French conjugation

French verbs Principal parts International Phonetic Alphabet

French conjugation is the creation of derived forms of a French verb from its principal parts by inflection. French verbs are conventionally divided into three conjugations (conjugaisons) with the following grouping:

The first two groups follow a regular conjugation, whereas the third group follows an irregular one. The third group is considered a closed-class conjugation form,[1] meaning that most new verbs introduced to the French language are of the first group (téléviser, atomiser, radiographier), with the remaining ones being of the second group (alunir).

The verb aller is the only verb ending in -er belonging to the third group.

Moods and tenses

There are seven different moods in French conjugation: indicative (indicatif), subjunctive (subjonctif), conditional (conditionnel), imperative (impératif), infinitive (infinitif), participle (participe), and gerund (gérondif). The infinitive, participle, and gerundive are not verbal moods.

Tenses are described under the mood to which they belong, and they are grouped as follows. Other tenses are constructed through the use of an auxiliary verb:

Auxiliary verbs

There are two auxiliary verbs in French: avoir (to have) and être (to be), used to conjugate compound tenses according to these rules:

Compound tenses are conjugated with an auxiliary followed by the past participle, ex: j'ai fait (I did), je suis tombé (I fell). When être is used, the participle is inflected according to the gender and number of the subject. The participle is inflected with the use of the verb avoir according to the direct object, but only if the direct object precedes the participle, ex:

As stand-alone verbs, the conjugation of the two auxiliaries is listed in the table below:

Avoir

This verb has different stems for different tenses. These are imperfect av- /av/; present subjunctive ai- /ɛ/; future and conditional aur- /oʁ/; simple past and past subjunctive e- (not pronounced: eus, eusse are pronounced as bare inflections /y, ys/). Although the stem changes, the inflections of these tenses are as a regular -oir verb.

In the present, not only are there stem changes, but the inflections are irregular as well:

Avoir "to have"
 
Indicative Subjunctive Conditional Imperative
Present Simple Past Imperfect Future Present Imperfect Present Present
j' ai
/e/
eus
/y/
avais
/avɛ/
aurai
/oʁe/
aie
/ɛ/
eusse
/ys/
aurais
/oʁɛ/
tu as
/ɑ/
auras
/oʁɑ/
aies
/ɛ/
eusses
/ys/
aie*
/ɛ/
il/elle/on a
/ɑ/
eut
/y/
avait
/avɛ/
aura
/oʁa/
ait
/ɛ/
eût
/y/
aurait
/oʁɛ/
nous avons
/avɔ̃/
eûmes
/ym/
avions
/avjɔ̃/
aurons
/oʁɔ̃/
ayons
/ɛjɔ̃/
eussions
/ysjɔ̃/
aurions
/oʁjɔ̃/
ayons*
/ɛjɔ̃/
vous avez
/ave/
eûtes
/yt/
aviez
/avje/
aurez
/oʁe/
ayez
/ɛje/
eussiez
/ysje/
auriez
/oʁje/
ayez*
/ɛje/
ils/elles ont
/ɔ̃/
eurent
/yʁ/
avaient
/avɛ/
auront
/oʁɔ̃/
aient
/ɛ/
eussent
/ys/
auraient
/oʁɛ/

* Notice that the imperative form uses the subjunctive conjugation.

Non-finite forms:

Auxiliary verb: avoir

Être

This verb has different stems for different tenses. These are all pronounced differently: imperfect ét- /et/; present subjunctive soi- /swa/; future and conditional ser- /səʁ/; simple past and past subjunctive in f- /f/. The inflections of these tenses are as a regular -oir verb (that is, as an -re verb but with the vowel u /y/ in the f- forms). For example, subjunctive soyons, soyez is pronounced with the y sound (/swajɔ̃, swaje/) of other -re and -oir verbs.

In the simple present, not only are there stem changes, but the inflections are irregular as well:

Être "to be"
 
Indicative Subjunctive Conditional Imperative
Present Simple past Imperfect Future Present Imperfect Present Present
je suis
/sɥi/
fus
/fy/
étais
/etɛ/
serai
/səʁe/
sois
/swɑ/
fusse
/fys/
serais
/səʁɛ/
tu es
/ɛ/
seras
/səʁɑ/
fusses
/fys/
sois*
/swɑ/
il/elle/on est
/ɛ/
fut
/fy/
était
/etɛ/
sera
/səʁa/
soit
/swa/
fût
/fy/
serait
/səʁɛ/
nous sommes
/sɔm/
fûmes
/fym/
étions
/etjɔ̃/
serons
/səʁɔ̃/
soyons
/swajɔ̃/
fussions
/fysjɔ̃/
serions
/səʁjɔ̃/
soyons*
/swajɔ̃/
vous êtes
/ɛt/
fûtes
/fyt/
étiez
/etje/
serez
/səʁe/
soyez
/swaje/
fussiez
/fysje/
seriez
/səʁje/
soyez*
/swaje/
ils/elles sont
/sɔ̃/
furent
/fyʁ/
étaient
/etɛ/
seront
/səʁɔ̃/
soient
/swa/
fussent
/fys/
seraient
/səʁɛ/

* The imperative form uses the subjunctive conjugation.

The non-finite forms use the stem êt- /ɛt/ (before a consonant)/ét- /et/ (before a vowel):

Auxiliary verb: avoir

First-group verbs (-er verbs)

French verbs ending in -er, which constitute the largest class, inflect somewhat differently from other verbs. Between the stem and the inflectional endings that are common across most verbs, there may be a vowel, which in the case of the -er verbs is a silent -e- (in the simple present singular), or -ai /e/ (in the past participle and the je form of the simple past), and -a- /a/ (in the rest of simple past singular and in the past subjunctive). In addition, the orthographic -t found in the -ir and -re verbs in the singular of the simple present and past is not found in this conjugation, so that the final consonants are , -s, rather than -s, -s, -t.

Parler

The verb parler "to speak", in French orthography and IPA transcription
 
Indicative Subjunctive Conditional Imperative
Present Simple past Imperfect Simple future Present Imperfect Present Present
je parle
/paʁl/
parlai
/paʁle/
parlais
/paʁlɛ/
parlerai
/paʁləʁe/
parle
/paʁl/
parlasse
/paʁlɑs/
parlerais
/paʁləʁɛ/
tu parles
/paʁl/
parlas
/paʁlɑ/
parleras
/paʁləʁɑ/
parles
/paʁl/
parlasses
/paʁlɑs/
parle
/paʁl/
il/elle parle
/paʁl/
parla
/paʁlɑ/
parlait
/paʁlɛ/
parlera
/paʁləʁɑ/
parle
/paʁl/
parlât
/paʁlɑ/
parlerait
/paʁləʁɛ/
nous parlons
/paʁlɔ̃/
parlâmes
/paʁlɑm/
parlions
/paʁljɔ̃/
parlerons
/paʁləʁɔ̃/
parlions
/paʁljɔ̃/
parlassions
/paʁlɑsjɔ̃/
parlerions
/paʁləʁjɔ̃/
parlons
/paʁlɔ̃/
vous parlez
/paʁle/
parlâtes
/paʁlɑt/
parliez
/paʁlje/
parlerez
/paʁləʁe/
parliez
/paʁlje/
parlassiez
/paʁlɑsje/
parleriez
/paʁləʁje/
parlez
/paʁle/
ils/elles parlent
/paʁl/
parlèrent
/paʁlɛʁ/
parlaient
/paʁlɛ/
parleront
/paʁləʁɔ̃/
parlent
/paʁl/
parlassent
/paʁlɑs/
parleraient
/paʁləʁɛ/

Non-finite forms:

Auxiliary verb: avoir (arriver, entrer, monter, passer, rester, rentrer, retourner, and tomber use être)

Exceptional contexts:

Exceptional verbs:

Second-group verbs (-ir verbs / gerund ending in -issant)

The -ir verbs differ from the -er verbs in the following points:


choisir

The verb choisir "to choose", in French orthography and IPA transcription
 
Indicative Subjunctive Conditional Imperative
Present Simple Past Imperfect Simple Future Present Imperfect Present Present
je choisis
/ʃwazi/
choisissais
/ʃwazisɛ/
choisirai
/ʃwaziʁe/
choisisse
/ʃwazis/
choisirais
/ʃwaziʁɛ/
tu choisiras
/ʃwaziʁa/
choisisses
/ʃwazis/
choisis
/ʃwazi/
il/elle choisit
/ʃwazi/
choisissait
/ʃwazisɛ/
choisira
/ʃwaziʁa/
choisisse
/ʃwazis/
choisît
/ʃwazi/
choisirait
/ʃwaziʁɛ/
nous choisissons
/ʃwazisɔ̃/
choisîmes
/ʃwazim/
choisissions
/ʃwazisjɔ̃/
choisirons
/ʃwaziʁɔ̃/
choisissions
/ʃwazisjɔ̃/
choisirions
/ʃwaziʁjɔ̃/
choisissons
/ʃwazisɔ̃/
vous choisissez
/ʃwazise/
choisîtes
/ʃwazit/
choisissiez
/ʃwazisje/
choisirez
/ʃwaziʁe/
choisissiez
/ʃwazisje/
choisiriez
/ʃwaziʁje/
choisissez
/ʃwazise/
ils/elles choisissent
/ʃwazis/
choisirent
/ʃwaz/
choisissaient
/ʃwazisɛ/
choisiront
/ʃwaziʁɔ̃/
choisissent
/ʃwazis/
choisiraient
/ʃwaziʁɛ/

Non-finite forms:

Auxiliary verb: avoir (partir uses être)

Third group

The third group involves mostly verbs that end in -re and a few -ir verbs and the verb aller. There are numerous irregularities in this group with several different conjugation paradigms, for example several verbs that end in -ire have similar endings. The verb perdre and its endings are frequently presented as an example for the third group conjugations. See the irregular verb section for more details.

perdre

The verb perdre "to lose", in French orthography and IPA transcription
 
Indicative Subjunctive Conditional Imperative
Present Simple Past Imperfect Simple Future Present Imperfect Present Present
je perds
/pɛʁ/
perdis
/pɛʁdi/
perdais
/pɛʁdɛ/
perdrai
/pɛʁdʁe/
perde
/pɛʁd/
perdisse
/pɛʁdis/
perdrais
/pɛʁdʁɛ/
tu perds
/pɛʁ/
perdis
/pɛʁdi/
perdais
/pɛʁdɛ/
perdras
/pɛʁdʁɑ/
perdes
/pɛʁd/
perdisses
/pɛʁdis/
perdrais
/pɛʁdʁɛ/
perds
/pɛʁ/
il/elle perd
/pɛʁ/
perdit
/pɛʁdi/
perdait
/pɛʁdɛ/
perdra
/pɛʁdʁɑ/
perde
/pɛʁd/
perdît
/pɛʁdi/
perdrait
/pɛʁdʁɛ/
nous perdons
/pɛʁdɔ̃/
perdîmes
/pɛʁdim/
perdions
/peʁdjɔ̃/
perdrons
/pɛʁdʁɔ̃/
perdions
/pɛʁdjɔ̃/
perdissions
/pɛʁdisjɔ̃/
perdrions
/pɛʁdʁijɔ̃/
perdons
/pɛʁdɔ̃/
vous perdez
/pɛʁde/
perdîtes
/peʁdit/
perdiez
/peʁdje/
perdrez
/pɛʁdʁe/
perdiez
/pɛʁdje/
perdissiez
/pɛʁdisje/
perdriez
/pɛʁdʁije/
perdez
/pɛʁde/
ils/elles perdent
/pɛʁd/
perdirent
/pɛʁdiʁ/
perdaient
/pɛʁdɛ/
perdront
/pɛʁdʁɔ̃/
perdent
/pɛʁd/
perdissent
/pɛʁdis/
perdraient
/pɛʁdʁɛ/

Non-finite forms:

Auxiliary verb: avoir (a few 3rd group verbs use "etre")

Irregular verbs and their paradigms

First sub-conjugation: Verbs with seven principal parts

Most irregular French verbs can be described with seven principal parts. In reality, few if any verbs have separate stems for all seven parts; instead, they tend to "inherit" the same stem as another part. Note that the endings for these verbs are basically the same as for regular -ir verbs; in fact, regular -ir verbs can be fit into this scheme by treating the -iss- variants as different principal parts.

Principal part How to get the stem "Inherited" (regular) value of stem
infinitive Remove ending -er, -ir, -oir, -re
First singular present indicative Remove ending -s, -e Infinitive stem
First plural present indicative Remove ending -ons Infinitive stem
Third plural present indicative Remove ending -ent First plural present stem
(First singular) future Remove ending -ai Full infinitive stem (minus any -e)
(Masculine singular) past participle Full word Infinitive stem, plus -i (plus -u if ends -re)
(First singular) simple past Remove ending -s, -ai Past participle (minus any -s or -t)

The following table shows how the paradigm of an irregular verb is constructed from its principal parts. Note that a few verbs construct the present indicative (especially the singular) differently.

Paradigm for most irregular verbs (7 principal parts)
 
Indicative Subjunctive Conditional Imperative
Present Simple past Imperfect Future Present Imperfect Present Present
je 1S+s PAST+s 1P+ais FUT+ai 3P+e PAST+sse FUT+ais
tu FUT+as 3P+es PAST+sses (same as pres. indic. 3rd. sg. if ends with vowel, else 2nd. sg.)
il/elle 1S+t1 PAST+t 1P+ait FUT+a 3P+e PAST+ˆt FUT+ait
nous 1P+ons PAST+ˆmes 1P+ions FUT+ons 1P+ions PAST+ssions FUT+ions (same as pres. indic. 1st pl.)
vous 1P+ez PAST+ˆtes 1P+iez FUT+ez 1P+iez PAST+ssiez FUT+iez (same as pres. indic. 2nd pl.)
ils/elles 3P+ent PAST+rent 1P+aient FUT+ont 3P+ent PAST+ssent FUT+aient

1 The -t is regularly dropped when directly following a d or t (e.g. il vend "he sells", not *il vendt).

Non-finite forms:

The following table gives principal parts for a number of irregular verbs. There are a number of fair-sized groups of verbs that are conjugated alike; these are listed first. There are some additional irregularities in the present indicative, which are listed below. Nearly all irregularities affect the singular, and are purely issues of spelling. (Stems that are irregular in the sense of being unpredictable by the above rules are given in boldface.)

Table of principal parts of irregular (and -ir) French verbs (7 principal parts)
INF: Infinitive Meaning FUT: Future Present Indicative PP: Past Participle PAST: Simple Past Notes Similar verbs
1S: 1st Sing (2nd Sing, 3rd Sing) 1P: 1st Plur (2nd Plur) 3P: 3rd Plur
chois-ir "to choose" choisir-ai choisi-s choisiss-ons choisiss-ent choisi choisi-s How a regular -ir verb would be represented by its principal parts About 300 verbs in -ir
haïr "to hate" haïr-ai hai-s / haï-s1 haïss-ons haïss-ent haï haï-s The same as a regular -ir verb but in Sing. pres. indic. the diaeresis drops out
vend-re "to sell" vendr-ai vend-s, vend2 vend-ons vend-ent vendu vendi-s So-called "regular -re" verbs; all end in -dre, but not -indre attendre "wait", défendre "defend", descendre "go down", entendre "hear", étendre "extend", fondre "melt", pendre "hang", perdre "lose", prétendre "pretend", rendre "return, give back", répandre "spill", répondre "respond", etc.
craind-re "to fear" craindr-ai crain-s craign-ons craign-ent craint craign-is All verbs in -aindre, -eindre, -oindre, e.g. contraindre "compel", plaindre "complain"; atteindre "reach", ceindre "gird", empreindre "stamp", éteindre "turn off", étreindre "hug", feindre "pretend", geindre "whine", peindre "paint", restreindre "restrict", teindre "dye"; joindre "join", oindre "anoint", poindre "dawn", rejoindre "rejoin"
part-ir "to leave" partir-ai par-s part-ons part-ent parti parti-s Sing. pres. indic. stem drops last consonant of basic stem: je pars, dors, mens, sens, sers, sors /ʒ(ə) paʁ, dɔʁ, mɑ̃, sɔʁ, sɑ̃, sɛʁ/ se départir "divest", repartir "leave again", dormir "sleep", s'endormir "fall asleep", se rendormir "fall back asleep", mentir "lie (tell lies)", démentir "contradict", sentir "feel", consentir "agree", pressentir "foresee", ressentir "feel", servir "serve", desservir "clear away", resservir "serve again", sortir "go out", ressortir "come back"
vêt-ir "to dress" vêtir-ai vêt-s, vêt2 vêt-ons vêt-ent vêtu vêti-s The same as partir, except for the past participle dévêtir "undress", revêtir "cover"
requér-ir "to require, demand" requerr-ai requier-s requér-ons requièr-ent requis requi-s
ouvr-ir "to open" ouvrir-ai ouvr-e, ouvr-es, ouvr-e ouvr-ons ouvr-ent ouvert ouvri-s Sing. pres. indic. uses endings -e -es -e, as with -er verbs couvrir "cover", découvrir "discover", offrir "offer", souffrir "suffer"
condui-re "to lead" conduir-ai condui-s conduis-ons conduis-ent conduit conduisi-s All verbs in -uire e.g. construire "build", cuire "cook", détruire "destroy", instruire "instruct", réduire "reduce", produire "produce", traduire "translate", etc.
recev-oir "to receive" recevr-ai reçoi-s recev-ons reçoiv-ent reçu reçu-s Other verbs in -cevoir, e.g. apercevoir "perceive", concevoir "conceive", décevoir "disappoint"
envoy-er "to send" enverr-ai envoi-e3 envoy-ons3 envoi-ent3 envoyé envoy-ai
voir "to see" verr-ai voi-s voy-ons voi-ent3 vu vi-s revoir "see again"
choir "to fall" choir-ai; cherr-ai choi-s choy-ons choi-ent3 chu chu-s Missing the indicative imperfect and the subjunctive mood (except by chût, in singular 3rd person imperfect subjunctive) échoir "befall"
dev-oir "to owe, must" devr-ai doi-s dev-ons doiv-ent du-s Very similar to recevoir, but adds a circumflex to du to distinguish it from the partitive article du - due, dus and dues remain unchanged
mouv-oir "to move" mouvr-ai meu-s mouv-ons meuv-ent mu-s Adds a circumflex to mu to distinguish it from the Greek letter mu (μ) - mue, mus and mues remain unchanged
émouv-oir "to move, affect" émouvr-ai émeu-s émouv-ons émeuv-ent ému ému-s promouvoir "promote"
pleuv-oir "to rain" pleuvr-a pleu-t (stem pleuv-) (stem pleuv-) plu plu-t Impersonal (3rd-singular only)
asseoir "to sit" assiér-ai; assoir-ai assied-s, assied;2 assoi-s assey-ons; assoy-ons assey-ent; assoi-ent assis assi-s Notice that there are two sets of conjugations.
cueill-ir /kœjiʁ/ "to gather" cueiller-ai cueill-e, cueill-es, cueill-e cueill-ons cueill-ent cueilli cueilli-s Like ouvrir except the future; sing. pres. indic. uses endings -e -es -e, as with -er verbs
ven-ir "to come" viendr-ai vien-s ven-ons vienn-ent venu vin-s Note simple past plural vînmes, vîntes, vinrent /vɛ̃m, vɛ̃t, vɛ̃ʁ/ revenir "return", devenir "become", se souvenir "remember", parvenir "reach", prévenir "tell beforehand"; tenir "hold", retenir "memorize", contretenir "talk", soutenir "sustain", maintenir "maintain", appartenir "belong", etc.
mour-ir "to die" mourr-ai meur-s mour-ons meur-ent mort mouru-s
cour-ir "to run" courr-ai cour-s cour-ons cour-ent couru couru-s
di-re "to say, tell" dir-ai di-s dis-ons, dites dis-ent dit di-s Note the 2nd pl. dites contredire "contradict", interdire "forbid"
li-re "to read" lir-ai li-s lis-ons lis-ent lu lu-s
écri-re "to write" écrir-ai écri-s écriv-ons écriv-ent écrit écrivi-s décrire "describe", inscrire "inscribe"
ri-re "to laugh" rir-ai ri-s ri-ons ri-ent ri ri-s sourire "smile"
suffi-re "to suffice" suffir-ai suffi-s suffis-ons suffis-ent suffi suffi-s confire "pickle", circoncire "circumcise", frire "fry"
boi-re "to drink" boir-ai boi-s buv-ons boiv-ent bu bu-s
croi-re "to believe" croir-ai croi-s croy-ons3 croi-ent3 cru cru-s
conclu-re "to conclude" conclur-ai conclu-s conclu-ons conclu-ent conclu conclu-s Other verbs in -clure
plai-re "to please" plair-ai plai-s, plaît plais-ons plais-ent plu plu-s Note the 3rd sg. plaît
clo-re "to close" clor-ai clo-s, clôt clos-ons clos-ent clos (missing) Missing the subjunctive and indicative imperfect, as well as the simple past tens. Note the 3rd sg. clôt
prend-re "to take" prendr-ai prend-s, prend2 pren-ons prenn-ent pris pri-s comprendre "understand", apprendre "study", reprendre "take again", etc.
viv-re "to live" vivr-ai vi-s viv-ons viv-ent vécu vécu-s revivre "come alive again", survivre "survive"
suiv-re "to follow" suivr-ai sui-s suiv-ons suiv-ent suivi suivi-s poursuivre "pursue"
naît-re "to be born" naîtr-ai nai-s, naît naiss-ons naiss-ent naqui-s Note the 3rd sg. naît
connaît-re "to know" connaîtr-ai connai-s, connaît connaiss-ons connaiss-ent connu connu-s Note the 3rd sg. connaît reconnaître "recognize", paraître "seem", apparaître "appear", reparaître "reappear", disparaître "disappear"
mett-re "to put" mettr-ai met-s, met2 mett-ons mett-ent mis mi-s promettre "promise", permettre "permit", compromettre "compromise, damage", soumettre "submit, subdue", transmettre "transmit"
batt-re "to beat" battr-ai bat-s, bat2 batt-ons batt-ent battu batti-s Close to vendre
romp-re "to break" rompr-ai romp-s romp-ons romp-ent rompu rompi-s Very close to vendre
vainc-re "to conquer" vaincr-ai vainc-s, vainc vainqu-ons vainqu-ent vaincu vainqui-s Essentially same as vendre, except for c/qu variation convaincre "convince"
trai-re "to milk" trair-ai trai-s tray-ons3 trai-ent3 trai-t tray-ai PS is conjugated as in 1st group verbs. contraire "contract", extraire "extract", soustraire "subtract", retraire "withdraw"
coud-re "to sew" coudr-ai coud-s, coud2 cous-ons cous-ent cousu cousi-s
moud-re "to grind, mill" moudr-ai moud-s, moud2 moul-ons moul-ent moulu moulu-s
résoud-re "to solve, resolve" résoudr-ai résou-s résolv-ons résolv-ent résolu résolu-s
absoud-re "to solve, absolve" absoudr-ai absou-s absolv-ons absolv-ent absous, absoute absolu-s The same as résoudre, except for the past participle. Note the masculine absous and feminine absoute

1 Only in Quebec French

2 The ending -t is regularly dropped when directly following a d or t (e.g. il vend "he sells", not *il vendt).

3 Alternation of "-ai-" and -oi- before consonant or unstressed e, "-ay-" and -oy- before other vowels is automatic in all verbs.

The following table shows an example paradigm of one of these verbs, recevoir "to receive".

Recevoir "to receive"
 
Indicative Subjunctive Conditional Imperative
Present Simple Past Imperfect Future Present Imperfect Present Present
je reçois
/ʁəswɑ/
reçus
/ʁəsy/
recevais
/ʁəsəvɛ/
recevrai
/ʁəsəvʁe/
reçoive
/ʁəswav/
reçusse
/ʁəsys/
recevrais
/ʁəsəvʁɛ/
tu recevras
/ʁəsəvʁɑ/
reçoives
/ʁəswav/
reçusses
/ʁəsys/
reçois
/ʁəswɑ/
il/elle reçoit
/ʁəswa/
reçut
/ʁəsy/
recevait
/ʁəsəvɛ/
recevra
/ʁəsəvʁa/
reçoive
/ʁəswav/
reçût
/ʁəsy/
recevrait
/ʁəsəvʁɛ/
nous recevons
/ʁəsəvɔ̃/
reçûmes
/ʁəsym/
recevions
/ʁəsəvjɔ̃/
recevrons
/ʁəsəvʁɔ̃/
recevions
/ʁəsəvjɔ̃/
reçussions
/ʁəsysjɔ̃/
recevrions
/ʁəsəvʁijɔ̃/
recevons
/ʁəsəvɔ̃/
vous recevez
/ʁəsəve/
reçûtes
/ʁəsyt/
receviez
/ʁəsəvje/
recevrez
/ʁəsəvʁe/
receviez
/ʁəsəvje/
reçussiez
/ʁəsysje/
recevriez
/ʁəsəvʁije/
recevez
/ʁəsəve/
ils/elles reçoivent
/ʁəswav/
reçurent
/ʁəsyʁ/
recevaient
/ʁəsəvɛ/
recevront
/ʁəsəvʁɔ̃/
reçoivent
/ʁəswav/
reçussent
/ʁəsys/
recevraient
/ʁəsəvʁɛ/

Non-finite forms:

Verbs with eleven principal parts

Nine verbs also have an irregular subjunctive stem, used at least for the singular and third plural of the present subjunctive. These verbs can be said to have 11 principal parts, because the subjunctive stem may or may not be used for the first and second plural present subjunctive, the imperative and/or the present participle, in ways that vary from verb to verb.

The following table shows how the paradigm of an 11-principal-part irregular verb is constructed from its principal parts. Note that these verbs are generally the most irregular verbs in French, and many of them construct the present indicative (especially the singular) in an idiosyncratic fashion. The verb aller also constructs its past participle and simple past differently, according to the endings for -er verbs.

Paradigm for the highly irregular verbs (11 principal parts)
 
Indicative Subjunctive Conditional Imperative
Present Simple past Imperfect Future Present Imperfect Present Present
je 1S+s PAST+s 1P+ais FUT+ai SUBJ+e PAST+sse FUT+ais
tu 1S+s PAST+s 1P+ais FUT+as SUBJ+es PAST+sses FUT+ais (same as pres. indic. 2nd. sg.; but use 3rd. sg. if ends with vowel) or SUBJ+e
il/elle 1S+t PAST+t 1P+ait FUT+a SUBJ+e PAST+ˆt FUT+ait
nous 1P+ons PAST+ˆmes 1P+ions FUT+ons SUBJ+ions or 1P+ions PAST+ssions FUT+ions (same as pres. indic. 1st pl.) or SUBJ+ons
vous 1P+ez PAST+ˆtes 1P+iez FUT+ez SUBJ+iez or 1P+iez PAST+ssiez FUT+iez (same as pres. indic. 2nd pl.) or SUBJ+ez
ils/elles 3P+ent PAST+rent 1P+aient FUT+ont SUBJ+ent PAST+ssent FUT+aient

Non-finite forms:

The following table gives the principal parts for the 11-principal-part verbs. (Stems that are irregular in the sense of being unpredictable by the above rules are given in boldface.)

Table of principal parts of the highly irregular French verbs (11 principal parts)
INF: Infinitive Meaning FUT: Future Present Indicative Present Subjunctive Imperative Present Participle PP: Past Participle PAST: Simple Past Notes Similar verbs
1S: 1st Sing (2nd Sing, 3rd Sing) 1P: 1st Plur (2nd Plur) 3P: 3rd Plur SUBJ:1st Sing 1st Plur
pouv-oir "to be able" pourr-ai peux/puis, peux, peut pouv-ons peuv-ent puiss-e follows subj. (puiss-ions) follows indic. follows 1P (pouv-ant) pu pu-s (reg.) alternate 1st sing. puis required in questions, use elsewhere is mannered; note that old pres. part. puiss-ant is attested as an adjective "powerful"
sav-oir "to know" saur-ai sai-s sav-ons sav-ent sach-e follows subj. (sach-ions) follows subj. (sache, sachons, sachez) follows subj. (sach-ant) su su-s
voul-oir "to want" voudr-ai veux, veut voul-ons veul-ent veuill-e follows indic. (voul-ions) follows subj. (veuille, veuillons, veuillez) follows 1P (voul-ant) voulu voulu-s
val-oir "to be worth" vaudr-ai vaux, vaut val-ons val-ent vaill-e follows indic. (val-ions) follows indic. (vaux, valons, valez) follows 1P (val-ant) valu valu-s
fall-oir "to be necessary" faudr-a fau-t (stem fall-) faill-e fall-u fallu-t Impersonal (3rd-singular only)
fai-re "to do" fer-ai fai-s fais-ons, faites font fass-e follows subj. (fass-ions) follows indic. follows 1P (fais-ant) fait fi-s 2nd pl. pres. indic. faites (also in imperative) défaire, refaire, satisfaire
av-oir "to have" aur-ai ai, as, a av-ons ont ai-e, ai-es, ai-t; ai-ent ay-ons, ay-ez follows subj. (aie, ayons, ayez) follows subj. (ay-ant) eu /y/ eu-s
êt-re "to be" ser-ai suis, es, est sommes, êtes; stem ét- sont soi-s, soi-s, soi-t; soi-ent soy-ons, soy-ez follows subj. (sois, soyons, soyez) follows 1P (ét-ant) été fu-s
all-er "to go" ir-ai vais/vas1, vas, va all-ons vont aill-e follows indic. (all-ions) follows indic. follows 1P (all-ant) allé all-ai 2nd. sg. imperat. va, but vas-y "go there" s'en aller "leave"

Aller

The verb aller means "to go" and is sufficiently irregular that it merits listing its conjugation in full. It is the only verb with the first group ending "er" to have an irregular conjugation. It belongs to none of the three sections of the third group, and is often categorized on its own. The verb has different stems for different tenses. These are all pronounced differently: past all- /al/ (simple past, imperfect, past subjunctive); present subjunctive aill- /aj/; conditional and future ir- /iʁ/. The inflections of these tenses are completely regular, and pronounced as in any other -er verb. However, in the simple present, not only are there stem changes, but the inflections are irregular as well:

Aller "to go"
 
Indicative Subjunctive Conditional Imperative
Present Simple past Imperfect Future Present Imperfect Present Present
je vais, vas1
/vɛ/, /vɑ/1
allai
/ale/
allais
/alɛ/
irai
/iʁe/
aille
/aj/
allasse
/alas/
irais
/iʁɛ/
tu vas
/vɑ/
allas
/alɑ/
iras
/iʁɑ/
ailles
/aj/
allasses
/alas/
va
/va/
il/elle/on va
/va/
alla
/ala/
allait
/alɛ/
ira
/iʁa/
aille
/aj/
allât
/alɑ/
irait
/iʁɛ/
nous allons
/alɔ̃/
allâmes
/alɑm/
allions
/aljɔ̃/
irons
/iʁɔ̃/
allions
/aljɔ̃/
allassions
/alasjɔ̃/
irions
/iʁjɔ̃/
allons
/alɔ̃/
vous allez
/ale/
allâtes
/alɑt/
alliez
/alje/
irez
/iʁe/
alliez
/alje/
allassiez
/alasje/
iriez
/iʁje/
allez
/ale/
ils/elles vont
/vɔ̃/
allèrent
/alɛʁ/
allaient
/alɛ/
iront
/iʁɔ̃/
aillent
/aj/
allassent
/alas/
iraient
/iʁɛ/

The non-finite forms are all based on all- /al/:

Auxiliary verb: être

1 In Classical French and even in certain dialects (like in Cajun and some Quebec dialects) je vas is used.

Inflectional endings of the three verb groups

 
1st group 2nd group 3rd group   1st group 2nd group 3rd group
Indicatif (Présent)   Subjonctif (Présent)
je e1 is s (x)2 e3   e isse e
tu es es3   es isses es
il e it t (d) e3   e isse e
nous ons issons ons ons   ions issions ions
vous ez issez ez ez   iez issiez iez
ils ent issent ent ent   ent issent ent
   
  Indicatif (Imparfait)   Subjonctif (Imparfait)
je ais issais ais   asse isse isse4 usse
tu asses isses isses4 usses
il ait issait ait   ât ît ît4 ût
nous ions issions ions   assions issions issions4 ussions
vous iez issiez iez   assiez issiez issiez4 ussiez
ils aient issaient aient   assent issent issent4 ussent
   
  Indicatif (Passé simple)   Impératif (Présent)
je ai is is4 us    
tu as   e is s e3
il a it it4 ut    
nous âmes îmes îmes4 ûmes   ons issons ons ons
vous âtes îtes îtes4 ûtes   ez issez ez ez
ils èrent irent irent4 urent    
   
  Indicatif (Futur simple)   Conditionnel (Présent)
je erai irai rai   erais irais rais
tu eras iras ras
il era ira ra   erait irait rait
nous erons irons rons   erions irions rions
vous erez irez rez   eriez iriez riez
ils eront iront ront   eraient iraient raient

1. In an interrogative sentence, the final e is written é (traditional spelling) or è (rectified spelling), and is pronounced as an open è [ɛ]. Additionally, the e in je becomes silent. For example: je marche /ʒə.maʁʃ/ (I walk), marchè-je? /maʁʃɛʒ/ (do I walk?)

2. Only in je/tu peux (I/you can), je/tu veux (I/you want), and je/tu vaux (I am/you are 'worth').

. Verbs in -dre have a final d for the 3rd singular person, except for those ending in -indre and -soudre which take a final t. The verbs vaincre (defeat) and convaincre (convince) are conjugated as vainc and convainc, respectively, in 3rd singular person.

3. The only verbs having this ending are: assaillir (assail), couvrir (cover), cueillir (pluck), défaillir (default), offrir (offer), ouvrir (open), souffrir (suffer), tressaillir (shiver), and in the imperative only, avoir (have), savoir (know), and vouloir (want).

4. Except for je vins (I came), je tins (I held), etc..., que je vinsse (that I come), que je tinsse (that I hold), etc...

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k A simple form
  2. ^ a b c d Conventionally used only in written language (especially in literature) or in extremely formal speech.
  3. ^ a b Very rarely used in contemporary French

References

  1. ^ Le nouveau Bescherelle: L'art de conjuguer, 1972, pp. 10