• French grammar
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  • 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]
  • 10.1.1.1 Present tense in French [0/2]
  • 10.1.1.2 Past tenses in French [0/13]
  • 10.1.1.3 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 verbs

    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

    The French grammar has 4 verbal moods and each mood has a present tense, a past tense and a future tense

    On this page you will find an overview of the different verb tenses in different sections with their respective exercises.

    Moods

    Present

    Past

    Future

    Indicative

    Présent simple

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Imparfait

    Passé simple

    Passé composé

    Plus-que-parfait

    Passé intérieur

     

    Future simple

    Futur intérieur

    Conditional

    Présent du conditionnel

     

    Passé du conditionnel

     

    Imperative

    Imperatif présent

    Impératif passé

     

    Subjunctive

    Subjonctif présent

    Subjonctif passé

    Subjonctif plus-que-parfait

    Subjonctif imparfait

     

    Use of verbal tenses in French

    1. Present

    2. Past

    • 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

    3. Future

    • 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.

    In addition, you can access from this page to: reflexive verbsauxiliaries, the modals, passive or active voice, reported speech.

    Examples

     

    Past

    Present

    Futur

    Simple

    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)

    Compound

    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. 

    1. Irregular verbs have a specific form for the present, past and participle

    • voir – vu – vit
    • partir – partit – partat
    • mettre – mis – mette
    1. 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

    Auxiliaries

    Present

    Past

    Future

    Avoir

    J’ai (present simple)

    J’aurais (conditional present)

    Aies (present imperative)

    Que j’aie (subjunctive present)

    J’avais (imperfect)

    Je fus (literary past tense)

    Que j’eusse (subjunctive imperfect

    J’aurai (future simple)

    Être

    Je suis (present simple)

    Je serais (conditional present)

    Sois (present imperative)

    Que je sois (subjunctive present)

    J’étais (imperfect)

    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.

    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.

    • Devoir
    • Vouloir
    • Savoir
    • Aimer
    • Falloir
    • Pouvoir

    Infinitive verbs and gerund in French

    In French, we can also differentiate between infinitives and gerunds. They also in present and in past for the verbs:

    • The present is simple
    • The past is compound with the verb avoir or être

    Next lessons

    1 Tenses and moods in French Get a comprehensive overview about all French tenses and moods and study the topic online.
    2 French auxiliary verbs (avoir, être) Get an overview of the use of auxiliary verbs in French and study the topic online
    3 Modal verbs in French Get a comprehensive overview about French mode verbs and study the topic online.
    4 Passive voice in French Get a comprehensive overview about the active and passive voice in French and study them online.
    5 Reflexive verbs in French Get a comprehensive overview about all French reflexive verbs and study the topic online.
    6 Irregular verbs in French Get a comprehensive overview about all the irregular French verbs and study the topic online.
    7 Regular verbs in French Get a comprehensive overview about all the regular French verbs and study the topic online.
    8 Reported Speech in French Get a comprehensive overview about the reported speech in French and study the topic online.