verbs in the Present Tense

To conjugate any regular -er verb in the present tense, you will follow the steps outlined below. 1.) Take the infinitive form of the verb, and drop the -er off the end of the verb to get the verb stem. (For example, take the infinitive form of the verb parler, and remove the -er. You are left with the verb stemparl-.) 2.) Determine the subject pronoun you are conjugating the verb with, and add the appropriate ending from the chart below.
Subject Pronoun Ending
Je -e
Tu -es
Il/Elle/On -e
Nous -ons
Vous -ez
Ils/Elles -ent

Practice Conjugating

Let’s now practice this conjugation pattern with some common regular -er verbs in French.
Parler (to speak) Donner (to give) Aimer (to like)
Je parle (pahrle) Je donne (done) J’aime* (ehm)
Tu parles (pahrle) Tu donnes (done) Tu aimes (ehm)
Il/Elle/On parle (pahrle) Il/Elle/On donne (done) Il/Elle/On aime (ehm)
Nous parlons (pahrl-ohn) Nous donnons (done-ohn) Nous aimons (ehm-ohn)
Vous parlez (pahrl-ay) Vous donnez (done-ay) Vous aimez (ehm-ay)
Ils/Elles parlent (pahrle) Ils/Elles donnent (done) Ils/Elles aiment (ehm)

How to Conjugate IR Verbs in French

Verbs and Conjugation

In French, verbs have a set of endings. We call this a conjugation. A verb like choisir (pronounced: shwah-zeer), meaning ‘to choose,’ is called an -IR verb. To conjugate the verb, we chop off the -IR at the end of the word and put on the correct ending. The ending for the verb corresponds to who is doing the verb. The person (or thing) doing the verb is called thesubject. In French, subjects are:
  • je (pronounced: zhuh), meaning ‘I’
  • tu (pronounced: tooh), meaning ‘you’ (singular, informal)
  • il, elle (pronounced: eel, el), meaning ‘he’ or ‘she’
  • nous (pronounced: nooh), meaning ‘we’
  • vous (pronounced: vooh), meaning ‘you’ (plural, formal)
  • ils, elles (pronounced: eel, el), meaning ‘they’

-IR Verb Endings

This chart shows the endings for -IR verbs in French:
je _____ -is nous _____-issons
tu _____ -is vous _____-issez
il / elle _____ -it ils / elles _____-issent
To say ‘I choose,’ we use the verb chosir (meaning ‘to choose’) but take off the -ir. This leaves us with chois-. This first part of the verb, without an ending, is called the stem. We add an ending to the stem. For je (meaning ‘I’), the ending is -is. So ‘I choose’ is je choisis (pronounced: zhuh shwah-zee).


The endings for je, tu, il and elle all sound like ‘ee.’
French Pronunciation
je choisis zhuh shwah-zee
tu choisis tyooh shwah-zee
il / elle choisit eel / el shwah-zee
Notice that the il and elle forms end with -it, while the je and tu forms end with -is. The written forms are different, but the pronunciation is exactly the same! The plural forms–we, you (all), they–sound slightly different. The ending -issons sounds like ‘ee-ssahn,’ -issezsounds like ‘ee-say’, and -issent sounds like ‘eess.’
French Pronunciation
nous choisissons nooh shwah-zee-ssahn
vous choisissez vooh shwah-zee-say
ils / elles choisissent eel / el shwah-zeess

Common -IR Verbs

French Pronunciation Meaning
Finir fee-neer to finish
Grandir grahn-deer to grow up
Réussir ray-ooh-seer to succeed
Réfléchir ray-flay-sheer to think about; to reflect
Maigrir may-greer to lose weight
Grossir groh-seer to gain weight


Let’s take the verb finir as an example. Imagine that Pierre wants to play video games. His mom says OK, but first ‘you finish the homework’–tu finis les devoirs (pronounced: tooh fee-nee lay dehv-wahr). Pierre’s a good student. He reminds his mom, ‘I always finish homework’–je finis toujours les devoirs(pronounced: zhuh fee-nee tooh-zhor lay dehv-war). Pierre’s brother Richard pipes up, ‘We always finish homework!’–nous finissons toujours les devoirs (pronounced: nooh fee-nee-sahn tooh-zhor lay dehv-wahr). Mom thinks, ‘That’s true, they always finish homework,’–ils finissent toujours les devoirs (pronounced: eel fee-neess tooh-zhor lay dehv-wahr).

How to Conjugate RE Verbs in French

In French, verbs have sets of endings. This lesson introduces you to the endings for verbs that end in -RE. You will learn several -RE verbs, such as ‘vendre’ (to sell), ‘perdre’ (to lose), and ‘attendre’ (to wait.)

Subjects And Verbs

In French, verbs have different endings for each subject (like ‘I’, ‘you,’ ‘we,’ etc). Let’s review some subject pronouns:
  • je (pronounced: zhuh), meaning ‘I’
  • tu (pronounced: tooh), meaning ‘you’ (singular)
  • il / elle (pronounced: eel / el), meaning ‘he / she’
  • nous (pronounced: nooh), meaning ‘we’
  • vous (pronounced: vooh), meaning ‘you’ (plural or formal)
  • ils / elles (pronounced: eel / el), meaning ‘they’


The pattern of endings for a verb is called a conjugation. A verb like vendre (pronounced: vahn-druh), meaning ‘to sell,’ is called an -RE verb. To conjugate the verb, we chop off the -RE at the end of the word. This leaves us with the stem (the beginning part of the word). We then put on the correct ending. For vendre, the stem isvend-. Let’s take a look at the for -RE endings for conjugation patterns:
Conjugation Pattern -RE verbs
je _____ -s nous _____ -ons
tu _____ -s vous _____ -ez
il, elle _____ ils, elles _____ -ent
You’ll notice that the je and tu forms are exactly the same. They both end with s–however, the s is silent. The il /elle form is unusual, because there is no extra ending.


Let’s look at the verb rendre, which means ‘to turn in’ (for example, to turn in homework).
  • je rends (pronounced: zhuh rahn), meaning ‘I turn in’
  • tu rends (pronounced: tooh rahn), meaning ‘you turn in’ (singular ‘you’)
  • il / elle rend (pronounced: eel / el rahn), meaning ‘he / she turns in’
  • nous rendons (pronounced: nooh rahn-dahn), meaning ‘we turn in’
  • vous rendez (pronounced: vooh rahn-day), meaning ‘you turn in’ (plural or formal ‘you’)
  • ils / elles rendent (pronounced: eel / el rahnd), meaning ‘they turn in’

Notes About Pronunciation

Let’s look at details regarding pronunciation for these conjugation patterns:

Singular: je, tu, il, elle

The je, tu, and il / elle forms all have the exact same pronunciation. Notice that the il / elle form of the verb does not have an s at the end.

Plural: nous, vous, ils, elles

Most final consonants in French are silent. For the nous form, the ending is -ons, with the s being silent. For thevous form, the -ez ending is pronounced ay. For the ils / elles form, the -ent ending is silent.

Vendre (To Sell)

Imagine that your French friend, Sandra, needs money. She might tell you Je vends la voiture (pronounced: zhuh vahn lah vwah-tuhr), meaning ‘I’m selling my car.’ Her kids, Pierre and Jacques, want to help by selling their toys, or les jouets (pronounced: lay zhooh-ay). The tell you Nous vendons les jouets. Later, you tell you neighbor what’s going on–elle vend la voiture (pronounced: ell vahn lah vwah-tuhr) and ils vendent les jouets (eel vahnd lay zhooh-ay). Notice that when Sandra says je vends or when you say elle vend, we don’t hear the ‘d’ sound. (The s in je vendsis also silent). But when we say ils vendent or elles vendent, we DO make a d sound at the end of the word. The -ent’ is silent–but because it’s there, we pronounce that d.

Perdre (To Lose)

We saw that rendre means ‘to turn in.’ This is what students do with homework, or les devoirs (pronounced: lay dehv-wahr.) Unfortunately, students sometimes also lose their homework! Perdre means ‘to lose.’ Imagine a group of friends who have different homework habits:
  • Pierre: Je rends les devoirs. (pronounced: zhuh rahn lay dehv-wahr)
  • Albert : Je perds les devoirs. (pronounced: zhuh pehr lay dehv-wahr)
  • Pierre et Marie : Nous rendons les devoirs. (pronounced: nooh rahn-don lay dehv-wahr)
  • Albert et Jacques : Nous perdons les devoirs. (pronounced: nooh pehr-don lay dehv-wahr)

Être Meaning

In almost every conversation you will need the French verb être. Être (pronounced: ay-tr, with a soft ‘r’ at the end) is used to indicate how things are. Literally meaning ‘to be’ être can be conjugated with the various French pronouns, paired with adjectives or used in numerous idiomatic expressions.


Each French pronoun requires a different conjugation of the verb être. This table shows you a pronoun, the correct conjugation of être, the English meaning of the conjugation, and the conjugation pronunciation.
Subject Pronoun Être Conjugation Pronunciation English Meaning
je (I) suis (am) swee I am
tu (you) es (are) ay You are
il (he) est (is) ay He is
elle (she) est (is) ay She is
nous (we) sommes (are) sohm We are
vous (you) êtes(are) eht You are (formal) or You all are
ils (they) sont (are) sohn They are
elles (they) sont (are) sohn They are (feminine)

Conjugation Examples

Imagine you are talking about the nationalities of your friends and yourself. Study the above chart and following sentences and note how the verb être is conjugated and used with adjectives. In this case the adjective is the nationality American. Je suis Américain. I am American. Et toi? And you? Tu es américain? Are you American? Paul est Américain. Paul is American. Nous sommes Américains. We are Americans. Vous êtes Américains? Are you all Americans? Ils sont Américains. They are Americans. Julie et Diane, elles sont Américains aussi. Julie and Diane, they are Americans too.

Aller Conjugation

Why is faire an important verb?
The verb faire (pronounced like the English word fair but with the French /r/ sound) is a great verb to have in your back pocket because it’s definitely a multi-tasker. Some interesting facts about this verb are: 1) most weather expressions in French use faire, for example to talk about what the weather is doing 2) many individual sports and activities use this verb, for example to express that you do a certain sport 3) used in math equations to mean equals in English 4) used in causative constructions where you have had something done to a person or thing, for example having your dog groomed 5) Numbers 1 and 2 on this list are the most important usages for beginners. It’s also used in many, many other expressions in French. Trust us, this is a high-frequency verb!
How to use it in sentences: the conjugations
The verb faire is considered to be an irregular verb, meaning that the conjugations used in order to create a subject-verb agreement do not follow typical patterns. So, break out the flash cards and commit this one to memory. The following examples of conjugations express how to use the verb to talk about activities and sports. Singular Forms: Je fais (fay) du sport = I do sports Fais-tu du yoga? = Do you do yoga? Il/Elle fait (fay) du ski nautique = He/She does/goes skiing Plural Forms: Nous faisons (fuh zahn) de la danse = We do dance Faites(fet)-vous du camping? = Do you do/go camping? Ils/Elles font (fohn) une promenade = They go for a walk Remember, many individual sports – ones that don’t require a team to play – as well as activities take this verb, and it can also translate into English as go instead of make or do.

Savoir Conjugation

Knowing how to say you know something or telling a friend, ‘I don’t know’ is pretty important in conversation, even French conversations. But to do that, first you have to learn how to conjugate the verb savior(pronounced: sah-vwahr), to know.
Subject Pronoun Savoir Conjugation Pronunciation English Meaning
je (I) sais (say) I know
tu (you) sais (say) you know (singular)
il/elle (he/she) sait (say) he/she knows
nous (we) savons (sah-vahn) we know
vous (you) savez (sah-vay) you know (plural)
ils/elles (they) savent (sahv) they know
Now that we’ve got that down, let’s look at the different ways that savior is used in conversations.

To Know How

To express that someone knows how to do something, we use a form of the verb savoir plus a second verb. Let’s look at some examples using savoir plus the verb nager (pronounced: nah-zhay) to swim: Imagine that your French friend, Ariane, has come to visit. You want to go swimming, so you ask her, ‘Tu sais nager?’ meaning, ‘Do you know how to swim?’. She would answer ‘Je sais nager’ meaning ‘I know how to swim.’ Then, your friends Frank and Elizabeth arrive. You ask them ‘Vous savez nager?’ meaning ‘Do you (guys) know how to swim?’ They answer, ‘Nous savons nager’ meaning ‘We know how to swim.’ Notice how the sentences use different forms of the verb savoir, but the word nager never changes. Let’s look at some more examples:
  • Je sais conduire (pronounced: zhuh say kon-dweer), meaning ‘I know how to drive.’
  • Elle sait conduire (pronounced: el say kon-dweer), meaning ‘She knows how to drive.’
  • Il sait danser (pronounced: eel say dahn-say), meaning ‘He knows how to dance.’
  • Ils savent danser (pronounced: eel sahv dahn-say), meaning ‘They know how to dance.’

Vouloir Conjugation

Vouloir: To Want

Imagine that you get to spend a few weeks visiting France. What do you want to do? What do you want to eat? To express what you want, say je veux (pronounced: zhuh veuh), which means ‘I want.’ Whether you stay in a hotel or with French hosts, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to discuss what you want. For example, you might say: je veux visiter le Louvre (pronounced: zhuh veuh vee-see-tay luh loov-ruh). Perhaps your main goal is to learn French. You can explain that: je veux apprendre le français (pronounced: zhuh veuh ah-prahn-druh luh frahn-say).

Conjugating Vouloir

In English, we say ‘I want’ and ‘he wants.’ The verb is ‘want,’ but its form changes slightly depending on who is speaking. In French, verbs have different endings. Putting the right endings on a verb is called conjugating the verb. Notice the endings for the verb vouloir:
VOULOIR (pronounced: vooh-lwahr) to want
je veux (zhuh veuh) nous voulons (nooh vooh-lahn)
I want we want
tu veux (tyooh veuh) vous voulez (vooh vooh-lay)
you want (singular) you want (plural)
il / elle veut (eel / el veuh) ils / elles veulent (eel / el vuhl)
he / she wants they want

Pronunciation Hints

Notice that the verb endings for je, tu, il and elle are all pronounced the same. The verb ending is the same for the je and tu forms. For il / elle , the ending changes. When you’re speaking, you can’t hear a difference. Another thing to keep in mind is that the je, tu, il / elle, and ils / elles forms all start with veu. This letter blend sounds like ‘euh.’ To pronounce it correctly, think about making the sound down in your throat, at the spot where you swallow. On the other hand, vouloir as well as voulons and voulez all begin with the sound vou. This letter blend rhymes with ‘ooh’ — as in Ooh là là! This sound is formed with your lips. Pucker up like you’re going to give someone a big kiss to make the ooh sound for French words like vouloir, voulons, voulez as well as vous and nous.

Examples With Vouloir

Imagine that two friends, Paul and Robert, are traveling together in France. As they discuss traveling from Paris to the city of Avignon, they might debate whether to prendre le train (pronounced: prahn-druh luh trahn) orlouer une voiture (pronounced: looh-ay oohn vwah-tyuhr). Paul might ask Robert: Tu veux louer une voiture? Robert might reply, Non, je veux prendre le train. Paul and Robert are staying with their friend Nathalie in Paris. They tell her about their plan: Nous voulons prendre le train. Nathalie might ask them, ‘Do you want to leave tomorrow?’ She would say Voulez-vous partir demain? (pronounced: vooh-lay vooh pahr-teer duh-mahn).

Feminine Adjectives in French

Let’s get personal. Do you have a girlfriend? How would you describe her to someone? Is she pretty? Is she short or tall? Or we could talk about your grandmother. Would you say she is funny? Is she strong or frail? In French, since these people are feminine, when you describe them, the adjectives must also be feminine! Did you know that in French, objects can also be feminine? For example, in French, cars are feminine! The word for car, la voiture, is a feminine word! So, now how would you describe your car? Is it fancy? Expensive? What color is it? All of these adjectives must be feminine when you are describing your car.

Examples of Adjectives

Add an ‘e’ at the end of most adjectives to create the feminine form. Some examples of masculine and feminine forms are:
  • grandgrande (tall) – pronounced (grahn) and (grahnduh) with nasal ‘n’ sound
  • jolijolie (pretty) – pronounced (zhoh-lee)
  • bleubleue (blue) – pronounced (bluh)
  • fortforte (strong) – pronounced (fohr) and (fohrtuh)
  • marrantmarrante (funny) pronounced (marrahn) and (marrahn-tuh) with nasal ‘n’ sound
  • fâchéfâchée (angry) pronounced (fah-shay)
When pronouncing these, we do not say the last consonant in the masculine form. When the feminine ‘e’ is added, we hear the last consonant. For example:fort is pronounced like (for), but forte is pronounced similar to (fort) in English. Some adjectives have a slight change in the last consonant before adding the feminine ‘e.’ For example, some adjectives ending in f go from f to ve.
  • sportifsportive (athletic) Pronounced- (sporteef) and (sporteev)
  • créatifcréative (creative) Pronounced- (cray-ah-teef) and (cray-ah-teev)
Pronounce the’ ‘f or the ‘v’ as it is written. Some adjectives double the last consonant before adding the feminine ‘e.’ For example:
  • mignonmignonne (cute) – pronounced (meenyohn) with nasal ‘n,’ and (meenyunn)
  • bonbonne (good) – pronounced (boh-n) with nasal ‘n,’ and (bun)
  • gentilgentille (kind) – pronounced (zhahn-tee) and (zhahn-teeyuh) with nasal ‘n’
The double consonants are pronounced in the feminine form, but usually the single consonants in the masculine form are pronounced nasally or not at all. For instance, pronounce ‘bon’ like the word (bone) but with a nasal ‘n’ sound and ‘bonne’ similar to (buhnn).

Describing Your Car in French

Let’s try some sentences to describe your car!
  • Ma voiture est bleue. (My car is blue.) Pronounced- (mah vwa-teeoor ay bluh)
  • Elle est petite. (It is small.) Pronounced- (el ay puhteetuh).
How about your grandmother? Let’s try describing her:
  • (My grandmother is funny, but my grandfather is also funny.)Ma grand-mère est marrante, mais mon grand-père est aussi marrant.
Pronounced-(mah gran-mayr ay marrantuh may mohn granpayr ay oh-see marran) Notice that the grandfather has the masculine adjective form, and the grandmother has the feminine form of the adjective.

French Possessive Adjectives

French Adjective Agreement: Rules & Practice

French Adjectives: Placement & Examples

Describing People and Things

Sam and Liz are Americans living abroad in Angers, France, and they really want to be able to talk to their neighbors, describe their new neighbors, and talk about what goes on around them without being confusing. There are certain things Sam and Liz will need to remember about words that describe a noun or pronoun, oradjectives, to reach their goal. This includes understanding which adjectives do and don’t conform to normal placement principles.

Normal Placement

The normal or most common placement of adjectives in a French sentence is right behind the word it describes. For example: J’ai un vélo ‘bleu.‘ (I have a blue bike). Elles aiment la langue ‘anglaise.‘ (They like the English language.) Nous sommes vos voisins ‘américains.‘ (We are your American neighbors.) C’est un homme ‘sympa.‘ (He’s a nice man.) Nous avons des voisins ‘sincères.‘ (We have sincere neighbors.) This order is quite different from English as you can see in the translations, and Sam and Liz are going to have to make an extra effort to get this right if they want their French-speaking neighbors to understand them.

BANGS Adjectives

B – BeautyBANGS is an acronym that Sam and Liz can use to remember which adjectives don’t follow the rules. These are describing words that normally come before the noun (there are always exceptions). It stands for:
A – Age
N – Number
G – Goodness
S – Size
Examples of adjectives that fall in each category are as follows:
Beauty beau/belle/beaux/belles joli/jolie/jolis/jolies
Age jeune/jeunes viel/vieux/vieille/vieilles
Number un/deux/trois/quatre/cinq
Goodness bon/bonne/bons/bonnes mauvais/mauvaise/mauvaises
Size grand/grande/grands/grandes petit/petite/petits/petites
Knowing this information, Sam and Liz are able to tell and ask their new neighbor, Monsieur LeClerc, lots of important things: Sam: Vous avez une ‘belle’ voiture! (You have a nice car!) Liz: Est-ce que c’est un ‘bon’ restaurant au coin? (Is the restaurant on the corner good?) M LeClerc: C’est un ‘petit’ restaurant, mais il est bon. (It’s a small restaurant, but it is good.) Sam: Nous avons ‘deux’ chiens. Et vous, vous avez des animaux? (We have two dogs, and do you have any animals?)

Special Adjectives

There are also some special adjectives that don’t follow the normal positioning or BANGS. Sam and Liz have to be really careful with this group of adjectives because this group can be used before or after the nouns they describe, but the meaning changes depending on where they are placed. Here are a few of these used to help out Sam and Liz in their new neighborhood: 1. ancien (old/former)
  • Before a noun: C’est mon ancien voisin. (This is my former neighbor.)
  • After a noun: C’est mon voisin ancien. (This is my ancient neighbor.)
2. cher (dear/expensive)
  • Before a noun: Cher Sam, je t’aime. (Dear Sam, I love you.)
  • After a noun: Cette voiture est chère. (This car is expensive.)

French Adverbials of Frequency

French Adverbs: Definition

While adjectives add information about nouns, adverbs are used to add meaning to a verb, an adjective, another adverb or a whole sentence. Contrary to French adjectives that agree in gender and number with the noun they relate to, French adverbs are invariable, which means they never change. Adverbs are divided into different categories determined by the type of information they provide. As you might have guessed, adverbs of frequency and time provide information on when, how often, or for long an action takes place.

Adverbs of Time

There are many French adverbs of time. To help you learn them, we will divide them into four different categories: adverbs of time past, time present, time future and adverbs about a specific moment in time relative to another moment (this will become clearer as we get there).

Adverbs of Time Past

Adverbs of time past indicate the event has taken place in the past, whether recently or a long time ago. Logically, they are usually used in sentences in the past tense. Here is a table listing some adverbs of time past from most recent to most ancient:
French adverb Pronunciation English translation
À l’instant ah-lun-stan just now
Récemment ray-sah-man recently
Tout à l’heure too-tah-luhr earlier
Hier ee-ehr yesterday
Avant-hier ah-van-tee-ehr the day before yesterday
Autrefois o-truh-fwah in the past, in the old days
Jadis zhah-dees in the old days


Il est sorti à l’instant. He just walked out. Ils ont déménagé récemment. They recently moved away. Autrefois, j’avais les cheveux bruns. In the past, I used to have brown hair. Jadis, les enfants ne regardaient pas la télévision. In the old days, children did not watch television.

Adverbs of Time Present

French adverb Pronunciation English translation
Aujourd’hui o-zhoor-düee today
Maintenant mun-tuh-nan now
Tout de suite too-duh-süeet right now
Immédiatement eem-may-deeah-tman immediately
En ce moment an-suh-mo-man right now/currently
Actuellement ak-tü-ehl-man currently


Aujourd’hui nous allons à la plage! Today we are going to the beach! Je dois préparer le dîner maintenant. I have to prepare dinner now. Rendez-moi mon argent tout de suite. Give me back my money right now.

Adverbs of Time Future

French adverb Pronunciation English translation
Tout à l’heure too-tah-luhr later
Bientôt beeun-to soon
Demain duh-mun tomorrow
Après-demain ah-preh-duh-mun the day after tomorrow
Dorénavant do-ray-nah-van from now on
Aussitôt o-si-to as soon as/right away
Note that tout à l’heure can either refer to an event that just happened, or an event that will happen very soon, and can either mean earlier today or later today.

What can an adverb modify?

The adverb can modify a verb, an adjective or another adverb. It can also relate to the whole sentence, telling you what the speaker is thinking or feeling. In other words, it can modify almost everything, except a noun(which is modified by an adjective)
  • a verb: Je regarde (verb) souvent (adv) la télé.
  • an adjective: Je suis vraiment (adv) touché (adj).
  • Another adverb: Nous avons très (adv) bien (adv) mangé
  • A whole sentence: Malheureusement (adv), je ne l’ai pas trouvé. (sentence)   

How to form a regular adverb from an adjective?

Although there are many adverbs that do not have the ending –ment, this ending is undoubtedly an important category of adverbs.  Let’s get through the general rules:
  •  If the adjective ends with a vowel, add –ment to the adjective to form the adverb:
absolu                ==>       absolument poli                      ==>          poliment
  • If the adjective ends with a consonant, change it to the feminine form (to get the “e” at the end) and then add -ment:
normal                ==>          normale       ==>         normalement éventuel             ==>         éventuelle     ==>      éventuellement

Days of the Week in French

First, let’s take a look at the days of the week:
English French
Monday lundi (pronounced: lun-dee)
Tuesday mardi (pronounced like: Mardi Gras)
Wednesday mercredi (pronounced: mer-cra-dee)
Thursday jeudi (pronounced: ju-dee)
Friday vendredi (pronounced: von-dra-dee)
Saturday samedi (pronounced: sa-mey-dee)
Sunday dimanche (pronounced: dee-man-sh)
Notice that they are not automatically capitalized like they are in English. That is a very important rule, so make sure you keep it in mind! Family

Let’s Talk about Family!

This lesson will give you the vocabulary to do just that. Let’s get started!

Family Trees

Imagine your own family tree. What would it look like?
Family Tree
Family Tree
The word for family in French is une famille, (oon fah-mee). It may help to imagine a French family to try out some new French vocabulary. While we look at the family imagined here, think of your own and see if any of the new words might apply. Start with Sandrine. She lives in Bordeaux, in southwest France, with her immediate family. C’est Sandrine! ‘This is Sandrine’.
Young Girl
She has two parents. The word for parents in French is very similar to our own: des parents, (day par-ahn).
Ses Parents
She has a mother, une mère, (oon mehr), and a father,un père, (uhn pehr). In French, you might also hear the familiar forms of these words, Maman, (Mah-mahn), and Papa, (Pah-pah). Her family has four children in it. The word in French for children is des enfants, (dayz ahn-fahn). Sandrine has two sisters. The word for sister is unesœur, (oon sör). She has one brother, un frère, (uhn frehr). He is the baby, le bébé, (luh bay-bay). When we say that Sandrine has two sisters and one brother, it also tells us that her parents have three daughters and one son. The word for daughter is une fille, (oon fee), and the word for son is un fils, (uhn fees). What about your family tree? How is it like Sandrine’s? How is it different? Let’s practice a tiny bit with this vocabulary, so you can see how you might apply it to yourself. To say, ‘I have children,’ you would say, J’ai des enfants. If you’d like to say, ‘I have a son and a daughter. I also have a sister and a brother,’ you might say, ‘J’ai un fils et une fille. J’ai aussi (also) une sœur et un frère.’ Notice the expression J’ai, (jay). It means ‘I have’. If you like to make it negative (to say you don’t have any), you’ll change it to je n’ai pas de, (juh nay pah duh) as in, Je n’ai pas de filles. ‘I don’t have any daughters’.

Extended Family

Let’s add some members to Sandrine’s family. Sandrine’s extended family lives further east, in the Burgundy region. Sandrine, like many of us, has grandparents. She’s their granddaughter. Let’s see that same idea in French: see if you can find the word for grandparents in the first sentence! Sandrine a des grand-parents. Sandrine est leur petite-fille. If you guessed that des grand-parents, (day grah-pah-rahn), was the French word for grandparents, you were right! She has a grandmother, une grand-mère, (oon grahn-mehr), and a grandfather, un grand-père, (uhn grahn-pehr). The word for granddaughter, as you can see it in the sentence above, is une petite-fille. For grandson, it’s unpetit-fils. And for grandchildren, it’s des petits-enfants, (day puh-teez ahn-fahn). Sandrine also has aunts, uncles, and cousins. Her favorite aunt is une tante, (oon tahnt), or Tata, in the familiar form, as we might say Auntie. Her closest uncle is un oncle, (uhn ohn-cl), or Tonton, in the most familiar form. A male cousin is un cousin, (uhn coo-zan), and a female cousin is une cousine, (oon coo-zeen).

Personality Traits in French

Has anyone ever tried to set you up on a blind date? How did your friend describe the potential soulmate? In addition to physical appearance, personality traits are descriptors you might want to know in a situation like this. If your friend told you the person is tall with brown hair, you would certainly want more details! Before you agree to meet, you might want to know if this friend-of-a-friend is a hard worker or lazy, and if the person is intelligent, nice, kind, pleasant, or creative, for example. Now let’s say you’re in France and a friend tries to set you up on a blind date. You’ll need to know some personality trait vocabulary in French. Let’s look at some basic personality trait adjectives in French:
Masculine Plural Masculine Feminine Plural Feminine English Translation
intelligent intelligents (an tehl ee jahn) intelligente intelligentes (an tehl ee jahntuh) intelligent
gentil gentils (jahn tee) gentille gentilles (jahn teeyuh) kind
avare avares (ah vahr) avare avares (ah vahr) stingy
sympathique sympathiques (sam pah teek) sympathique sympathiques (sam pah teek) nice/sympathetic
méchant méchants (meh shahn) méchante méchantes (meh shahn tuh) mean
créatif créatifs (cray ah teef) créative créatives (cray ah teev) creative
artistique artistiques (ahr tee steek) artistique artistiques (ahr tee steek) artistic
timide timides (tee meed) timide timides (tee meed) timid/ shy
sortant sortants (sohr tahn) sortante sortantes (sohr tahntuh) outgoing
branché branchés (brahn shay) branchée branchées (brahn shay) cool/connected
charmant charmants (shahr mahn) charmante charmantes (shahr mahntuh) charming
fidèle fidèles (fee dehl) fidèle fidèles (fee dehl) loyal
bavard bavards (bah vahr) bavarde bavardes (bah vahr duh) talkative
calme calmes (cahl muh) calme calmes (cahlmuh) quiet/ calm
organisé organisés (ohr gah nee zay) organisée organisées (ohr gah nee zay) organized
désorganisé désorganisés (day zohr gah nee zay) désorganisée désorganisées (day zohr gah nee zay) disorganized/messy
compréhensif compréhensifs (cohm pray ahn seef) compréhensive compréhensives (cohm pray ahn seev) understanding
bon bons (bohn) bonne bonnes (buhnnuh) good
mauvais mauvais (moh vay) mauvaise mauvaises (moh vehz) bad
paresseux paresseux (pah reh suh) paresseuse paresseuses (pah reh suhz) lazy
travailleur travailleurs (trah vah ee uhr) travailleuse travailleuses (trah vah ee uhz) hardworking

French Conjugations:

Er- Verb
1. ACCOMPAGNER : to accompany
Je: accompagne Nous: accompagnons
Tu: accompagnes Vous: accompagnez
Il: accompagne Ils: accompagnent
2. AIDER : to help
Je: aide Nous: aidons
Tu: aides Vous: aidez
Il: aide Ils: aident
3. AIMER : to like, love
Je: aime Nous: aimons
Tu: aimes Vous: aimez
Il: aime Ils: aiment
4. APPORTER : to bring
Je: apporte Nous: apportons
Tu: apportes Vous: apportez
Il: apporte Ils: apportent
5. CHANTER : to sing
Je: chante Nous: chantons
Tu: chantes Vous: chantez
Il: chante Ils: chantent
6. COÛTER : to cost
Je: coûte Nous: coûtons
Tu: coûtes Vous: coûtez
Il: coûte Ils: coûtent
7. DANSER : to dance
Je: danse Nous: dansons
Tu: danses Vous: dansez
Il: danse Ils: dansent
8. FERMER : to close
Je: ferme Nous: fermons
Tu: fermes Vous: fermez
Il: ferme Ils: ferment
9. JOUER : to play
Je: joue Nous: jouons
Tu: joues Vous: jouez
Il: joue Ils: jouent
10. LAVER : to wash
Je: lave Nous: lavons
Tu: laves Vous: lavez
Il: lave Ils: lavent
11. MARCHER : to walk, go
Je: marche Nous: marchons
Tu: marches Vous: marchez
Il: marche Ils: marchent
12. MONTRER : to show
Je: montre Nous: montrons
Tu: montres Vous: montrez
Il: montre Ils: montrent
13. OUBLIER : to forget
Je: oublie Nous: oublions
Tu: oublies Vous: oubliez
Il: oublie Ils: oublient
14. PASSER : to pass
Je: passe Nous: passons
Tu: passes Vous: passez
Il: passe Ils: passent
15. PENSER : to think
Je: pense Nous: pensons
Tu: penses Vous: pensez
Il: pense Ils: pensent
16. PRÉPARER : to prepare
Je: prépare Nous: préparons
Tu: prépares Vous: préparez
Il: prépare Ils: préparent
17. RACONTER : to relate, tell
Je: raconte Nous: racontons
Tu: racontes Vous: racontez
Il: raconte Ils: racontent
18. ÉCOUTER : to listen (to)
Je: écoute Nous: écoutons
Tu: écoutes Vous: écoutez
Il: écoute Ils: écoutent
19. ÉTUDIER : to study
Je: étudie Nous: étudions
Tu: étudies Vous: étudiez
Il: étudie Ils: étudient
LE PRESENT: -ir verbs
1. AGIR : to act
Je: agis Nous: agissons
Tu: agis Vous: agissez
Il: agit Ils: agissent
2. BÂTIR : to build
Je: bâtis Nous: bâtissons
Tu: bâtis Vous: bâtissez
Il: bâtit Ils: bâtissent
3. CHOISIR : to choose
Je: choisis Nous: choisissons
Tu: choisis Vous: choisissez
Il: choisit Ils: choisissent
4. DÉSOBÉIR : to disobey
Je: désobéis Nous: désobéissons
Tu: désobéis Vous: désobéissez
Il: désobéit Ils: désobéissent
5. FINIR : to finish
Je: finis Nous: finissons
Tu: finis Vous: finissez
Il: finit Ils: finissent
6. GUÉRIR : to cure
Je: guéris Nous: guérissons
Tu: guéris Vous: guérissez
Il: guérit Ils: guérissent
7. NOURRIR : to feed
Je: nourris Nous: nourrissons
Tu: nourris Vous: nourrissez
Il: nourrit Ils: nourrissent
8. OBÉIR : to obey
Je: obéis Nous: obéissons
Tu: obéis Vous: obéissez
Il: obéit Ils: obéissent
9. PUNIR : to punish
Je: punis Nous: punissons
Tu: punis Vous: punissez
Il: punit Ils: punissent
10. REMPLIR : to fill
Je: remplis Nous: remplissons
Tu: remplis Vous: remplissez
Il: remplit Ils: remplissent
11. ROUGIR : to blush
Je: rougis Nous: rougissons
Tu: rougis Vous: rougissez
Il: rougit Ils: rougissent
12. RÉFLÉCHIR : to think, reflect
Je: réfléchis Nous: réfléchissons
Tu: réfléchis Vous: réfléchissez
Il: réfléchit Ils: réfléchissent
13. RÉUSSIR : to succeed
Je: réussis Nous: réussissons
Tu: réussis Vous: réussissez
Il: réussit Ils: réussissent
14. SAISIR : to seize
Je: saisis Nous: saisissons
Tu: saisis Vous: saisissez
Il: saisit Ils: saisissent
LE PRESENT: -re verbs
1. ATTENDRE : to wait (for)
Je: attends Nous: attendons
Tu: attends Vous: attendez
Il: attend Ils: attendent
2. DESCENDRE : to go (come) down
Je: descends Nous: descendons
Tu: descends Vous: descendez
Il: descend Ils: descendent
3. DÉFENDRE : to defend
Je: défends Nous: défendons
Tu: défends Vous: défendez
Il: défend Ils: défendent
4. ENTENDRE : to hear
Je: entends Nous: entendons
Tu: entends Vous: entendez
Il: entend Ils: entendent
5. INTERROMPRE : to interrupt
Je: interromps Nous: interrompons
Tu: interromps Vous: interrompez
Il: interrompt Ils: interrompent
6. PERDRE : to lose
Je: perds Nous: perdons
Tu: perds Vous: perdez
Il: perd Ils: perdent
7. RENDRE : to give back, return
Je: rends Nous: rendons
Tu: rends Vous: rendez
Il: rend Ils: rendent
8. ROMPRE : to break
Je: romps Nous: rompons
Tu: romps Vous: rompez
Il: rompt Ils: rompent
9. RÉPONDRE : to answer
Je: réponds Nous: répondons
Tu: réponds Vous: répondez
Il: répond Ils: répondent
10. VENDRE : to sell
Je: vends Nous: vendons
Tu: vends Vous: vendez
Il: vend Ils: vendent
LE PRESENT: irregular -ir verbs
1. DORMIR : to sleep
Je: dors Nous: dormons
Tu: dors Vous: dormez
Il: dort Ils: dorment
2. ENDORMIR : to put to sleep
Je: endors Nous: endormons
Tu: endors Vous: endormez
Il: endort Ils: endorment
3. MENTIR : to lie
Je: mens Nous: mentons
Tu: mens Vous: mentez
Il: ment Ils: mentent
4. PARTIR : to go away
Je: pars Nous: partons
Tu: pars Vous: partez
Il: part Ils: partent
5. SENTIR : to feel
Je: sens Nous: sentons
Tu: sens Vous: sentez
Il: sent Ils: sentent
6. SERVIR : to serve
Je: sers Nous: servons
Tu: sers Vous: servez
Il: sert Ils: servent
7. SORTIR : to go out
Je: sors Nous: sortons
Tu: sors Vous: sortez
Il: sort Ils: sortent
LE PRESENT: irregular verbs
1. ALLER : to go
Je: vais Nous: allons
Tu: vas Vous: allez
Il: va Ils: vont
2. ASSEOIR : to sit
Je: assieds Nous: asseyons
Tu: assieds Vous: asseyez
Il: assied Ils: asseyent
3. AVOIR : to have
Je: ai Nous: avons
Tu: as Vous: avez
Il: a Ils: ont
4. BATTRE : to beat
Je: bats Nous: battons
Tu: bats Vous: battez
Il: bat Ils: battent
5. BOIRE : to drink
Je: bois Nous: buvons
Tu: bois Vous: buvez
Il: boit Ils: boivent
6. CONDUIRE : to drive
Je: conduis Nous: conduisons
Tu: conduis Vous: conduisez
Il: conduit Ils: conduisent
7. CONNAÎTRE : to be acquainted with
Je: connais Nous: connaissons
Tu: connais Vous: connaissez
Il: connaît Ils: connaissent
8. COURIR : to run
Je: cours Nous: courons
Tu: cours Vous: courez
Il: court Ils: courent
9. CRAINDRE : to fear
Je: crains Nous: craignons
Tu: crains Vous: craignez
Il: craint Ils: craignent
10. CROIRE : to believe
Je: crois Nous: croyons
Tu: crois Vous: croyez
Il: croit Ils: croient
11. DEVOIR : to have to
Je: dois Nous: devons
Tu: dois Vous: devez
Il: doit Ils: doivent
12. DIRE : to say
Je: dis Nous: disons
Tu: dis Vous: dites
Il: dit Ils: disent
13. FAIRE : to do
Je: fais Nous: faisons
Tu: fais Vous: faites
Il: fait Ils: font
14. LIRE : to read
Je: lis Nous: lisons
Tu: lis Vous: lisez
Il: lit Ils: lisent
15. METTRE : to put on
Je: mets Nous: mettons
Tu: mets Vous: mettez
Il: met Ils: mettent
16. OUVRIR : to open
Je: ouvre Nous: ouvrons
Tu: ouvres Vous: ouvrez
Il: ouvre Ils: ouvrent
17. PLAIRE : to please
Je: plais Nous: plaisons
Tu: plais Vous: plaisez
Il: plaît Ils: plaisent
18. POUVOIR : to be able
Je: peux Nous: pouvons
Tu: peux Vous: pouvez
Il: peut Ils: peuvent
19. PRENDRE : to take
Je: prends Nous: prenons
Tu: prends Vous: prenez
Il: prend Ils: prennent
20. RECEVOIR : to receive
Je: reçois Nous: recevons
Tu: reçois Vous: recevez
Il: reçoit Ils: reçoivent
21. RIRE : to laugh
Je: ris Nous: rions
Tu: ris Vous: riez
Il: rit Ils: rient
22. SAVOIR : to know
Je: sais Nous: savons
Tu: sais Vous: savez
Il: sait Ils: savent
23. SUIVRE : to follow
Je: suis Nous: suivons
Tu: suis Vous: suivez
Il: suit Ils: suivent
24. TAIRE : to not tell
Je: tais Nous: taisons
Tu: tais Vous: taisez
Il: tait Ils: taisent
25. TENIR : to hold
Je: tiens Nous: tenons
Tu: tiens Vous: tenez
Il: tient Ils: tiennent
26. VALOIR : to be worth
Je: vaux Nous: valons
Tu: vaux Vous: valez
Il: vaut Ils: valent
27. VENIR : to come
Je: viens Nous: venons
Tu: viens Vous: venez
Il: vient Ils: viennent
28. VIVRE : to live
Je: vis Nous: vivons
Tu: vis Vous: vivez
Il: vit Ils: vivent
29. VOIR : to see
Je: vois Nous: voyons
Tu: vois Vous: voyez
Il: voit Ils: voient
30. VOULOIR : to want
Je: veux Nous: voulons
Tu: veux Vous: voulez
Il: veut Ils: veulent
31. ÉCRIRE : to write
Je: écris Nous: écrivons
Tu: écris Vous: écrivez
Il: écrit Ils: écrivent
32. ÊTRE : to be
Je: suis Nous: sommes
Tu: es Vous: êtes
Il: est Ils: sont

Expressions of Quantity with Numbers or de

The French pronoun en replaces phrases that indicate quantities (of things or people). Quantities can be expressed with numbers, expressions, indefinite articles, and partitive articles:
  • A number: J’ai trois chats. (I have three cats.)

  • An expression + de: Il a beaucoup de CDs. (He has a lot of CDs.)

  • An indefinite article: Nous avons une voiture bleue. (We have a blue car.)

  • A partitive article: Ils ont de la chance. (They have some luck.)

The word de in an expression of quantity like un peu de (a little bit of) or just a number + noun is replaced by the pronoun en. But don’t lose track of that specific quantity when you are using the pronoun: Eating “a lot of chocolate” is not the same as eating “a little bit of chocolate”! How do you keep track of the quantity? That’s super easy: Just put the quantity you’re talking about at the end of the sentence, no matter where en is in the sentence. Here’s how to proceed:
  1. Find the quantity phrase.

    For example, in Les athlètes ont beaucoup de médailles. (The athletes have a lot of medals.), the expression of quantity is beaucoup de médailles.

  2. Remove the entire phrase: the expression of quantity (+ de) + noun.

    In this example, you’re left with Les athlètes ont.

  3. Replace the phrase with the pronoun en and place the pronoun properly in the sentence — in this sentence, before the conjugated verb.

    In this case, you have Les athlètes en ont.

  4. Add the expression of quantity (same one or a new one), without de, at the very end of the sentence.

    Here, you wind up with Les athlètes en ont beaucoup. (The athletes have a lot of them.)

Here are a few examples using different expressions of quantity of this type.
Je bois un verre de lait. (I drink a glass of milk.) → J’en bois un verre. (I drink a glass of it.)
Elle a un portable. (She has a cellphone.) → Elle en a un. (She has one [of them].)
Le champion a gagné neuf médailles. (The champion won nine medals.) → Le champion en a gagné neuf. (The champion won nine [of them].)
Note: The indefinite article un (a, an) counts as a specific quantity and has to be taken up as such in the new sentence with en. This fact also applies to the indefinite article une (a) but not to the indefinite article des (some). This construction is particularly useful when you are asked how many of something you have or want.
Combien d’animaux est-ce que tu as chez toi? (How many pets do you have?)
J’en ai trois: un chien, un chat et un poisson rouge. (I have three: a dog, a cat, and a goldfish.)
Tu bois du lait le matin? (Do you drink any milk in the morning?)
Oui, j’en bois un verre. (Yes, I drink a glass of it.)

Framing Questions in French Using Est-Ce Que

In French, you can ask a question in a couple of different ways. In English, when you ask a yes/no question in present tense, you typically begin with Do you, and the verb follows. (For example, Do you have a cat?) French has two primary ways of asking the same question:
  • Add est-ce que at the beginning of a sentence.

  • Use inversion, but it’s a bit more complex and usually reserved for written style/expression.

You can form a question by starting the sentence with the tag est-ce que and ending it with a question mark. Est-ce que doesn’t translate in English, but it’s the equivalent of Do you or Are you. Here are some examples:
Statement: Mes amis vont au cinéma. (My friends go to the movies.)
Question: Est-ce que mes amis vont au cinéma? (Are my friends going to the movies?)
Statement: Je peux sortir. (I can go out.)
Question: Est-ce que je peux sortir? (Can I go out?)
Statement: C’est facile (It’s easy.)
Question: Est-ce que c’est facile? (Is it easy?)

If est-ce que precedes a subject that begins with a vowel, it changes to est-ce qu’ as illustrated in the following example:

Est-ce qu’il pleut? (Is it raining?)

How to use of ‘VENIR DE + infinitive verb”

French Vocabulary

The expression ‘VENIR DE + infinitive verb’ expresses the notion of just did something.

  • ‘VENIR DE’ may be in the present tense. It expresses the idea of ‘just did something’ or ‘just have done something’.
    • Je viens de manger => I just ate






viens de


I just ate


viens d’


you just bought


vient de


she just talked


vient d’


he/it just went


vient de


we just drank


venons de


we just saw


venez de


you just sold


viennent de


they just visited


viennent de


they just worke


À – French Preposition

À is a very important French preposition, despite its tiny size. Its many different meanings and uses in French include all of the following:I. Location or destinationJ’habite à Paris – I live in Paris Je vais à Rome – I’m going to Rome Je suis à la banque – I’m at the bank II. Distance in time or space J’habite à 10 mètres de lui – I live 10 meters from him Il est à 5 minutes de moi – He is 5 minutes from me III. Point in time Nous arrivons à 5h00 – We arrive at 5:00 Il est mort à 92 ans – He died at the age of 92 IV. Manner, style, or characteristic Il habite à la française – He lives in the French style un enfant aux yeux bleus – blue-eyed child / child with blue eyes fait à la main – made by hand aller à pied – to go on / by foot V. Possession un ami à moi – a friend of mine Ce livre est à Jean – This is Jean’s book VI. Measurement acheter au kilo – to buy by the kilogram payer à la semaine – to pay by the week VII. Purpose or use une tasse à thé – teacup / cup for tea un sac à dos – backpack / pack for the back VIII. In the Passive Infinitive À louer – for rent Je n’ai rien à lire – I have nothing to read.
Note: When followed by the definite articles le and les, à contracts with them into a single word:
For example
à + le = au au magasin
à + les = aux aux maisons
But à does not contract with la or l’
à + la = à la à la banque
à + l’ = à l’ à l’hôpital
In addition, à does not contract with le and les when they are direct objects.
Conjugating Reflexive Verbsreflexive verb infinitive is identified by its reflexive pronoun se, which is placed before the infinitive and that serves as a direct or indirect object pronoun. A reflexive verb shows that the subject is performing the action upon itself and, therefore, the subject and the reflexive pronoun refer to the same person or thing, as in je m’appelle (I call myself), which is translated to “My name is.” Some verbs must always be reflexive, whereas other verbs may be made reflexive by adding the correct object pronoun. The meaning of some verbs varies depending upon whether or not the verb is used reflexively. Reflexive verbs are always conjugated with the reflexive pronoun that agrees with the subject: me (myself), te (yourself), se (himself, herself, itself, themselves), nous (ourselves), and vous (yourself, yourselves). These pronouns generally precede the verb. Follow the rules for conjugating regular verbs, verbs with spelling changes, and irregular verbs, depending on of the tense, as shown in Table 1: Reflexive constructions have the following translations:
  • Present tense: Je me lave. (I wash myself.)
  • Imperfect tense:Je me lavais. (I was washing [used to] myself.)
  • Future tense: Je me laverai. (I will wash myself.)
  • Conditional: Je me laverais. (I would wash myself.)
Consider the following most commonly used reflexive verbs. Those marked with asterisks have shoe verb spelling change within the infinitive.
  • s’approcher de (approach)
  • s’arrêter de (stop)
  • se baigner (bathe, swim)
  • se blesser (hurt oneself)
  • se bronzer (tan)
  • se brosser (brush)
  • se brûler (burn oneself)
  • se casser (break)
  • se coiffer (do one’s hair)
  • se coucher (go to bed)
  • se couper (cut oneself)
  • se demander (wonder)
  • se dépêcher (hurry)
  • se déshabiller (undress)
  • se détendre (relax)
  • s’endormir (go to sleep)
  • se fâcher (get angry)
  • s’habiller (dress)
  • s’impatienter (become impatient)
  • s’inquiéter de* (worry about)
  • se laver (wash)
  • se lever* (get up)
  • se maquiller (apply make‐up)
  • se mettre à (begin)
  • s’occuper de (take care of)
  • se peigner (comb)
  • se présenter (introduce oneself)
  • se promener* (take a walk)
  • se rappeler* (recall)
  • se raser (shave)
  • se reposer (rest)
  • se réunir (meet)
  • se réveiller (wake up)
  • se servir de (use)
  • se tromper (make a mistake)
In addition, some French verbs are always reflexive despite the fact that in English they are not:
  • s’écrier (exclaim, cry out)
  • s’en aller (leave, go away)
  • se fier à (trust)
  • se méfier de (distrust)
  • se moquer de (make fun of)
  • se soucier de (care about)
  • se souvenir de (remember)
When a subject is followed by two verbs (and keep in mind that when the first one is conjugated, the second must be in the infinitive, the reflexive pronoun precedes the infinitive, because its meaning is tied to that verb:
  • Je vais me dépêcher. (I’m going to hurry.)
  • Il ne va pas se raser. (He’s not going to shave.)
  • Reflexive Verbs and Commands
  • In a negative command, the reflexive pronoun directly precedes the verb: Ne te lève pas!(Don’t get up!)
  • In an affirmative command, the reflexive pronoun follows the verb and is attached to it by a hyphen. In familiar commands, tebecomes toi after the verb: Lèvetoi! Levezvous! (Get up!)

Reflexive or Non‐Reflexive?

The meaning of certain verbs allows the use of the verb either as reflexive or non‐reflexive, depending upon whom the action is performed. Me, te, se, nous, and vous are also used as direct and indirect object pronouns when not used reflexively. Be sure, therefore, to pay attention to the meaning you wish to convey.
  • Je me lave. (I wash myself.)
  • Je lave la voiture. (I wash the car.)
  • Je la lave. (I wash it.)
  • Il se réveille. (He wakes [himself] up.)
  • Il me réveille. (He wakes me up.)
Some verbs in French have different meanings when used reflexively, as shown in Table 1. Even verbs that are not generally used as reflexive verbs may be made reflexive by adding the reflexive pronoun:
  • Je prépare le dîner. (I prepare dinner.)
  • Je me prépare. (I prepare myself.)
Reflexive verbs may be used in the plural to express reciprocal action meaning “each other” or “one another:”
  • Nous nous parlons. (We speak to each other.)
  • Vous vous regardez. (You look at one another.)
Reflexive Verbs and Compound Tenses In compound tenses like the passé composé, reflexive verbs use êtreas their helping (auxiliary) verb. The reflexive pronoun remains before the conjugated helping form of être, as follows:
  • Je me suis lavé(e). (I washed myself.)
  • Tu t’es préparé(e). (You didn’t get ready.)
  • Il s’est rasé. (He shaved.)
  • Elle s’est couchée. (Didn’t she go to bed?)
  • Nous nous sommes peigné(e)s. (We combed our hair.)
  • Vous vous êtes coiffé(e)(s). (You didn’t do your hair.)
  • Ils se sont impatientés. (They became impatient.)
  • Elles se sont maquillées. (They put on their makeup.)
When the reflexive pronoun is used as a direct object, as in “Whom did they wash? Themselves! ” the past participle agrees with the reflexive pronoun: Ils se sont lavés. (They washed themselves.) When the reflexive pronoun is used as an indirect object (“To/for whom did they wash something? For themselves!”), the past participle shows no agreement: Ils se sont lavé la figure. (They washed their faces.) Even verbs that are not generally used as reflexive verbs may be made reflexive by adding the reflexive pronoun:
  • Je prépare le dîner. (I prepare dinner.)
  • Je me prépare. (I prepare myself.)
Reflexive verbs may be used in the plural to express reciprocal action meaning “each other” or “one another:”
  • Nous nous parlons. (We speak to each other.)
  • Vous vous regardez. (You look at one another.)

Passé Composé

The Passé Composé with Avoir

Using avoir as the helping verb is a logical choice in a tense that expresses an action that has occurred. Although English usage often omits the use of “have” when it is implied (You may say, “I lost my keys” and not, “I have lost my keys”), in French, you must always use the helping verb: J’ai perdu mes clefs. To form the passé composé of verbs using avoir, conjugate avoir in the present tense (j’ai, tu as, il a, nous avons, vous avez, ils ont) and add the past participle of the verb expressing the action. Put the words together this way: subject + helping verb (usually avoir) + past participle. The passé composé, a compound past tense, is formed by combining two elements: when (the action has taken place and, therefore, requires the helping verb avoir) and what (the action that has happened and, therefore, requires the past participle of the regular or irregular verb showing the particular action). See Figure 1. Here are some examples of the passé composé. Elle a expliqué son problème. (She explained her problem.) Ils ont réussi. (They succeeded.) J’ai entendu les nouvelles. (I heard the news.) Forming the negative in the passé composé with avoir In a negative sentence in the passé composé, ne precedes the helping verb, and the negative word (pas, rien, jamais, and so on follows it: Je n’ai rien préparé. (I didn’t prepare anything.) Nous n’avons pas fini le travail. (We didn’t finish the work.) Il n’a jamais répondu à la lettre. (He never answered the letter.) Questions in the passé composé with avoir To form a question in the passé composé using inversion, invert the conjugated helping verb with the subject pronoun and add a hyphen. Then place the negative around the hyphenated helping verb and subject pronoun: As‐tu mangé? (Did you eat?) N’as‐tu rien mangé? (Didn’t you eat anything?) A‐t‐il attendu les autres? (Did he wait for the others?) N’a‐t‐il pas attendu? (Didn’t he wait for the others?) Regular verbs follow a prescribed set of rules for the formation of the past participle, whereas irregular verbs (discussed in the following section) must be memorized. Past participles of verbs conjugated with avoir agree in gender (masculine or feminine — add e) and number (singular or plural — add s) with a preceding direct object noun or pronoun: Le(s) film(s)? (The film[s]?) Je l'(les)ai aimé(s). (I liked it [them].) Quelle(s) robe(s) a‐t‐elle choisie(s)? (Which dress[es] did she choose?) Il nous a vus. (He saw us.)

The Passé Composé with Être

The passé composé of 17 verbs is formed by combining the present tense of être (je suis, tu es, il est, nous sommes, vous êtes, ils sont) and then adding the past participle of the verb showing the action. Most of these verbs express motion or a change of place, state, or condition (that is, going up, going down, going in, going out, or remaining). Dr. and Mrs. Vandertrampp live in the house in Figure , as illustrated in Table 1. Their name may help you memorize the 17 verbs using être. An asterisk (*) in Table 6 denotes an irregular past participle. Verbs whose helping verb is être must show agreement of their past participles in gender (masculine or feminine — add e) and number (singular or plural — add s) with the subject noun or pronoun, as shown in Table 2 : Remember the following rules when using être as a helping verb in the passé composé: Vous can be a singular or plural subject for both masculine and feminine subjects. Singular Plural Vous êtes entré. (You entered.) Vous êtes entrés. (You entered.) Vous êtes entrée. (You entered.) Vous êtes entrées. (You entered.) For a mixed group, always use the masculine form. Roger et Bernard sont revenus. (Roger and Bernard came back.) Louise et Mireille sont revenues. (Louise and Mireille came back.) Roger et Louise sont revenus. (Roger and Louise came back.) If the masculine past participle ends in an unpronounced consonant, pronounce the consonant for the feminine singular and plural forms: Il est mort. (He died.) Ils sont morts. (They died.) Elle est morte. (She died.) Elles sont mortes. (They died.) Forming the negative in the passé composé with être In the negative, put ne before the conjugated form of être and the negative word after it: Il n’est pas sorti. (He didn’t go out.) Elles ne sont pas encore arrivées. (They didn’t arrive yet.) Questions in the passé composé with être To form a question using inversion, invert the conjugated form of être with the subject pronoun and add a hyphen. The negatives surround the hyphenated verb and pronoun: Sont‐ils partis? (Did they leave?) Ne sont‐ils pas partis? (Didn’t they leave?)

Future Tense

The future tense expresses what the subject will do or is going to do in the future. It also describes what action will or is going to take place at a future time. Although the future tense is usually used for events taking place in the future, the present tense in French may be used to refer to an action that will take place very soon or to ask for future instructions.
  • Il part tôt. (He will be leaving early.)
  • Je prends le bus? (Shall I take the bus?)
In addition, you can express an imminent action in the near future by conjugating the verb aller (to go) in the present tense and adding the infinitive of the action the speaker will perform. Keep in mind that the irregular present tense of aller is je vais, tu vas, il va, nous allons, vous allez, and ils vont.
  • Il va aller loin. (He’s going to go far.)
  • Ils vont jouer. (They are going to play.)
Otherwise, use the future tense in the following cases:
  • To express what will happen: Je réussirai. (I will succeed.)
  • After quand (when), lorsque (when), dès que (as soon as), andaussitôt que (as soon as), when referring to a future action, even if the present tense is used in English: Quand (Lorsque, Dès que, Aussitôt que) nous aurons beaucoup d’argent, nous irons en France. (When [As soon as] we have a lot of money, we will go to France.)
Future tense of regular verbs Form the future tense of regular verbs, as shown in Table 1, by adding the following endings (often referred to as avoir endings because they resemble the present conjugation of avoir) to the verb infinitive. Note the following about forming the future tense of regular verbs:
  • re verbs drop the final e before adding the appropriate future ending: vendre (to sell) becomes nous vendrons (we will sell)
  • The e of the er infinitive stem of the future is not pronounced.
All verbs that require spelling changes form the future in the same way as regular verbs: infinitive + future ending (except the following): For verbs ending in yer (except envoyer, which is irregular), change yto i in all forms of the future tense. Verbs ending in ‐ ayer may or may not make this change:
  • j’emplo i erai, nous emplo i erons (I will use, we will use)
  • je pa i erai or je pa y erai (I will pay)
For verbs ending in e + consonant + er (but not é + consonant + er), change the silent e before the infinitive ending to è in all forms of the future tense.
  • tu ach èteras, vous ach èterez (you will buy)
With appeler and jeter, double the consonant in the future tense.
  • nous appellerons (we will call)
  • nous jetterons (we will throw)
Future tense of irregular verbs Irregular verbs in the future have future stems ending in r or rr. Add the future endings to these stems to get the correct future form, as shown in Table 2. Negating in the future tense To negate a sentence in the future, simply put ne and the negative word around the conjugated verb:
  • Elles ne sortiront pas ce soir. (They will not go out this evening.)
  • Il ne fumera jamais. (He will never smoke.)
Remember that pronouns remain before the conjugated verb: Je ne te téléphonerai pas. (I will not call you.) Questions in the future tense To form a question using inversion, reverse the order of the subject pronoun and the verb and join them with a hyphen:
  • Irezvous en France cet été? (Will you go to France this summer?)
  • Joueratelle du piano? (Will she play the piano.)
The Conditional   The conditional is not a tense because it does not refer to a time period. Instead, the conditional is a mood that expresses what a subject would do under certain circumstances. Use the conditional in the following situations:
  • To express what would happen under certain conditions: Si j’avais le temps je voyagerais. (If I had the time, I would travel.)
  • When “could” has the sense of “should be able to,” in which case you use the conditional of pouvoirIl pourrait faire ceci. (He could [should be able to] do this.)
  • To politely make a request or a demand: Je voudrais l’acheter. (I would like to buy it.)
The conditional uses the same stem as the future tense, but you then add the conditional endings, which are exactly the same as the imperfect endings, as shown in Table 1. For irregular verbs and verbs with spelling changes, you simply add conditional endings to the stems used for the future.
  • acheter: nous achèterions (xxx)
  • aller: j’irais (xxx)
  • appeler: vous appelleriez (xxx)
  • avoir: tu aurais (xxx)
  • devoir: il devrait (xxx)]
  • envoyer: j’enverrais (xxx)
  • essayer: j’essaierais or j’essayerai (xxx)
  • être: nous serions (xxx)
  • faire: vous feriez (xxx)
  • jeter: elle jetterait (xxx)
  • pouvoir: ils pourraient (xxx)
  • recevoir: je recevrais (xxx)
  • savoir: on saurait (xxx)
  • venir: nous viendrions (xxx)
  • voir: vous verriez (xxx)
  • vouloir: ils voudraient (xxx)
Irregularities in the future and conditional also occur in related verbs:
  • nous mettrions (we would put); nous permettrions (we would permit)
  • j’enverrais (I would send); je renverrais (I would send back)
Negating in the conditional To negate a sentence in the conditional, simply put ne and the negative word around the conjugated verb:
  • Elle ne rirait pas. (She wouldn’t laugh.)
  • Je ne pleurerais pas. (I wouldn’t cry.)
Remember that pronouns remain before the conjugated verb: Il ne vous punirait pas. (He wouldn’t punish you.) Questions in the conditional To form a question using inversion, reverse the order of the subject pronoun and the verb and join them with a hyphen:
  • Voudriezvous aller en France? (Would you like to go to France?)
  • J’aimerais partir. (I would like to leave.)
French Prepositions of Place – Countries, Cities, Regions Why do you say “Je vais en France” but “Je vais au Japon”? Like any inanimate object, continents, countries, and regions also have genders in French. The ending will usually tell you which is feminine or masculine and help you choose the correct French preposition of place. A – General Rule About French Prepositions of Places When the name of a region ends in an E, it’s usually feminine. La France, l’Angleterre, la Suisse, la Chine, l’Inde, la Californie, l’Asie
  • To say you’re going TO it, use EN Je vais… en France, en Italie, en Afrique, en Floride…
  • To say you’re there, use EN Je suis…  en France, en Italie, en Afrique, en Floride…
  • To say you’re coming from it, use DE Je viens de France, d’Italie, d’Afrique, de Floride…
(There are many exceptions though, such as Le Mexique, Le Maine, Le Zimbabwe…) When the name of a region ends in any other vowel but Eor a consonant, it’s usually masculine. Le Canada, le Japon, le Portugal, le Burundi, le Luxembourg, le Texas
  • To say you’re going TO it, use AU Je vais… au Niger, au Brésil, au Maroc, au Congo
  • To say you’re there, use AU Je suis…  au Niger, au Brésil, au Maroc, au Congo
  • To say you’re coming from it, use DU Je viens… du Niger, du Brésil, du Maroc, du Congo
When a masculine country starts with a vowel or an H, use the rules of the feminine countries L’Iran, l’Ouganda, Oman, Angola, Israël
  • Je vais en Iran, je viens d’Angola, je suis en Israël
B – Particular Cases About French Prepositions of Places Unfortunately, there are too many exceptions to be listed… So be ready to face many particular cases. Here are some pointers 1 – Plural names A few names of regions are plural. Most plural regions end in an S, but not all regions ending in an S are plural (le Laos, L’Arkansas)… So with plural regions, here is the rule Les États-Unis, les Maldives, les Pays-Bas, Les Philippines…
  • To say you’re going TO it, use AUX Je vais… aux États-Unis, aux Maldives
  • To say you’re there, use AUX Je suis…   aux États-Unis, aux Maldives
  • To say you’re coming from it, use DES Je viens… des États-Unis, des Maldives
Note the pronunciation of les États-Unis – there are 2 strong liaisons in Z, whether its introduced by les, aux or des = Zéta Zuni 2 – Cities Cities are usually not introduced by any article, and are usually feminine. Paris est belle (because here Paris refers to “la ville de Paris”).
  • For most cities, to say you’re going TO it, use à Je vais… à Paris, à Tokyo, à New-York
  • To say you’re IN it, use à Je suis… à Paris, à Tokyo, à New-York
  • To say you’re coming from it, use DE Je viens… de Paris, de Tokyo, de New-York
But some cities include an article in their name – Le Havre, le Caire, La Paz, Les Andelys… For these, usually the article contracts with the à, becoming au, du etc… 3 – Islands Are messy business in French… !! Many don’t have any article, and will be introduced by à or de Je vais à Cuba, à Haïti, à Madagascar But some are masculine Je vais au Japon And some are feminine Je vais en Corse And other plural Je vais aux Maldives So it’s more like a case by case scenario… 4 – Regions and states These usually follow the general rules for gender. La Provence, Le Sussex, l’Oregon. Note that in the US, the states are masculine except: La Floride, La Californie, La Caroline du Sud, La Caroline du Nord, La Louisiane, la Georgie, la Virginie occidentale (West Virginia), la Virginie Orientale (Virginia), La Pennsylvanie. But watch out… Le Maine. For prepositions used with  regions and states, it’s very difficult to say there is a rule per se… We tend not to use à, but rather en, au, aux or dans le, dans la, dans les… It’s really a matter of custom, not grammar. Au Texas, dans le Maine, en Bourgogne, en Californie, dans la Creuse….

Scroll to Top