Present tense in French
What is the present tense?
The present tense (French: le présent) is used to talk about what is true at the moment what happens regularly and what is happening now.
- Maintenant, je lis ce livre. (Now I'm reading this book.)
- Je comprends les exemples. (I understand the examples.)
You use a verb in the present tense to talk about:
- things that are happening now
- things that happen all the time or at certain intervals, or things that you do as a habit
- things that are true at the present time
When to use the present tense in French?
|Timeless condition||Le château de Versailles est magnifique.||The castle of Versailles is beautiful.|
|Habit||Je me lève à 6 heures du matin.||I get up at 6 in the morning.|
|Future||Ce soir nous restons à la maison.||This evening we are going to stay at home.|
Regular and irregular present tense forms
In French there are regular and irregular present tense forms, which can be differentiated by their endings.
Regular present tense forms
The present tense in French is formed with the following endings:
- for verbs ending in -er with -e, -es, -e, -ons, -ez, -ent
- for verbs ending in -ir, -re and -oir with -s, -s, -t, -ons, -ez
For verbs ending in -ir the stem extension -iss is being inserted while for the third person singular the -t at the end is left out when the stem is ending in -t or -d.
Overview of regular verb endings
|Verbs ending in -er||
parler (to speak):
je parle, tu parles, il/elle parle, nous parlons, vous parlez, ils/elles parlent
|Verbs ending in -ir||
finir (to finish):
je finis, tu finis, il/elle finit, nous finissons, vous finissez, ils/elles finissent
|Verbs ending in -re||
attendre (to wait for sb./sth.):
j'attends, tu attends, il/elle attend, nous attendons, vous attendez, ils attendent
|Verbs ending in -oir||
recevoir (to get sth.):
je reçois, tu reçois, il/elle reçoit, nous recevons, vous recevez, ils reçoivent
Irregular present tense forms
|Infinitive||Present tense forms||Specialty|
|j'achète, tu achètes, il/elle achète, nous achetons, vous achetez, ils/elles achètent||Forms with -è|
|je vais, tu vas, il/elle va, nous allons vous allez, ils/elles vont||tu vas, il va|
|j'appelle, tu appelles, il/elle appelle, nous appelons, vous appelez, ils/elles appellent||Forms with -ll|
|j'ai, tu as, il/elle a, nous avons, vous avez, ils/elles ont||tu as, il a|
|je bois, tu bois, il/elle boit, nous buvons, vous buvez, ils/elles boivent||-|
je comence, tu commences, il/elle commence, nous commençons, vous commencez, ils/elles commencent
|nous mit -ç|
je connais, tu connais, il/elle connaît, nous connaissons, vous connaissez, ils/elles connaissent
|il/elle with -î|
|je dis, tu dis, il/elle dit, nous disons, vous dites, ils/elles disent||vous dit|
|je dors, tu dors, il/elle dort, nous dormons, vous dormez, ils/elles dorment||je dors|
|je suis, tu es, il/elle est, nous sommes, vous êtes, ils/elles sont||
|je fais, tu fais, il/elle fait, nous faisons, vous faites, ils/elles font||vous faites|
|je lis, tu lis, il/elle lit, nous lisons, vous lisez, ils/elles lisent||-|
|je mange, tu manges, il/elle mange, nous mangeons, vous mangez, ils/elles mangent||nous mangeons|
|je pars, tu pars, il/elle part, nous partons, vous partez, ils/elles partent||forms without -t-|
|je peux, tu peux, il/elle peut, nous pouvons, vous pouvez, ils/elles peuvent||je peux, tu peux|
|je sais, tu sais, il/elle sait, nous savons, vous savez, ils/elles savent||ils savent|
|je suis, tu suis, il suit, nous suivons, vous suivez, ils suivent||je suis|
|je veux, tu veux, il veut, nous voulons, vous voulez, ils veulent||je veux, tu veux|
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