• French grammar
  • 1 French alphabet
  • 2 French pronunciation and phonetics [0/7]
  • 3 Nature and function of French words [0/23]
  • Multiple choice exercise about the nature of French words (Score -/-)
  • Multiple choice questions about the function of French words (Score -/-)
  • 3.1 The subject in French [0/3]
  • 3.2 The apostrophe and apposition in French [0/2]
  • 3.3 The complement object in French [0/12]
  • 3.4 The circumstancial complement in French [0/2]
  • 3.5 The agent complement in French [0/2]
  • 4 French articles [0/9]
  • 5 French nouns [0/13]
  • 6 French pronouns [0/20]
  • Multiple choice questions about the pronouns in French (Score -/-)
  • 6.1 French personal pronouns - je, tu, il [0/3]
  • 6.2 French possessive pronouns - le mien, le tien [0/2]
  • 6.3 French reflexive pronouns - me, te, se [0/2]
  • 6.4 French demonstrative pronouns - celui, celle, ceux [0/2]
  • 6.5 French relative pronouns - qui, que, qu' [0/4]
  • 6.6 French indefinite pronouns - tout, chacun [0/2]
  • 6.7 French interrogative pronouns - qui, que, lequel [0/2]
  • 6.8 French adverbial pronouns - en, y [0/2]
  • 7 French adjectives [0/17]
  • Multiple choice questions about the epithet, attribute in French (Score -/-)
  • 7.1 Endings of regular and irregular French adjectives [0/3]
  • 7.2 Comparative and superlative of French adjectives [0/3]
  • 7.3 Placement of French adjectives [0/2]
  • 7.4 French possessive adjectives - mon, ton, son [0/4]
  • 7.5 French demonstrative adjectives - ce, cette [0/2]
  • 7.6 French indefinite adjectives - toutes, quelques [0/2]
  • 8 French adverbs [0/18]
  • 9 French prepositions [0/10]
  • 10 French verbs [0/135]
  • 10.1 Tenses and moods in French [0/63]
  • 10.1.1 Indicative in French [0/26]
  • Present tense in French [0/2]
  • Past tenses in French [0/13]
  • Future tenses in French [0/11]
  • 10.1.2 Subjunctive in French (le Subjonctif) [0/11]
  • 10.1.3 Conditional in French (le conditionnel) [0/10]
  • 10.1.4 Imperative in French [0/3]
  • 10.1.5 Infinitive in French [0/4]
  • 10.1.6 Gerund in French [0/2]
  • 10.1.7 Present participle in French [0/3]
  • 10.1.8 Past participle in French [0/4]
  • 10.2 French auxiliary verbs (avoir, être) [0/11]
  • 10.3 Modal verbs in French [0/17]
  • Fill in the blank exercise for the modal verbs in French (Score -/-)
  • 10.3.1 Conjugation of pouvoir (can) in French [0/4]
  • 10.3.2 Conjugation of devoir (should) in French [0/4]
  • 10.3.3 conjugation of vouloir (want) in French [0/4]
  • 10.3.4 Conjugation of savoir (to know) in French [0/4]
  • 10.4 Passive voice in French [0/4]
  • 10.5 Reflexive verbs in French [0/4]
  • 10.6 Irregular verbs in French [0/24]
  • Fill in the blanks exercise of the irregular verbs in French (Score -/-)
  • Fill in the blanks exercise of the irregular verbs in French II (Score -/-)
  • 10.6.1 Conjugation of venir (to come) in French [0/4]
  • 10.6.2 conjugation of aller (to go) in French [0/4]
  • 10.6.3 conjugation of faire (to do) in French [0/4]
  • 10.6.4 conjugation of prendre (to take) in French [0/3]
  • 10.6.5 conjugation of voir (to see) in French [0/3]
  • 10.6.6 Conjugation of partir (to leave) in French [0/4]
  • 10.7 Regular verbs in French [0/8]
  • 10.8 Reported Speech in French [0/4]
  • 11 French sentence structure [0/25]
  • Multiple choice questions about the sentence structure in French (Score -/-)
  • 11.1 The phrases in French [0/5]
  • 11.2 The forms of phrases in French [0/7]
  • 11.3 The types of phrases in French [0/8]
  • 11.4 The propositions in French [0/4]
  • 12 French si clauses [0/3]
  • 13
  • French auxiliary verbs (avoir, être)

    The auxiliary verbs ( les auxiliaires ) être and avoir are important verbs in the French language. They are used to form the compound times

    The past participle can agree but it depends on the auxiliary: with the auxiliary 'avoir', the past participle agrees with the direct object complement only if it is placed before the verb in the sentence and with the auxiliary ' être', the past participle agrees with the subject.

    The auxiliary verb avoir in French

    The auxiliary verb 'avoir' is always conjuguated with transitive verbs (those that can have a direct object complement or indirect). Transitive verbs possess an object complement on which the action designated by the verb takes place. It can be a direct object (COD) or an indirect object (COI). among those verbs you can find: 

    • construire (to build)
    • boire (to drink)
    • connaître (to know)
    • découvrir (to discover)
    • parler (to speak, talk)
    • sourire (to smile)

    Example sentences with transitive verbs

      avoir + transitive verbs direct or indirect objet translation 
    Tu as construit cette maison  you built this house
    Il  as connu Samantha à l'école  he met you Samantha at school
    nous avions découvert  une jolie grotte we discovered a beautiful cave
    ils  ont parlé  à leur père they talked to their father 
    elle a souri au bel homme she smiled to the beautiful man 

    Conjugation chart of the French verb avoir

    The verb avoir is completely irregular and is formed in different times as follows:

    present imperfect future simple past simple  subjunctive
    j'ai j'avais j'aurai j'eus que j'aie
    tu as tu avais tu auras tu eus que tu ais
    il/elle/on a il/elle/on avait il/elle/on aura il/elle/on eut qu'il/elle/on ait 
    nous avons nous avions nous aurons nous eumes que nous ayons
    vous avez vous aviez vous aurez vous eûtes  que vous ayez
    ils/elles ont ils/elles avaient ils/elles auront ils/elles eurent qu'ils/elles aient 

    enlightenedThe conditional of avoir is the future simple stem + imperfect endings. 

    The auxiliary verb être in French

    All pronominal verbs always conjugate with the auxiliary 'être'. Some intransitive verbs (those who never have an indirect or direct object) conjugate with the auxiliary 'être'. ​

    Among intrasitive verbs you find:  

    • aller (to go)
    • arriver (to arrive) 
    • descendre (come down)
    • entrer (come in)
    • monter (ascend)
    • mourir (to die)
    • naître (to be born)
    • partir (to leave)
    • retourner (to return)
    • sortir  (to go out)
    • tomber (to fall)
    • venir (to come)
    • demeurer (to stay)
    • rester (to stay)
    • ​passer pour (to look like)

    Example sentences with the verb être

    Examples Translation 
    Je suis restée jusqu'au soir I stayed until the night 
    Je me suis lavé ce matin  I took a shower this morning 
    Tu es passé pour le faible You looked like the weak.

    Conjugation chart of the French verb être

    The verb être is completely irregular and is formed in different times as follows:

    Present Imperfect  Future simple Past simple Subjunctive
    je suis j'étais je serai je fus que je sois
    tu es tu étais tu seras tu fus que tu sois
    il/elle/on est il/elle/on était il/elle/on sera il/elle/on fut qu'il/elle/on soit
    nous sommes nous étions nous serons nous fumes que nous soyons
    vous étiez vous étiez vous serez vous futes que vous soyez
    ils/elles sont ils/elles étaient ils/elles seront ils/elles furent qu'ils/elles soient 

    enlightenedThe conditional of être uses the future simple stem +  imperfect endings.

    Usage of être and avoir 

    Examples for the verbs of movement

    In general, some verbs of movement are conjugated with the auxiliary 'avoir' in a transitive clause, or with the auxiliary ' être' in an intransitive clause.

    • Je suis passée par la ville. (I went by the city.)
    • J'ai passé un bon week-end. (I spent a good weekend.)
    • Elle a rentré sa voiture. (she entered her car.)
    • Elle est rentrée très tard. (she came back very late.)

    Examples for the verbs of change

    Some verbs of change normally are combined with the auxiliary 'avoir' to emphasize change, but can also be combined with the auxiliary 'etre' to emphasize the result of the change.

    • Ma soeur a divorcé il y a cinq ans. (my sister divorced five years ago)
    • Ma soeur est divorcée depuis cinq ans. (my sister got divorced five years ago.)

    Example for the passive and active form

    In the passive form, you always use the auxiliary être but you use the auxiliary 'avoir' in the active form.

    • J'ai pris rendez-vous chez le médecin. (I took an apointment at the doctor.)
    • Le rendez vous est pris depuis une semaine. (the appointment was taken one week ago.)

    enlightenedTest your knowledge of the auxiliary verbs être and avoir by solving our online exercises!


    Question set exercise about the auxiliaries in French

    Next lessons

    1 Conjugation of avoir (to have) in French Get an overview of the conjugation of avoir in French and study the topic online
    2 Conjugation of être (to be) in French Get an overview of the conjuguation of the verb être in French and study the topic online
    3 Conjugation of être (to be) in French Get an overview of the conjuguation of the verb être in French and study the topic online