French Irregular Verbs | Lingvist (2023)

Why be regular when you were born to shine?

Irregular verbs are the divas of the grammar world that just won’t play by the rules. Verbs which do not follow the dominant conjugation scheme are extremely common in French (just as they are in English). Irregular verbs like avoir, être, faire, and aller are actually some of the most commonly used verbs, meaning that French learners gain valuable exposure to their inflected forms often and can usually memorize the irregularities quickly. In fact, the high frequency of these irregular verbs is what linguists believe has kept their outdated historic inflection patterns around this long.

The fact that these verbs are unpredictable and require memorization may not be the best news you’ve heard today, but luckily this guide provides a roadmap to understanding a few key things about these tricksters. Check out our tips below to know when to expect the unexpected and how to handle all of this irregularity. You can also sign up for Lingvist’s online French course to practice conjugations online or from the mobile app.

All French verbs end in either -ir, -re, or -er. Each of these verb classes have specific rules governing how they change to express who (“person”) perpetrated the action and when (“tense”) it occurred. French uses one extra person category (vous) that corresponds to addressing “you all / you guys” in English. See our guides on -ir, -re, and -er verbs to see how regular and irregular verbs behave in those classes according to “person” in the present tense.

French Irregular Verbs | Lingvist (1)

Learn French now!

Lingvist helps you to gain vocabulary faster and more effectively. Get started now and upgrade your language skills.

(Video) Group 3 Irregular French Verbs (Present Tense)

Try Lingvist for free

One other note: If the first letter of the next word is a vowel, the je becomes a j’ and is combined with the verb (j’arrive).

French Personal Pronouns

je = Inous = we
tu = youvous = you all / you guys
il/elle/on = you (masc.) / you (fem.) / we (informal)ils/elles = they (masc.) / they (fem.)

When you see an -ir, -re, or -er at the end of a verb, you know it’s in its basic form, the infinitive (infinitif). For regular verbs, you can strip them down to the stem by removing the last two letters and adding the appropriate ending according to the rules for that type of verb. The stem, or radical (from “root” in French: racine), is the part that occurs before the -re, -er, or -ir. In most of the charts below, the stem is underlined and the ending (usually a regular ending) is in bold.

Stem Changes

In French, there is a whole group of irregular verbs which undergo a “stem change” when conjugated. This means certain letters of the stem change depending on the tense or person, usually in a systematic (though irregular to the class of verbs) way. For example, you will often see all forms of a verb except the nous and vous undergo stem changes. For most of these stem-change verbs, you can still add the regular endings to the stem and call it a day. Let’s take a look at a few key examples to get the idea.

Tenir and venir: Conjugating “to hold” and “to come” involves a stem change, with the ten- and ven- changing to tien- and vien- for four out of six of the person categories. There are also many other verbs (which are derivatives of these two verbs) that have the same stem change. A few examples are: contenir, devenir, intervenir, maintenir, obtenir, and souvenir

Ex: tenir –> ten -ir (to hold)

je tiensnous tenons
tu tiensvous tenez
il/elle/on tientils/elles tiennent

Changes to Enable Pronunciation

Certain sounds are phonetically “closer” to pronounce and therefore easier to transition between. Over time, words can transform to become easier to pronounce. One such word is “manger” or “to eat.” In this word, the “g” is pronounced as a “j” (as in “Germany”). Now, imagine trying to pronounce the nous form of this word: “mangons.” The transition is too difficult for your mouth to make fluidly! So in the case of manger and nager (to swim), an e helps smoothly transition into the -ons ending.

Example: manger (to eat)

(Video) Irregular French Verbs: Present Tense Conjugations

je mangenous mangeons
tu mangesvous mangez
il/elle/on mangeils/elles mangent

Spelling Changes

In a few verbs, certain similar letters are swapped out, but only in particular person cases (most of the time for everything except nous and vous). This list is not exhaustive, but it describes a few of the common spelling change patterns.

Accent flip

One of the most common spelling changes you should be aware of is swapping out e, é, and è in certain forms of common verbs.

Example: inquiéter –> inquié/inquièt -er (to worry)

j’inquiètenous inquiétons
tu inquiètesvous inquiétez
il/elle/on inquièteils/elles inquiètent

Double it up

Some French verbs that end in -eler and -eter double the l or t in all except nous and vous in the present.

Example: appeler –> appel/appell -er (to call)

j’appellenous appelons
tu appellesvous appelez
il/elle/on appelleils/elles appellent

Switch it out:

For verbs that end in an -ayer, -oyer, or -uyer, such as envoyer (to send), the y changes to an i in all cases except – you guessed it – nous and vous.

Example: envoyer –> envoy/envoi -er (to send)

j’envoienous envoyons
tu envoiesvous envoyez
il/elle/on envoieils/elles envoient

Even stranger? Within this group, for the verbs that end in -ayer, the stem change is optional, meaning either is correct.

Example: essayer –> essay/essai -er (to try)

(Video) Practise Your French Group 3 Irregular Verbs - PRÉSENT

j’essaye/j’essaienous essayons
tu essayes/essaiesvous essayez
il/elle/on essaye/essaieils/elles essayent/essaient

Irregular in Multiple Tenses

Some verbs completely transform to a practically unrecognizable form. You may wonder how in the world these verbs come from one original, just like the surprising variety of inflected English forms of “to be” (am/are/is). Often, the only verbs that resemble the infinitive are the first and second person plural nous and vous forms. See the four most common irregular verb conjugations below to discover what surprises they hold! Note that we have just included a few examples of tenses in which they are exceptionally irregular.

Verbs Which Are Irregular in the Present, Simple Future (and Sometimes Past Participle)

As you may have guessed, the present tense is used to talk about things occurring presently, or actions that someone is in the process of completing. The simple future tense is used to describe events that are likely to happen in the future, like an intention or a supposition. This conveys less certainty than the Futur Proche (“close” future), which implies that you are going to do something right away.

Several verbs are irregular in the present and also undergo a specific stem change for the simple future which resemble each other (ir-, aur-, ser-, fer-). Aside from the stem change, these verbs have regular endings in the simple future. If you know Latin, you’ll recognize a few of these new stems in the following examples. In these charts, the stem is only underlined if it is a regular conjugation.

Aller

The present tense of aller is also used in combination with another verb (just like English) to form the Futur Proche (“close” future) tense.

Je vais manger un croissant.

(I am going to eat a croissant.)

Present tense: aller (to go)

je vaisnous allons
tu vasvous allez
il/elle/on vails/elles vont

Past participle (not irregular): allé

Simple future: aller (to go), stem: ir-

je irainous irons
tu iravous irez
il/elle/on ironsils/elles iront

When describing events that were completed or had a specified ending time in the past, the composite form past perfect (passé composé) is used. To form this, you combine the auxiliary (or “helping”) verb être or avoir in present tense with the past participle (participe passé). This very closely resembles English, such as the sentence “I have eaten the croissant.” Most past participles are formed by adding an , -i, or -u to the stem of the verb. The common verbs found below also have irregular past participles.

(Video) Basic Irregular Verbs in French

Être

Present tense: être (to be)

je suisnous sommes
tu esvous êtes
il/elle/on estils/elles sont

Past participle: été

Simple future: être (to be), stem: ser-

je serainous serons
tu seravous serez
il/elle/on seronsils/elles seront

Avoir

Present tense: avoir (to have)

j’ainous avons
tu asvous avez
il/elle/on ails/elles ont

Past participle: eu

Simple future: avoir (to have), stem: aur-

je aurainous aurons
tu auravous aurez
il/elle/on auronsils/elles auront

Faire

Present tense: faire (to do/make)

je faisnous faisons
tu faisvous faites
il/elle/on faitils/elles font

Past participle: fait

Simple future tense: faire (to do/make), stem: fer-

je ferainous ferons
tu ferasvous ferez
il/elle/on feronsils/elles feront

Memorize with Flash-Charts

Looking for a way to work French conjugation memorization into your daily routine?

(Video) French conjugation regular and irregular verbs: être, avoir, aller, er ir re endings

Write out conjugation charts on separate pieces of paper and alternate covering them with tape or sticky notes to quiz yourself like flashcards. Try putting one verb conjugation chart per week in a place that you habitually spend some time, like on your kitchen cabinets or your bathroom mirror, so that you can look it over while washing dishes or brushing your teeth. Halfway through the week, try covering up the conjugated forms with tape or a sticky note so you can quiz yourself.

French Irregular Verbs | Lingvist (2)

If all these new words seem overwhelming to memorize on your own, sign up for Lingvist’s online French course today to discover fun exercises for learning conjugations and practicing pronunciation! You can also use this appendix of irregular verbs on Wikipedia for reference. Before you know it, the conjugations will become natural and you’ll find yourself forgetting that they’re irregular in the first place.

FAQs

How many irregular verbs are in French? ›

There are approximately 350 irregular verbs that do not conjugate in either the first or second conjugation. For simplicity, these highly varying verbs have been traditionally “lumped” into a third group. All existing non-defective conjugation are detailed and discussed in this page.

What are the 20 irregular verbs? ›

Irregular Verbs List
V1 Base FormV2 Past SimpleV3 Past Participle
drivedrovedriven
drinkdrankdrunk
eatateeaten
fallfellfallen
89 more rows

What are the 3 irregular verbs in French? ›

The Big Four Irregular French Verbs (Être, Avoir, Aller and Faire)

What are the 17 être verbs in French? ›

allé, arrivé, venu, revenu, entré, rentré, descendu, devenu, sorti, parti, resté, retourné, monté, tombé, né et mort.

What are the 4 main French verbs? ›

Big 4 French verbs
  • etre = to be.
  • avoir = to have.
  • aller = to go.
  • faire = to do.

How do you remember irregular French verbs? ›

Memorizing Irregular French Verbs to Music - YouTube

What are the 15 verbs in French? ›

15 Common French Verbs
  • Être – To Be. No one will argue that the verb être (to be) is the most common verb in the French language. ...
  • Avoir – To Have. ...
  • Faire – To Do, To Make. ...
  • Dire – To Say, To Tell. ...
  • Aller - To Go. ...
  • Pouvoir - To Be Able To. ...
  • Vouloir - To Want. ...
  • Devoir – Must, To Have To.
9 Feb 2022

What are the 100 irregular verbs? ›

100 Examples of Irregular Verbs
V1 – PresentV2 – Past SimpleV3 – Past Participle
bleedbledbled
blowblewblown
breakbrokebroken
breedbredbred
26 more rows

What are the 150 irregular verbs? ›

List of Irregular Verbs, +150 Irregular Vers, V1 V2 V3
V1 – PresentV2 – Past SimpleV3 – Past Participle
bitebitbitten
bleedbledbled
blowblewblown
breakbrokebroken
26 more rows

What are the 200 irregular verbs? ›

200 Most Common Irregular Verbs + Gerunds
BASE FORMPAST PARTICIPLE
1AbideAbode/Abided/Abidden
2AlightAlit/Alighted
3AriseArisen
4AwakeAwoken
93 more rows
3 Apr 2013

Why is Aller an irregular verb? ›

We've learned "être" (to be) and "avoir" (to have.) If you want to know more about these verbs, check out episodes 15 (here) and 16 (here.) Alright, "aller" (to go) is another irregular verb. It's often mistaken for a regular verb, because of its ending, but it's not!

What verb is je suis? ›

How to form être (to be) in the present tense
EnglishFrenchExample
I amje suisJe suis écossais(e) - I am ‎Scottish.‎
you (singular, informal) ‎aretu esTu es très grand(e) - You are ‎very tall.‎
he / she / one isil / elle / on estElle est à la banque‎ - She is at ‎the bank.
it isc'estC'est incroyable! - It's ‎incredible!‎

Is avoir irregular? ›

Avoir is an irregular French -ir verb.

What are the 6 forms of avoir? ›

  • j'ai eu.
  • tu as eu.
  • il/elle a eu.
  • nous avons eu.
  • vous avez eu.
  • ils/elles ont eu.

What are the 6 tenses in French? ›

6 French Verb Tenses You Must Know
  • Present tense (le présent)
  • Compound past (passé composé)
  • Imperfect (l'imparfait)
  • Simple future (le futur simple)
  • Conditional (le conditionnel présent)
  • Present subjunctive (le présent du subjonctif)
16 Oct 2015

How do you know if it's avoir or être? ›

In short, it's said that these verbs must use être when there is no direct object and avoir when there is a direct object. More on this in a moment. In addition to these verbs, reflexive verbs take être as their auxiliary (reflexive verbs have a se in their infinitive).

What are the top 20 French verbs? ›

Master French conjugation: 20 Most widely used French verbs and their conjugation
  • Être (to be)
  • Avoir (to have)
  • Aller (to go)
  • Parler (to speak/talk)
  • Faire (to do)
  • Prendre (to take)
  • Vouloir (to want)
  • Savoir (to know)
12 Sept 2022

Is suis a verb in French? ›

In il/elle/on est form, the s is not pronounced. In the vous êtes form, the s is pronounced as a or z to link with the vowel ê in êtes.
...
2.4 The Verb Être.
PersonFrenchEnglish
1st personJe suisI am
2nd personTu esYou are
3rd personIl est Elle est On estHe/it is She/it is One/we is

Is dire irregular in French? ›

Dire is an irregular -re verb. Je te dis la vérité !

What are the 100 most common words in French? ›

100 Most Common List of French Words
  • le (det.) the; (pron.) him, her, it, them.
  • de (det.) some, any; (prep.) of, from.
  • un (det.) a, an; (adj., pron.)
  • à (prep.) to, at, in.
  • être (verb) to be; (noun [m. ]) being.
  • et (conj.) and.
  • en (prep.) in, by; (adv., pron.)
  • avoir (verb) to have; (noun [m. ]) assets.

How many verbs exist in French? ›

There are about 370 verbs in this group, though a much smaller number are still in frequent use.

What tense is J AI? ›

J'ai peur de toi. – “I'm scared of you.” Il a peur de l'eau. – “He's scared of water.”
...
The Avoir Conjugation in the Present Tense.
SingularPlural
J'ai – I haveNous avons – we have
Tu as – you haveVous avez – you have
1 more row
23 Sept 2019

Is the manger irregular? ›

Manger is a regular French -er verb, but it is also a spelling-change verb. This means that it takes all the regular -er endings, but a small spelling change is made to the stem for consistency of pronunciation. The stem: the infinitive manger minus the -er ending, which leaves the stem mang-.

Is Finir an irregular verb? ›

Finir is a regular -ir verb.

Is Devoir an irregular verb? ›

Devoir expresses obligation, probability and supposition but if followed by a noun, expresses the idea "to owe". This verb is irregular in its present form.

How can I learn French fast? ›

10 tips to learn French fast
  1. Watch films. Watching films in French with French subtitles is one of the best ways to learn. ...
  2. Learn with songs. ...
  3. Read. ...
  4. Find a partner. ...
  5. Don't be scared to try and make mistakes. ...
  6. Listen! ...
  7. Practice. ...
  8. Sign up for an intensive course.
12 Aug 2016

Is Dormir regular or irregular? ›

The verbs partir, sortir, and dormir are irregular in the present tense, that is, they are not conjugated like regular -ir verbs.

What are 50 irregular verbs? ›

List if TOP 50 irregular verbs:
InfinitiveSimple PastPast Participle
getgotgotten
givegavegiven
gowentgone
growgrewgrew
46 more rows
26 Dec 2020

What are the 1000 verbs? ›

1000 English Verbs Forms
S.No.Base FormPast Participle Form
1abashabashed
2abateabated
3abideabode
4absorbabsorbed
78 more rows

What are the 25 irregular verbs? ›

Top 25 irregular verbs
Present SimplePast SimplePast Participle
seesawseen
sitsatsat
speakspokespoken
taketooktaken
21 more rows

What are the 100 forms of verb? ›

100 Verb Forms v1 v2 v3
V1 Base FormV2 Past SimpleV3 Past Participle
bearboreborn
beatbeatbeaten
begetbegotbegotten
beginbeganbegun
31 more rows

Is Cry regular or irregular verb? ›

There are four identifying traits of an irregular verb. Some irregular past tense verbs have the same base form, past tense form, and past participle form.
...
Charts for Irregular and Regular Verbs.
Base FormPast Tense Forms
crycried
trytried
fitfitted
triptripped
4 more rows
5 Mar 2019

How many irregular verbs are there? ›

The English language has many irregular verbs, approaching 200 in normal use—and significantly more if prefixed forms are counted. In most cases, the irregularity concerns the past tense (also called preterite) or the past participle.

Is hit an irregular verb? ›

The verb "hit" is an irregular verb. (This means that "hit" does not form its simple past tense or its past participle by adding "-ed" or "-d" to the base form.)

How do you use irregular verbs? ›

What exactly is an irregular verb? The short answer is that a verb is irregular if you can't change it to past tense just by adding “-ed” or “-d” to the end. In order to use these verbs correctly, you have to memorize their past simple and past participle forms, since they don't fit into the usual pattern.

Is threw an irregular verb? ›

Take a look at the irregular verb throw. Throwing is the progressive form.

Is Aimer an irregular verb? ›

Aimer is a regular -er verb in French, which means that the endings we use for its present tense forms are the same as all of the other regular -er verbs: e, es, e, ons, ez, ent.

What tense is allant? ›

French Verb Conjugations
PresentImperfect subj.
Passé simple
je / j'allaiallant
tuallasallé
ilallaétant allé
19 more rows

Why does Aller become Vais? ›

The infinitive form “aller' as well as allons, allé, etc comes from Latin ambulare, to walk, from which we also have ambulance — which originally meant a walking hospital. The present forms “vais”, “va”, “vont” come from Latin vadere which means to advance or to rush in.

Can I say je suis instead of Je M Appelle? ›

To introduce yourself, saying “je suis + name” is correct. For example, “Je suis Marie” (I'm Marie) or “Je suis Pierre” (I'm Pierre). However, the other common way to say “my name is” in French is: “Je m'appelle“, which literally means “I call myself”. Another translation of “Je m'appelle” is “my name is).

What is avoir? ›

Avoir is one of the most important verbs in the French language. Not only does it mean 'to have', but avoir is also an important helping verb that creates the passé composé as well as the future perfect and the pluperfect.

What is Je vais? ›

In English, you can say "I'm going," and everyone will understand that you're either leaving your current location or are on your way to a new destination that was previously mentioned. In French, however, simply saying Je vais (I'm going) is incomplete.

Is veut a verb? ›

Definition. Vouloir is the French verb meaning to want. So, for example if you want to say “I want an orange” that would be “Je veux une orange”, because veux is the conjugation of the verb vouloir for “I”.

Is lire irregular in French? ›

Lire, "to read," is an irregular French -re verb. Some -er verbs, despite being irregular still follow certain patterns, such as prendre (to take) and battre (to beat) or verbs that end in -aindre, -eindre, and -oindre.

How do you remember irregular French verbs? ›

Memorizing Irregular French Verbs to Music - YouTube

Why is Aller an irregular verb? ›

We've learned "être" (to be) and "avoir" (to have.) If you want to know more about these verbs, check out episodes 15 (here) and 16 (here.) Alright, "aller" (to go) is another irregular verb. It's often mistaken for a regular verb, because of its ending, but it's not!

How do you identify irregular verbs? ›

Irregular verbs are verbs that do not follow the normal patterns for tense and past participle. While most English regular verbs use the ending “-ed” for the past tense and participle forms, irregular verbs each have their own unique tense forms and past participles.

What are the 20 most used verbs in French? ›

Master French conjugation: 20 Most widely used French verbs and their conjugation
  • Être (to be)
  • Avoir (to have)
  • Aller (to go)
  • Parler (to speak/talk)
  • Faire (to do)
  • Prendre (to take)
  • Vouloir (to want)
  • Savoir (to know)
12 Sept 2022

Is suis a verb in French? ›

In il/elle/on est form, the s is not pronounced. In the vous êtes form, the s is pronounced as a or z to link with the vowel ê in êtes.
...
2.4 The Verb Être.
PersonFrenchEnglish
1st personJe suisI am
2nd personTu esYou are
3rd personIl est Elle est On estHe/it is She/it is One/we is

What are the 15 verbs in French? ›

15 Common French Verbs
  • Être – To Be. No one will argue that the verb être (to be) is the most common verb in the French language. ...
  • Avoir – To Have. ...
  • Faire – To Do, To Make. ...
  • Dire – To Say, To Tell. ...
  • Aller - To Go. ...
  • Pouvoir - To Be Able To. ...
  • Vouloir - To Want. ...
  • Devoir – Must, To Have To.
9 Feb 2022

What verb is je suis? ›

How to form être (to be) in the present tense
EnglishFrenchExample
I amje suisJe suis écossais(e) - I am ‎Scottish.‎
you (singular, informal) ‎aretu esTu es très grand(e) - You are ‎very tall.‎
he / she / one isil / elle / on estElle est à la banque‎ - She is at ‎the bank.
it isc'estC'est incroyable! - It's ‎incredible!‎

Is the manger irregular? ›

Manger is a regular French -er verb, but it is also a spelling-change verb. This means that it takes all the regular -er endings, but a small spelling change is made to the stem for consistency of pronunciation. The stem: the infinitive manger minus the -er ending, which leaves the stem mang-.

Is Finir an irregular verb? ›

Finir is a regular -ir verb.

Is faire avoir or être? ›

The passé composé of the verb faire is conjugated using the auxiliary verb avoir followed by the past participle of faire – fait.

Is Aimer an irregular verb? ›

Aimer is a regular -er verb in French, which means that the endings we use for its present tense forms are the same as all of the other regular -er verbs: e, es, e, ons, ez, ent.

Is faire regular or irregular? ›

Faire is an irregular -re verb.

What are the 100 irregular verbs? ›

100 Examples of Irregular Verbs
V1 – PresentV2 – Past SimpleV3 – Past Participle
bleedbledbled
blowblewblown
breakbrokebroken
breedbredbred
26 more rows

What are 50 irregular verbs? ›

List if TOP 50 irregular verbs:
InfinitiveSimple PastPast Participle
getgotgotten
givegavegiven
gowentgone
growgrewgrew
46 more rows
26 Dec 2020

What are the 200 irregular verbs? ›

200 Most Common Irregular Verbs + Gerunds
BASE FORMPAST PARTICIPLE
1AbideAbode/Abided/Abidden
2AlightAlit/Alighted
3AriseArisen
4AwakeAwoken
93 more rows
3 Apr 2013

Videos

1. Irregular IR French Verbs - How to conjugate Irregular IR Verbs present tense
(The perfect French with Dylane)
2. Group 3 Irregular French Verbs (Passé Composé - Past Tense)
(Learn French With Alexa)
3. French verbs (avoir; être; faire; aller) en chanson
(Mademoiselle Matrat)
4. 15 Most Used French Irregular Verbs in the Present Tense | French for Beginners
(Learn French with Lexie - French for Beginners)
5. 35 Irregular French Verbs ending in ER (with FREE PDF) Present Tense - French grammar for beginners
(The perfect French with Dylane)
6. Group 3 Irregular French Verbs (Future Tense)
(Learn French With Alexa)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Corie Satterfield

Last Updated: 03/07/2023

Views: 6800

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (42 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Corie Satterfield

Birthday: 1992-08-19

Address: 850 Benjamin Bridge, Dickinsonchester, CO 68572-0542

Phone: +26813599986666

Job: Sales Manager

Hobby: Table tennis, Soapmaking, Flower arranging, amateur radio, Rock climbing, scrapbook, Horseback riding

Introduction: My name is Corie Satterfield, I am a fancy, perfect, spotless, quaint, fantastic, funny, lucky person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.