What is a verb?
Verbs (French: les verbes) are 'doing' words which aim to describe what someone or something does, what someone or something is, or what happens to them, for example, be, sing, live.
Verbs can be divided into:
- finite verb forms (French: formes conjuguées)
- non-finite verb forms (French: formes non conjuguées)
- full verbs and auxiliary verbs
Finite verb forms
Finite verb forms in general have a subject, which means that they can be the main verb in a sentence. Moreover, these verb forms can indicate a tense, person and number.
Basically we can differ between:
- simple tenses which consists of one word and is formed from the stem and the ending.
- compound tenses which are being formed by the auxiliary verbs avoir or être and the participe perfect.
Non-finite verb forms
Non-finite verb forms do not have a subject, tense or number. Basically, non-finite verb forms are the infinitive (faire), the gerund (en faisant) or the participle (faisant/fait).
Verbal tenses in French
Verbs are actions words or nouns that indicate what the action is and when it is happening in the present, future or past. But they can also express possibilities, obligations like the modal verbs
On this page you will find an overview of the different verb tenses in different sections with their respective exercises.
Présent du conditionnel
Passé du conditionnel
Use of verbal tenses in French
- Present of the indicative: simple tense that is used to express a fact or an action that takes place when we express ourselves
- Present of the conditional: simple tense that can be used to mitigate a request
- Present of the imperative: simple tense that is used to express an order or an prohibition
- Present of the subjunctive: simple tense that is used to express an uncertain, unrealized action as we express ourselves
- Imperfect of the indicative: simple tense that is used to express a fact or action that has already taken place at the moment we speak but can still unfold
- Literary past tense: simple tense that is used to express a completed action from the past, most often a brief action
- Past completed: compound tense that is used to express an action or fact that has already taken place at the moment we speak.
- Pluperfect of the indicative: compound tense that allows to express the anteriority of an action compared to a past action
- Past anterior: this compound tense is used most often with the literary past tense to express the anteriority of an action.
- Past of the conditional: compound tense that is used to express a regret or reproach smth to smne
- Past of the imperative: compound tense that is very little used but it allows to express the anteriority of an ordered action compared to an action which is not yet realized
- Past of the subjunctive: compound tense that is used to express an uncertain action, supposedly realized at the moment when we express ourselves.
- Imperfect of the subjunctive: simple tense that is used to express an uncertain action, unrealized at the moment when the speaker spoke. It is generally used in litterary
- Pluperfect of the subjunctive: compound tense that is used to express an uncertain action, supposedly performed at the moment when the speaker spoke. It is generally used in litterary
- Future simple: simple tense that is used to express a fact or an action that will take place later, it has not yet taken place at the moment we express ourselves
- Future perfect: compound tense that is used to express a fact or an action that will be completed at that moment.
Elle vivait à London (she was living in London)
Elle travaille dans une usine (She works in a factory)
Elle viendra plus tard. (She will come later)
Elle avait vécu à Londres. (She had lived in London.)
Elle m’a attendu au restaurant. (She has waited for me in the restaurant)
Elle sera venue plus tard. (She will have come later)
Irregulars and regular verbs in French
Like in English, there are two types of verbs, irregular and regular. They differ by their way of conjugating.
Moreover generally, regular are French verbs ending in -er, -ir and belong to the 1st and 2nd group and irregular verbs are ending in -oir, -re, -ir and belong to the 3rd group.
Irregular verbs have a specific form for the present, past and participle
- voir – vu – vit
- partir – partit – partat
- mettre – mis – mette
Regular verbs have only one form and to make the past or participle
- finir – finis – finis
- travailler – travaillé – travaille
- acheter – acheté – achète
Auxiliaries in French
To begin, you should take a look at the auxiliary verbs that you will use multiple times to form the different verb compound tenses
here you will get an overview of the present, past a future of the auxiliaries avoir and être
J’ai (present simple)
J’aurais (conditional present)
Aies (present imperative)
Que j’aie (subjunctive present)
Je fus (literary past tense)
Que j’eusse (subjunctive imperfect
J’aurai (future simple)
Je suis (present simple)
Je serais (conditional present)
Sois (present imperative)
Que je sois (subjunctive present)
Que je fusse (subjunctive imperfect)
Je serai (future simple)
Conjugation of compound tenses
To form the compound tenses, you use the conjugation of the auxiliaries that you we saw below in the table.
- Past completed: present simple of avoir or être + past participle
- Pluperfect of the indicative: imperfect of avoir or être + past participle
- Past anterior: literary past tense of avoir or être + past participle
- Past imperative: present imperative of avoir or être + past participle
- Past subjunctive: present subjunctive of avoir or être + past participle
- Conditional past: conditional present of avoir or être + past participle
- Pluperfect of the subjunctive: subjunctive imperfect of avoir or être + past participle
- Future perfect: future simple of avoir or être + past participle
Modal verbs in French
Modal verbs (French: les verbes modaux) are also auxiliary verbs, but unlike the previous ones, they are complementary verbs that accompany other verbs. They express ability, possibility, obligation or other condition.
Infinitive verbs and gerund in French
- The present is simple
- The past is compound with the verb avoir or être
What our students say
Unlike in other platforms, all our teachers are manually verified by our professional team. Trust in the experiences of our students.
Hands down one of the best teachers I've had the pleasure of working with. Very knowledgeable in all aspects of Bulgarian (grammar rules, expressions, ...) but also in both English and French, which helps whenever you have a more in-depth question on the how or why something is the way it is in Bulgarian. Furthermore he has his own material and always comes prepared, but he is equally open to changing the subject of a lesson to suit your needs. He is patient, positive and not too scholarly, which is what you need as an adult learning day- to- day Bulgarian.I have been working with him for 18 months now and still look forward to our lessons every week.
An's Bulgarian has tremendously improved since she gave it go a year and a half ago. Of course, It goes without saying that I am pleased to work with such an enthusiastic learner who is living proof that, through hard work and perseverance, everyone can succeed in their language goals. An, you are now an independant user of the language who is able to successfully lead real-live conversations. Pat yourself on the back.
Elena is an excellent teacher and a very nice person. I have been training in Spanish with Elena for quite some time now after her being recommended to me by a friend, and have consistently been very pleased with our lessons. While I do not consider myself to be very good at learning foreign languages, Elena is very patient and adapts the lessons to my ability, making me feel at ease. In fact, I find her to be extremely skilled at assessing exactly where I am at any given time with respect to my individual learning situation, and structuring the lessons accordingly. I think I probably would have given up trying to learn Spanish had I not began my study with Elena; and that would have been a shame considering where I am now with the language. Because of Elena's skilled help, I am extremely pleased to not only be conversant in basic Spanish, but also have confidence that I will one day reach full proficiency with the language. No other learning method I tried before meeting Elena compares to the one-on-one, personalized instruction I receive from her, which comprises reading; writing; developmental exercises; and most importantly, conversation. To be able to look at Spanish now and have it appear largely familiar is extremely satisfying. I even plan to study Italian with Elena after reaching my desired level in Spanish. These are not things I ever imagined would occur at the beginning stages of my studies. I am a native English speaker and find Elena's English to be excellent. She had no difficulty instructing me from the very beginning levels where it was necessary that a lot of English be spoken in our lessons, to where we are now with much less English being spoken. The friend who recommended Elena to me learned Dutch from her, and is equally pleased with their experience. I would not hesitate to learn from Elena any of the languages she teaches. I give Elena my highest recommendations and thank her for all the help she has provided me.
Thank you for your feedback, Brandon! I am very happy to know that you are so satisfied with the lessons. I've always believed that you could make it and I am glad that we never gave it up. The right attitude and a high level of perseverance have been the keys to your success. It has been a pleasure to be your guide in your learning process. I know that you can do much more, so let's continue towards a next level!
Again a lesson full of fun anf full of learning opportunities. I really like Angels patience and ability to adapt to my learning process.
This student is one of the best ones I ever had in my long teaching career. She is always so diligent and willing to learn more and more. I am so happy to work with her and see the immense progress she has made since we first started working together. Thank you Silke!
I would highly recommend Tove. Her lessons are fantastic and I learn exactly what I'm interested in. Tove is very friendly, our chemistry goes well together and I really enjoy being tought by her.
Dear Anita, Thank you very much for your nice review! I enjoy our lessons very much too and I am so happy that our communication and chemistry fit well together. That's the best precondition for a good learning experience. See you soon!
We are an Italian family residing in France for 3 months, we have two 10 year old children who have just started attending CM1. We asked Natalia to give the children two lessons a week to speed up their learning. We are super happy with the choice. Nous sommes une famille italienne résidant en France depuis janvier, nous avons deux enfants de 10 ans qui viennent de commencer la CM1. Nous avons demandé à Natalia de leur donner deux leçons par semaine pour accélérer leur apprentissage. Nous sommes super contents de Natalia. We are an Italian family living in France since 3 months, we have two 10 year old children who have just started attending CM1. We asked Natalia to give the kids two lessons a week to speed up their learning. We are super happy with this choice.
Fabrizio's children are learning French very fast, I have the impression that these lessons online have been helpful for them and I am sure they will master the language easily. They are very interested in learning.
Daniela is a very pleasant and brisk teacher who has the talent to make you feel at ease immediately. Her lessons are a nice mix of conversation and theory. Again and again it is a nice hour to look forward to !! Thank you Daniela !!
Dear Hilde, thank you very much for your words. I'm glad you are satisfied with our time together. I will continue to do my best to make you practice your beautiful Italian in a cheerful and peaceful way :-)
It is always a pleasure to have English lessons with Corinne. The lessons are always a lot of fun and extremely interesting concerning on current affairs and unfortunately the time always ends too early. Very recommended.
Thank you, Danilo. It is always a pleasure having lessons with you and I have enjoyed our many conversations together. And what a joy that over time they have become easier for both of us to understand! :D
Carmen is really prepared and very very nice. She takes you by the hand and introduces you to portuguese language in a really pleasant way. I learned 3-4 sentences already on the first lesson!
Fabia is a very nice student and learns very quickly. It is a pleasure to teach her as she really likes to learn a difficult language like Portuguese and improved a lot.
It was very nice to take a lesson from Theano (Anny). She is adaptable to the student's level and is prepared to help the student as necessary. She is a friendly and caring teacher!
Σ' ευχαριστώ πολύ Μέγκαν! I'm glad you had a good experience and that you enjoyed it. Your excitment about learning greek motivates me even more :)
Marissa is a very professional teacher who can put the student at ease. It is precise, effective and oriented towards achieving the objectives: highly recommended.
Thanks so much Paola!!! I LOVE working with you guys and have enjoyed every moment. Even after this brief period, we can already start to see some changes. :-)
I have had many lessons with Luisa and I always look forward to them. We begin by chatting about the past week's events and them move to Espresso which I find very useful as a good review of material I have done in the past. There is often additional words used I had not met before. Luisa is always a pleasure to talk with and is a kind and pleasant teacher. She corrects me gently and offers useful words or meanings when appropriate.
Dear Martin thank you so much ! It's my pleasure taking class with you. And thanks a lot for your suggestion about Us movies ( Just Mercy) or Us books
I had my first lesson a couple of days ago and everything went super good!
Karin was attentive, transmiting her positivism and helping me with every doubt I had.
She really focus on teaching how to pronounce and talk a language, so this is really interesting for me, to practise it & be able to use it in my day by day.
I really recommend her to everyone willing to learn a new language :)
Hi Alba! Thank you so much for your wonderful review! I enjoyed our class too & I wish you the best of luck with all your future projects :-)
A prepared and kind teacher, ready to teach with patience and good humor. He provided me with very useful materials to study and review even after the lesson. I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn a language with a smile. Thanks Silvia :)
Thank you so much for the Chiara review! It was a real pleasure to have this lesson with you. I wish you a nice trip with the German language!
The lesson with Celia was perfect! She was puntcual, kind and her teaching method is effective and funny.
She started the class with some "games" to get to know eachother and then we discussed about an article she provided. The time of the class passed really fast and I learned new vocabulary.
Thank you so much, Remark! I´m happy to know you enjoyed our lesson and I´m looking forward to having more in the near future! Cheers!
Ekaterina writes new words and sentences learnt during the lesson. She has got a very nice attitude and great accent! A pleasure to work with... yes, even in German!!!!!
Dear Silvia, thank you very much for your feedback! It's a real pleasure to have classes with you, and I hope you find them useful!