Today we’ll focus on the French verb poser. While the underlying meaning of poser is “to put” or “to place”, this verb is commonly used in the context of “to ask a question” – poser une question.
to place, put, ask
Poser meaning and conjugation in French
The French verb poser (to place, to put) comes from the Latin verb pōnere.
Poser (to place, to put) is a regular ER verb. This means that its endings are the same as all other regular ER verbs when conjugated in the present tense.
The verb poser often appears in the following grammatical structure: poser une question à quelqu’un (to ask somebody a queston).
Le jeune garçon pose une question à son père.
The young boy asks his father a question.
Puis-je vous poser une question?
May I ask you a question?
In this example sentence, puis-je is the is the inverted form of “Est-ce que que je peux?” (may/can I?). This lesson on our site covers how to ask questions in French and this lesson covers the verb pouvoir (can, to be able).
This next sentence is an example of how to use poser in the context of “to put” or “to place”.
Je pose les fourchettes sur le comptoir.
I put the forks on the counter.
In this next example, poser l’avion means to land or literally “put (down)” the airplane.
Le pilote n’a pas bien posé l’avion sur la piste.
The pilot didn’t land the plane well on the runway.
Poser can also mean “to install” as in to install an item somewhere in the house. This example sentence is in the passé composé, a commonly used French past tense. Salon means living room. In this lesson we covered the rooms of the house.
Nous avons posé un meuble TV dans le salon.
We installed a TV stand in the living room.
Demander = to ask
While poser is used in the context of asking questions, the verb demander is used in the context of asking for things or actions to be carried out. The grammatical stucture for this final example sentence is demander quelque chose à quelqu’un (to ask somebody for something).
Je demande le prix au vendeur.
I ask the clerk for the price.
Et voilà ! You know know how to use the verb poser in French! Now check our our lessons covering some more useful verbs including profiter (to enjoy), ranger (to tidy, put way) and bosser (to work, work hard).