FRENCH
VERBS
Every mood and
verb tense in French. Note
that the moods are across
the top and the tenses
are listed top to bottom,
with the present tense
in the center.

See the website listed
at the bottom right for an
interactive version of this
chart, where you can click
each tense/mood for an
explanation of how it
is used.
In the next slide, you will
see the tenses/moods
you have learned up to this
point (not all of them have
been emphasized in FR
201).
http://french.about.com/library/bl_timelinee.htm
We’ll work our way
through all of these
as the PPT continues.
Infinitive
The infinitive is simply an unconjugated verb. See
below for some examples of infinitives:
parler
aller
être
se lever
voir
prendre
The infinitive translates as “to…”. To speak, to go, to
be, to get up, to see, to take.
For more info, go here:
http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/infinitive.htm
Conjugating verbs
To conjugate verbs, use the following subjects:
je
tu
il/elle/on
nous
vous
ils/elles
Present (indicative)
This is the most commonly used and the first tense you
learn in French. There are many types of verbs
conjugated in the present tense.
Regular Verbs. Drop the infinitive ending and add the
following endings:
-er
-ir
-re
je
-e
-is
-s
tu
-es
-is
-s
il/elle/on
-e
-it
nous
-ons
-issons
-ons
vous
-ez
-issez
-ez
ils/elles
-ent
-issent
-ent
Present (indicative), continued
Quiz:
Conjugate the verbs parler, choisir, and descendre and
check your work using this online conjugator:
http://www.wordreference.com/conj/FRverbs.aspx.
Be sure you also know how to conjugate –ger and –cer
verbs (which are not strictly irregular, but they do
have spelling changes).
Some important irregular verbs: être, avoir, aller, faire,
prendre, pouvoir, vouloir, devoir, mettre, lire,
écrire, venir, savoir, connaître, sortir, dormir,
suivre. Test your ability to conjugate these verbs and
then verify your work using the conjugator linked
above.
Pronominal Verbs (in present tense)
These verbs require an extra set of pronouns.
se lever
je me lève
tu te lèves
il se lève
nous nous levons
vous vous levez
ils se lèvent
Present participle
This is a verb form ending in –ant. Start with the “nous” form of the verb in the present tense,
then drop the –ons and add –ant. Three irregulars: étant, ayant, sachant. This verb form
is often used with the preposition en.
•
The French present participle can never be used to talk about what someone is doing. The
construction "je suis mangeant" (the literal translation of "I am eating") simply does not
exist in French - you must use the present tense: je mange. To emphasize the ongoing
nature of an activity, you can use the French expression être en train de: je suis en train de
manger - "I'm eating (right now).
•
The French present participle cannot be used after another verb. "J'aime lisant"does not
exist; to say "I like reading," you must use the infinitive: j'aime lire.
•
The English usage of the present participle as a noun indicating an activity, as in "Seeing is
believing," is another case in which the French translation requires the infinitive: Voir,
c'est croire. Sometimes you can just use a noun; to translate "Reading is fun," you have
two options: Lire est un plaisir, La lecture est un plaisir.
•
As a verb or gerund, the present participle is invariable, except in the case of pronominal
verbs, which keep the appropriate reflexive pronoun in front of the present participle: me
coiffant (doing my hair), en nous levant (upon [us] getting up), etc.
For more information, see this website:
http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/presentparticiple.htm
Passé composé: past participle
How to form the past participle? Drop the infinitive ending and
add:
ER  é
parler  parlé
IR  i
choisir  choisi
RE  u
vendre  vendu
But, of course, there are several verbs with irregular past
participles:
être: été
vouloir: voulu
venir: venu(e)
voir: vu
mettre: mis
naître: né(e)
ouvrir: ouvert
mourir: mort(e)
avoir: eu
boire: bu
devoir: dû
prendre: pris
croire: cru
recevoir: reçu
pouvoir: pu
offrir: offert
faire: fait
Compound past AKA passé composé
The passé composé is the most common past tense in
French. It is used to express actions that were
completed in the past. It is formed in two different
ways. Most verbs take avoir in the passé composé.
Examples: j’ai parlé, elle a dansé, nous avons mangé
Two kinds of verbs are conjugated with être in the
passé composé: 1) pronominal verbs and 2) DR MR
VANDERTRAMPPS. *With these verbs, the past
participle must match the subject in gender and in
number.*
Pronominal verbs in the passé composé
se lever
je me suis levé(e)
nous nous sommes levé(e)s
tu t’es levé(e)
vous vous êtes levé(e)(s)(es)
il s’est levé
ils se sont levés
elle s’est levée
elles se sont levées
on s’est levé
DR & MR VANDERTRAMPPS
Devenir
Rester
&
Mourir
Rentrer
Venir
Arriver
Naître
Descendre
Entrer
Revenir
Tomber
Retourner
Aller
Monter
Partir
Passer
Sortir
Imperfect AKA imparfait (indicative)
The imperfect is the other common past tense. It is used
to express habitual actions, states of being, emotions,
descriptions, and background information.
The imperfect is very easy to form. Start with the nous
form of every single verb except être. Drop the –ons
and add the following endings:
-ais
*être uses this as a stem: ét
-ais
(then add the regular endings)
-ait
*remember that verbs like étudier,
-ions
manger, and commencer have
-iez
spelling changes (examples: nous
-aient
étudiions, je mangeais, je
commençais)
Imparfait vs. Passé composé
Generally speaking, the imperfect describes past
situations, while the passé composé narrates
specific events. In addition, the imperfect can
set the stage for an event expressed with the
passé composé.
For more info, see the following pages in
Intrigue: 63,65,68, 109-110.
For more info, see also this site: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/pasttenses_2.htm
Pluperfect AKA le plus-que-parfait
This tense is used to express the past of the past
and is often translated as “had” + verb. I had
spoken, I had danced… before something else I
did in the more recent past.
To form it, use the imperfect of the auxiliary
verb (avoir or être; decide which one following
the same rules you use to choose between avoir
and être when conjugating in the passé composé:
pronominals and VANDERTRAMP take être, all
others take avoir.). Then add the past participle.
Pluperfect AKA le plus-que-parfait
parler
j’avais parlé
tu avais parlé
il avait parlé
elle avait parlé
on avait parlé
nous avions parlé
vous aviez parlé
ils avaient parlé
elles avaient parlé
se coucher
je m’étais couché(e)
tu t’étais couché(e)
il s’était couché
elle s’était couchée
on s’était couché
nous nous étions couché(e)s
vous vous étiez couché(e)(s)(es)
ils s’étaient couchés
elles s’étaient couchées
partir
j’étais parti(e)
tu étais parti(e)
il était parti
elle était partie
on était parti
nous étions parti(e)s
vous étiez parti(e)(s)(es)
ils étaient partis
elles étaient parties
Note that you must make the past participle agree in gender and number with the
subject for all verbs conjugated with être in the plus-que-parfait, just as you do in the
passé composé for verbs conjugated with être.
For more information, including more on when to use the plus-que-parfait in
comparison to the imparfait and the passé composé, see p. 142 in Intrigue.
Past infinitive
The infinitif passé is the infinitive of avoir or être + the
past participle. Choose avoir or être based on rules you
know, then add the past participle.
• for verbs that use être, the participle must match the
subject in gender and in number.
• often use with prepositions après and de
• negative: ne pas avoir dit, ne pas être allé(e)(s)(es)
For more info, see p. 106 in Intrigue.
Futur proche
This allows you to speak about the future by
using a conjugated form of the verb aller +
infinitive.
Je vais étudier ce week-end.
Tu vas lire un roman.
Elle va parler au téléphone.
Nous allons nous amuser à Paris.
Vous allez passer un examen.
Ils vont se coucher tôt ce soir.
Futur simple
The future tense is used to express what will happen. It
is easy to form. Begin with the infinitive, which for
most verbs is the future stem. For regular –re verbs,
drop the “e.” The stem always ends in “r.”
Irregular stems: ir-, ser-, fer-, aur-, saur-, pourr-,
devr-, recevr-, viendr-, voudr-, verr-, enverrThen add the endings:
-ai
-as
-a
-ons
-ez
-ont
Conditional=Future stem + imperfect endings
The conditional is used for politeness and for
hypothetical situations and is best translated as
“would” + verb. This mood is formed in almost the
same way as the future tense. In fact, use the future
stem, which for most verbs is the infinitive. For –re
verbs, drop the “e.”
Irregular stems: ir-, ser-, fer-, aur-, saur-, pourr-,
devr-, recevr-, viendr-, voudr-, verr-, enverrThen add the imperfect endings:
-ais
-ais
-ait
-ions
-iez
-aient
Imperative (present)
There are command forms for tu, vous, and nous. First,
drop the subject from the verb. Then, for all –er
verbs, drop the “s” in the tu form (exception: vas-y!).
Parle! Ne parle pas!
Parlez! Ne parlez pas!
Parlons! Ne parlons pas!
Irregulars:
être
avoir
savoir
sois
aie
sache
soyez
ayez
sachez
soyons
ayons
sachons
Subjunctive (present)
The subjunctive mood is used to express actions or ideas which
are subjective or otherwise uncertain: will/wanting, emotion,
doubt, possibility, necessity, judgment. It is nearly always
found in dependent clauses introduced by que, and the subjects
of the dependent and main clauses are usually different.
Some expressions that require the subjunctive:
il faut que
il est essentiel que
il est important que
il est indispensable que
il vaut mieux que
il est nécessaire que
il a fallu que
vouloir que
demander que
désirer que
exiger que
préférer que
aimer que
proposer que
souhaiter que
suggérer que
See pp. 178-80 in Intrigue as well as the DOVE subjunctive PPT on our website for more.
This link also has a handy resource: http://french.about.com/library/verb/bl-subjunctivator.htm
Subjunctive (present), continued
To form the subjunctive for regular verbs, begin with
the ils/elles form in present indicative.
ils parlent  then drop the –ent and add the subjunctive
endings:
-e
irregular subjunctive
-es
stems: fass-, aill-(all-),
-e
boiv-(buv-), prenn-(pren-),
-ions
puiss-, sach-, ven-(vienn-)
-iez
Completely irregular:
-ent
avoir
être
j’aie
tu aies
il ait
nous ayons
vous ayez
elles aient
je sois
tu sois
il soit
nous soyons
vous soyez
elles soient
Subjunctive hint:
It is very useful to know how to conjugate the
verb pouvoir in the subjunctive, because you can
often make sentences using a form of pouvoir +
infinitive:
Il faut que je puisse étudier
Je voudrais que vous puissiez venir à la fête
(etc.)
Please note: don’t try this on the final exam!
Use it for future reference. 
Look up the conjugation here: http://www.wordreference.com/conj/FRverbs.aspx
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