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Essayer Meaning & Translation – To try in French

Essayer Meaning & Translation – To try in French

In today’s lesson we’ll have a look at the verb essayer, which means “to try”. For example, j’essaie d’apprendre le français (I try to learn French). Let’s jump right into the lesson!


to try

Essayer - to try in French

Essayer Meaning & Translation

Word origin

According to, the French verb essayer is related to the noun essai (try, attempt), which comes from the Latin verb exigere (to judge, examine, weigh) and noun exagium (weight, balance).

Present tense conjugation

Essayer is a regular ER verb. This means that its endings are the same as all other French regular ER verbs when conjugated in the present tense. Essayer has two accepted spelling patterns in the present tense. The pronunciations are the exact same.

J’essaie I try
Tu essaies You try (singular, informal)
Il, elle essaie He, she tries
Nous essayons We try
Vous essayez You try (plural, formal)
Ils, elles essaient They try

J’essaye I try
Tu essayes You try (singular, informal)
Il, elle essaye He, she tries
Nous essayons We try
Vous essayez You try (plural, formal)
Ils, elles essayent They try

Example sentences

To try

In our first example sentence, essayer is simply “to try”. This example uses the word jamais (never), which we cover in our French negations lesson.

Si tu n’essaies pas, tu ne réussiras jamais.

If you don’ try, you’ll never succeed.

Essayer de + infinitive

In these two example sentnces, essayer de + infinitive means “to try to do something”.

J’essaie de chanter la chanson mais c’est très difficile.

I try to sing the song but it’s very difficult.

Je vais essayer de terminer mon projet avant demain.

I’ll try to finish my project before tomorrow

Essayer + noun

In the next two examples, essayer is followed by a noun, meaning “to try something”. Essayer can also translate to “to test”. Hence, “I test the skis” could also work as a translation for this next sentence.

The les in this example sentence is a direct object pronoun, meaning “them”. This post on our site covers object pronouns in depth.

J’essaie les nouveaux skis avant de les acheter.

I try the new skies before buying them.

Nous allons essayer le nouveau restaurant ce soir.

We are going to try the new restaurant tonight.

Noun essai

In French, the noun essai transaltes to “try” or “attempt” and is the origin of the English word “essay”.

Il a réussi son examen au troisième essai.

He passed the exam after the third try.


Et voilà ! You now know how to use essayer in French! Now check out our other lessons covering the verbs quitter (to leave), bosser (to work hard) and ranger (to tidy, put away).

Essayer = to try in French
Essayer = to try in French

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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 FrenchLearner, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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