different ways of how to say ING in French


Over the past three years I’ve been teaching French online and have heard students make this mistake many times. The mistake is to add the word “suis” when trying to say “I am” doing something. For example, to say “I am speaking” I will often hear students say, “Je suis parle”. This is totally wrong. In French “Je parle” means both “I speak” and “I am speaking”.

There is absolutely no need for the word “suis” for am because the “am” is actually embedded in the verb. So, “Je mange” means both “I eat” and “I am eating” and “Je suis mange” would be totally wrong if you’re trying to say “I am eating”. In the audio lesson below I’ll walk you through lots of examples. Please comment and share.

If you’d like to really advance your knowledge of French verb usages I strongly recommend listening to Frenchtoday.com’s audio course, À Moi Paris 5. Please click here to get your copy today!



I’m singing the song.
RIGHT: Je chante la chanson
WRONG: Je suis chante la chanson.

I’m listening to the song.
RIGHT: J’écoute la chanson.
WRONG: Je suis éctoute la chanson.

I’m eating the pizza.
RIGHT: Je mange la pizza.
WRONG: Je suis mange la pizza.

I’m staying home tonight.
RIGHT: Je reste chez moi ce soir.
WRONG: Je suis reste chez moi ce soir.

I’m inviting my friends to the restaurant.
RIGHT: J’invite mes amis au restaurant.
WRONG: Je suis invite mes amis au restaurant.

I’m learning French.
RIGHT: J’apprends le français.
WRONG: Je suis apprends le français

I am not working today.
RIGHT: Je ne travaille pas aujourd’hui.
WRONG: Je ne suis pas travaille aujourd’hui.

I am not inviting Jean.
RIGHT: Je n’invite pas Jean.
WRONG: Je ne suis pas invite Jean.

I am not reading the book.
RIGHT: Je ne lis pas le livre.
WRONG: Je ne suis pas lis le livre.

I was working yesterday.
RIGHT: J’ai travaillé hier OR Je travaillais hier.
WRONG: Je suis travaillé hier OR J’étais travaillé hier.

I was talking with to friend.
RIGHT: J’ai parlé à mon ami OR je parlais avec mon ami.
WRONG: Je suis parlé à mon ami OR J’étais parlé à mon ami.

I’m going to eat the pizza.
RIGHT: Je vais manger la pizza OR Je mangerai la pizza.
WRONG: Je suis vais manger la pizza OR Je suis mangerai la pizza.

I’m going to work tomorrow.
RIGHT: Je vais travailler demain OR Je travaillerai demain.
WRONG: Je suis vais travailler demain OR Je suis travaillerai demain.

Merci! I hoped this has helped. To learn more why not try a private lesson via Skype? Please use the form below to sign up!

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About David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site, FrenchLearner.com, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.