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Être (to be) Conjugation – Verb Tables

Être (to be) Conjugation – Verb Tables

Être (to be) – Present tense
Je suis I am
Tu es You are (singular, familiar)
Il, elle est He, she is
Nous sommes we are
Vous êtes (plural, formal)
Ils, elles sont They are

Être (to be) verb tables

Être (to be) conjugation in a nutshell

Être is an irregular verb. This means that when conjugated in the present tense, its endings are different from regular verbs in the -re group. Être is used as an auxiliary verb in the passé composé for many intransitive and reflexive verbs.

Être conjugation table

Être (to be) Conjugation – Verb Tables

Present tense (present indicative)

The following table shows the verb être conjugated in the present tense (le présent de l’indicatif).

Je suisI amJe suis en vacances. I am on vacation.
Tu es You are (familiar)Tu es français. You are French.
Il, elle, on estHe, she, one isElle est en retard.She is late.
Nous sommesWe areNous sommes à Paris.We are in Paris.
Vous êtes You are (formal, plural)Vous êtes en ville. You are downtown.
Ils sont, elles sontThey areIls sont au cinémaThey are are the movies.

Compound past (passé composé)

The passé composé is a past tense that’s used to describe past actions which occurred at a specific moment in time.

J'ai étéI wasj'ai été au supermarché hier après-midi.I was at the supermarket yesterday afternoon.
Tu as étéYou were (familiar)Tu as été au café hier matin.You were at the café yesterday morning.
Il, elle, on étéHe, she, one wasElle a été chez elle hier soir. She was at home last night.
Nous avons été We wereNous avons été au parc avec les enfants.We were at the park with the kids.
Vous avez étéYou were (formal, plural)Vous avez été au restaurant avec vous amis.You were at the restaurant with your friends.
Ils, elles étéThey wereIls ont été chez nous ce midi. The were at our house at noon.

Simple past (passé simple)

The passé simple is a literary past tense that equates grammatically to the passé composé.

Je fusI wasJe fus à Paris la semaine dernière.I was in Paris last week.
Tu fusYou were (familiar)Tu fus très gentil avec les invités. You were very kind with the guests.
Il, elle, on futHe, she, one wasIl fut un grand artiste. He was a great artist.
Nous fûmesWe wereNous fûmes a l'hopital hier matin.We were at the hospital yesterday morning.
Vous fûtesYou were (formal, plural)Vous fûtes un homme honorable.You were an honorable man.
Ils, elles furentThey wereIls furent contre notre pays.They were against our country.

Imperfect indicative (imparfait)

The imperfect indicative (imparfait) tense is to describe past events who do not have a precise start and stop time.

J'étaisI was, used to beQuand j'étais un enfant, faisais du chaque week-end.When I was a child, I used to ski every weekend.
Tu étaisYou were, used to be (familiar)Tu étais tres mignon quand tu étais un enfant. You were very cute when you were a child.
Il, elle, on étaitHe, she, one was, used to beElle était une étudiante à Paris aux années 80.She was a student in France in the 1980s.
Nous étionsWe were, used to beNous étions très heureux ensemble. We were very happy together.
Vous étiezYou were, used to be (plural, formal)Vous étiez très fatigué après le voyage.You were very tired after the trip.
Ils, elles étaientThey were, used to beIls n'étaient pas en retard.They were not late.

Pluperfect (plus-que-parfait)

The French pluperfect (plus-que-parfait) is a tense that’s used to express anteriority (one event occurring before another).

J'avais étéI had beenJ'avais été en retard. I had been late.
Tu avais étéYou had been (familiar)Tu avais été au cinéma avec tes amis.You had been at the movies with your friends.
Il, elle, on avait étéHe, she, one had beenIl avait été fatigué le jour de l'examen.He had been tired on the day of the exam.
Nous avions étéWe had beenNous avions été à l'heure pour la fête.We had been on time for the party.
Vous aviez étéYou had been (formal, plural)Vous aviez été trop injuste avec les enfants. You were too unfair with the kids.
Ils, elles avaient étéThey had beenIls avaient été très généreux avec les invités.The had been very generous with the guests.

Near future (futur proche)

The near future tense (futur proche) is used to describe future events which suggest a high level of certainty.

Je vais êtreI'm going to beJe vais être très riche un jour. I'm going to be very rich some day.
Tu vas êtreYou're going to be (familiar)Tu vas être en retard.You are doing to be late.
Il, elle, on va êtreHe, she, one will beElle va être très belle.She is going to be very beautiful.
Nous allons êtreWe will beNous allons être des parents. We are going to be parents.
Vous allez êtreYou will be (formal, plural)Vous allez être fatigué après le voyage.You are going to be tired after the trip.
Ils, elles vont êtreThey will be Ils vont être contents dans la nouvelle maison.They will be happy in the new house.

Simple future (futur simple)

The futur simple, also simply called the “French future tense”, is used to describe future events. The events this tense describes are usually a bit less certain that those of the previous near future tense.

Je seraiI will beJe serai ravi de vous rencontrer.I will be delighted to meet you.
Tu serasYou will be (informal)J'espère que tu seras heureux.I hope you will be happy.
Il, elle, on seraHe, she, one will beNous pensons qu'elle sera en retard.We think she'll be late.
Nous seronsWe will beNous serons disponibles la semaine prochaine.We will be available next week.
Vous servezYou will be (formal, plural)Il croit que vous serez un peu déçu.He thinks you will be a bit disappointed.
Ils, elles serontThey will beJe ne sais pas s'ils seront ici demain.I do not know if they will be here tomorrow.

Past future (futur antérieur)

The past future tense (futur antérieur) is used to describe events that will have occurred in the future.

J'aurai étéI will have been
Tu auras été You will have been (familiar)
Il, elle, on aura étéHe, she, one will have been
Nous aurons étéWe will have been
Vous aurez étéYou will have been (formal, plural)
Ils, elles auront étéThey will have been

Conditional mood (présent du conditionnel)

The French conditional tense is used to describe hypothetical situations. This the “would” tense.

Je seraisI would beJe serais plus à l'aise si j'avais plus de temps.I'd be more at ease if I had more time.
Tu seraisYou would be (familair)Est-ce que tu serais prêt a commencer demain?Would you be ready to start tomorrow?
Il, elle seraitHe, she would beIls serait plus ambitieux s'il avait un objectif.He would be more ambitious if he had a goal.
Nous serionsWe would beNous serions très heureux de faire un voyage.We would be very happy to go on a trip.
Vous seriezYou would be (formal, plural)Vous seriez plus motivé si vous faisiez plus d'effort. You would be more motivated if you tried harder.
Ils, elles seraientThey would beIls seraient déçu s'ils n'achetaient les billets.They would be disappointed if they didn't buy the tickets.

Present subjunctive (subjonctif)

The French subjunctive mood (le subjonctif) is used to express wishes, emotions and doubts.

que je sois
that I beJe veux que tu sois patient.I want you to be patient.
que tu sois
that you be (familiar)Il faut que tu sois gentil.You have to be nice.
qu'il, elle, on soitthat he, she, one beJe doute qu'il soit prudent. I doubt he's being careful.
que nous soyonsthat we be Il veut que nous soyons sages.He wants us to behave.
que vous soyezthat you be (formal, plural)Elle souhaite que vous là avant là départ.She wants you to be there before the departure.
qu'ils, elles soientthat they beJe ne pense pas qu'ils soitent d'accord.I don't think they agree.

Imperative (impératif)

The imperative mood (impératif) is used to express both positive and negative commands.

Positive commands

Sois! Be! (tu form, familiar)Sois patient!Be patient!
Soyons! Let's be!Soyons à l'heure! Let's be on time!
Soyez!Be! (vous form, formal, plural)Soyez gentils! Be nice!

Negative commands

Ne sois pas!Don't be! ne sois pas si bête!Don't be so silly!
Ne soyons pas! Let's not be!Ne soyons pas pressés!Let's not be in a rush!
Ne soyez pas!Don't beNe soyez pas tristes!Don't be sad!


The French gerund is a combination of the preposition “en” and the present participle. The present participle of être is “étant“.

The gerund of être is “en étant”, which translates to “while being”.

  • J’ai trouvé mon premier boulet en étant un étudiant en Asie.
    I found my first job while being a student in Asia.

Auxiliary verb in passé composé for intransitive and reflexive verbs

The verb être is used as an auxiliary verb to for the passé composé for many intransitive verbs and reflexive verbs.

Aller = to goSe laver = to wash oneself
Je suis allé(e)I wentJe me suis lavé(e)I washed myself
Tu es allé(e)You went (familar)Tu t'es lavé(e)You washed yourself (familiar)
Il, elle, on est allé(e)He, she, one wentIl, elle, on s'est lavé(e)He, she, one washed him, her, oneself
Nous sommes allé(e)sWe wentNous nous sommes lavé(e)sWe washed ourselves
Vous êtes allé(e)(s)You went (formal, plural)Vous vous êtes lavé(e)(s)You washed yourself(ves) (formal, plural)
Ils, elles sont sont allé(e)sThey wentIls, elles se sont lavé(e)sThey washed themselves.

Example sentences using être

Helpful video lesson

Following all of explanations and example sentences on this page, you may find online French teacher Dylane’s video lesson covering être to be very useful.

Video source: @TheperfectfrenchwithDylane

Where to go next

In addition to mastering the basic conjugations, it’s of vital importance to know know how to pronounce the various forms of être and how to use them in “real” modern conversation.

This is were Camille at French Today comes in. In her lesson covering être, Camille explains the pronunciation “être” in great detail, offering 450 audio samples in all the main tenses.

Discover more:

More resources:

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language learner and speaks over seven 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 lessons. When not teaching or writing his French Word of the Day lessons, David enjoys his time skiing, hiking and mountain biking in Victor, Idaho.

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