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Les Conjugaisons Conjugations


Notice that the verb form changes whenever the subject changes. These different verb forms are known as conjugations. They indicate the subject (I, you, he/she/it, we, you formal, and they) and tense (ie. present, past, or future). The conjugations of regular verbs (verbes réguliers m.) follow easy to predict patterns while irregular verbs (verbes irréguliers m.) don't. Être, the verb on this page, is one of the irregulars. Two other important irregular verbs are aller (to go) and pouvoir (can).

être
je  suis
tu  es
il / elle est
nous sommes
vous êtes
ils / elles sont
  aller
je  vais
tu  vas
il / elle  va
nous  allons
vous  allez
ils / elles  vont
  pouvoir
je  peux
tu  peux
il / elle  peut
nous  pouvons
vous pouvez
ils / elles peuvent

Je peux !
I can!

practice

The infinitive (l'infinitif) is displayed at the top of each verb's conjugation table. Besides serving to identify a verb, it is employed whenever the tense or the person need not be indicated. This is the case when verbs are strung together. The first verb marks the tense and person.

Elle va être ici.
She's going to be here.

Je peux aller.
I can go.

The infinitive is also used when a verb follows a preposition.

Il va aller là-bas.
He's going to go over there.

La Négation Negation

To negate something surround the verb with ne and pas.

  Je ne peux pas. I can't.
  Ils ne vont pas. They're not going.

Ne, like je, drops it's vowel when it comes before a vowel. This is called élision.

  Il n'est pas français. He isn't french.

In casual speech, the ne is often dropped.

  Je peux pas. I can't

This introductory guide doesn't explore conjugations in depth, so every now and then we're going to send you to the conjugation guide. Now would be a good time to study the regular verbs which are divided into -er ending verbs, -ir ending verbs and -re ending verbs.

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