Dire Conjugation: How To Conjugate “To Say” In French

The conjugation of the French verb dire (Meanings: to say, to tell; Pronunciation: diʀ) is: Je dis (I say), tu dis (you say), il/elle dit (he/she says), nous disons (we say), vous dites (you say) and ils/elles disent (they say). Keep reading to find the complete conjugation tables of dire with example sentences.

Dire conjugation

Dire is an irregular -re verb in French. This means that its ending when conjugated in the present tense are different to other regular -re verbs.

The past participle of dire is dit (said) and the present participle is disant (saying).

This post provides verb tables of dire in the following tenses:

  • Present tense (le présent)
  • Compound past (passé composé)
  • Imperfect (imparfait)
  • Simple future (futur simple)
  • Conditional mood (présent du conditionnel)
  • Present subjunctive (subjonctif)

Uses of the verb dire (to say, to tell)

The most basic usage of the verb dire is simply “to say” and “to tell”. For example:

  • Qu’est-ce que tu dis? What are you saying?
  • Il nous a dit qu’elle part aujourd’hui. He told us that she’s leaving today.

How do you say? Comment dit-on?

The verb dire is commonly used in the context of asking, “How do you say _?”. For example:

  • Comment dit-on apple en français? How do you say “apple” in French?

The expression veut dire translates to “to mean”. For example:

  • Que veut dire “pomme”? What does “pomme” mean?

Se dire = is said

In the reflexive form, se dire means “is said”. For example:

  • Non, ça ne se dit comme ça en France. No. It’s not said like that in France.

Se dire can also be a reciprocal pronominal verb to mean “to each other”. For example:

  • Ils se disent au revoir sur le quai. They say goodbye to each other on the train platform.

Ça te/vous dit ? = how does that sound to you?

Ça te/vous dit ? is an expression that translates loosely to “How does sound ?” or “How would you like?”. For example:

  • Ça te/vous dit d’aller au cinema demain ? How would you like to go to the movies tomorrow?
  • Ça te/vous dit une glace ? Would you like an ice cream?

A few more expressions with dire

The verb dire is used in many common expressions. Here are few of them:

  • C’est-à-dire That’s to say
  • Dire bonjour/au revoir à To say hello/goodbye to
  • à dire vrai To tell the truth
  • Comment dire ? How can I put it/explain?
  • difficile à dire Hard to say
  • Dire des bêtises To talk nonsense
  • Dire oui/non To say yes/no
  • Plus facile à dire qu’à faire Easier said than done

Dire conjugation table

The following is a conjugation table of dire. Below we’ve include complete conjugation charts with example sentences.

Dire conjugation table

Dire conjugation charts

Present tense (le présent)

In the present tense (le présent) je dis translates to both “I say”, “I am saying”, “I tell” and “I am telling”.

Je disI say, tellJe dis la vérité. I'm telling the truth.
Tu disYou say, tell (familiar, singular)Qu'est-ce que tu dis?What are you saying?
Il/elle ditHe/she says, tellsIl dit qu'elle est belle.He says that she's beautiful.
Nous disonsWe say, tellNous disons le repas est délicieux.We are saying that the meal is delicious.
Vous ditesYou say, tell (formal, plural)Je ne comprends pas ce que vous dites.I don't understand what you're saying.
Ils/elles disentThey say, tellJe pense qu'ils disent quelque chose. I think they're saying something.

In the following video online French teacher, Alexa, shows how to pronounce dire conjugated in the present, passé composé and future tenses.

Passé composé

The passé composé is a frequently used French past tense. J’ai dit can translate to both “I said” and “I told”.

J'ai ditI said, toldJ'ai dit que je suis fatigué.I said that I'm tired.
Tu as ditYou said, told (familiar, singular)Est-ce que tu as dit quelque chose?Did you say something?
Il/elle a ditHe/she said, toldIl a dit qu'elle ne vient pas. He said she's not coming.
Nous avons ditWe said, toldNous avons tout dit hier. We said everything yesterday.
Vous avez ditYou said, told (formal, plural)Pourquoi est-ce que vous avez dit la vérité?Why did you say the truth?
Ils/elles ont ditThey said, toldIls disent que le magasin est fermé.They're saying that the store is closed.

Imperfect (l’imparfait)

The French use the imperfect (l’imparfait) tense to describe past actions which occurred at unspecified times. je disais can translate to “I was saying”, “I used to say”, “I was telling” and “I used to tell”.

Je disaisI was saying, used to say, was telling, used to tellJe disais qu'il arrive en retard. I was saying that he's arriving late.
Tu disais You were saying, used to say (familiar, singular), were telling, used to tellQu'est-ce que tu disais quand je t'ai coupé la parole?What were you saying when I interrupted?
Il/elle disaitHe was saying, used to say, was telling, used to tellIl disait que c'est trop compliqué.He was saying that it's too complicated.
Nous disionsWe were saying, used to say, were telling, used to tellNous disions toujours la vérité. We were always telling the truth.
Vous disiezYou were saying, used to say, were telling, used to tell (formal, plural)Qu'est-ce que vous disiez quand je vous ai coupé la parole?What were you saying when I interrupted?
Ils/elles disaientThey were saying, used to say, telling, used to tellIls disaient que le magasin va ouvrir dans une heure.They were saying that the store is going to open in one hour.

Future (le futur simple)

The French use the futur simple to express actions which will occur in the future. Je dirai translates to “I will say” and “I will tell”.

Je diraiI will say, I will tellUn jour, je vous dirai la vérité. One day, I'll tell you the truth.
Tu dirasYou will say, you will tell (familiar, singular)Qu'est-ce que tu diras à ton père?What will you tell your dad?
Il/elle diraHe/she will say, will tellJ'espère qu'elle nous dira ce qui s'est passé.I hope she'll tell us what happened.
Nous dironsWe will say, will tellNous ne dirons jamais la vérité!We'll never say the truth!
Vous direzYou (formal, plural) will say, will tellUn jour, vous nous direz ce qui s'est passé.One day you'll tell us what happened.
Ils/elles dirontThey will say, will tellJe ne pense pas qu'ils diront la vérité. I don't think they'll tell the truth.

Conditional (le conditionnel)

The French use the conditional tense (le conditionnel) to express hypothetical actions that “would” occur. Je dirais translates to “I would say” and “I would tell”.

Je diraisI would say, tellJe dirais la vérité si c'etait le bon moment.I'd tell the truth if it were the right time.
Tu diraisYou would say, tell (familiar, singular)Qu'est-ce que tu dirais si je partais demain.What would you say to me if I left tomorrow.
Il/elle diraitHe would say, tellElle vous dirait la réponse si elle la savait. She'd tell you the answer if she knew it.
Nous dirionsWe would say, tellNous vous dirions les dates mais nous ne sommes pas au courant non plus.We'd tell you the dates but we're don't know either.
Vous diriezYou would say (formal, plural)Qu'est-ce que vous diriez si je vous ai dit que je partais demain?What would you say if I told you I'm leaving tomorrow?
Ils/elles diraientThey would say Ils diraient la vérité mais ce n'est pas possible.They'd tell the truth but it's not possible.

Subjunctive (le subjonctif)

The French use the subjunctive mood (le subjonctif) to express wishes, emotions and doubts. Que je dise translates to “that I say” and “that I tell”.

Que je disethat I say, tellIl faut que je vous dise la vérité.I need to tell you the truth.
Que tu disesthat you say, tell (familiar, singular)Je veux que tu me dises ce qui s'est passé.I want you to tell me what happened.
Qu'il/elle disethat he/she says, tellsJe suis heureux qu'il dise la vérité.I'm happy he's telling the truth.
Que nous disionsthat we say, tellIl faut que nous disions la vérité.We need to say the truth.
Que vous disiezthat you say, tell (formal, plural)J'exige que vous disiez ce qui s'est passé. I demand that you say what happened.
Qu'ils/elles disentthat they say, tellIl faut qu'ils disent quelque chose avant demain.They need to say something before tomorrow.

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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.