How To Conjugate French Regular Verbs in the Present Tense

– French verbs for beginners – Regular Verb Conjugations

In French there are groups of categories of verbs. There are three main groups of what are called “regular verbs”. What makes these verbs regular is that all verb endings for each main group follow the same cookie-cutter pattern. The three main groups of regular verbs in French are: regular -er verbs, regular -ir verbs and regular -re verbs. On this page we’ll look at the three groups of French regular verbs in the present tense.

Regular -er verbs

The verb “parler means to speak. In the infinitive form (the “to” form, as in “to speak”), it ends in -er. All verbs which end in -er in the infinitive form and have the same patterns in their endings are thus called regular -er verbs.

Let’s look at how to conjugate parler.

je parle
tu parles
il, elle, on parle
nous parlons
vous parlez
ils, elles parlent

The parl- part of the verb is called the verb stem or root. The verb endings are the letters that are attached to the stem. For a regular -er verb, the stem includes all of the letters leading up to the -er. The endings are -e, -es, -e, -ons, -ez and -ent.

Thus, for all regular -er verbs, the pattern of the endings is the exact same as parler.

Let’s look at another example of a regular -er verb. Regarder means to watch or look at. Regarder is the infinitive or “to” form. It’s stem is “regard”. So, to conjugate regarder we just attach the same endings as parler.

je regarde
tu regardes
il, elle regarde
nous regardons
vous regardez
ils, elles regardent

The table below shows several common regular -er verbs in the present tense: aimer (to like, love), chanter (to sing), danser (to dance), jouer (to play), écouter (to sing), étudier (to study), travailler (to work), dîner (to have dinner), habiter (to live).

aimer
j'aime
tu aimes
il, elle, on aime
nous aimons
vous aimez
ils, elles aiment
chanter
je chante
tu chantes
il, elle, on chante
nous chantons
vous chantez
ils, elles chantent
danser
je danse
tu danses
il, elle, on danse
nous dansons
vous dansez
ils, elles dansent
jouer
je joue
tu joues
il, elle, on joue
nous jouons
vous jouez
ils, elles jouent
écouter
j'écoute
tu écoutes
il, elle, on écoute
nous écoutons
vous écoutez
ils, elles écoutent
étudier
j'étudie
tu étudies
il, elle, on étudie
nous étudions
vous étudiez
ils, elles étudient
travailler
je travaille
tu travailles
il, elle, on travaille
nous travaillons
vous travaillez
ils, elles travaillent
dîner
je dîne
tu dînes
il, elle, on dîne
nous dînons
vous dînez
ils, elles dînent
habiter
j'habite
tu habites
il, elle, on habite
nous habitons
vous habitez
ils, elles habitent

Off all the groups of regular verbs, regular -er verbs are the most common. Here are several regular -re verbs which you will most certainly need to know for everyday conversations:

  • accepter to accept
  • accompagner to accompany, go with
  • aider to help
  • arrêter to stop
  • arriver to arrive
  • changer to change
  • chercher to look for
  • commmencer to start
  • déjeuner to have lunch
  • demander to ask
  • fermer to close
  • laisser to leave, let
  • oublier to forget
  • passer to pass, spend time
  • penser to think
  • préparer to prepare
  • pleurer to cry
  • porter to carry
  • rencontrer to meet
  • rentrer to come back
  • trouver to find
  • travailler to work

Here’ a link to a page with exercises covering regular -er verbs in the present tense.

Regular -ir verbs

The next group of regular verbs is regular -ir verbs. In this category, all infinitives start with an -ir and the endings are as follows: -is, -is, -it, -issons, -issez-, -ssent. For an example, we’ll look at the verb finir, which means to finish.

je finis
tu finis
il, elle, on finit
nous finissons
vous finissez
ils, elles finissent

Regular -ir verbs can be a bit tricker to learn than regular -er verbs because of all of the letters. One trick is to focus on the sounds.

Here’s what I mean. For the verb finir, the stem is “fin”. Simply, isolate the sound of the stem in your mind (fin), then add the endings focusing on their sounds. Here’s what I mean:

je fin + ee (is)
tu fin + ee (is)
il, elle, on fin + ee (it)
nous fin + eesons (issons)
vous fin + eesay (issez)
ils, elles fin + eese (issent)

If you get confused on the the “eese” sounds for the ils, elles form just think of lots of “geese” flying in the sky!

The following table includes some common regular -ir verbs conjugated in the present tense: choisir (to choose), grossir (to gain weight), maigrir (to lose weight), réussir (to succeed), obéir (to obey), grandir (to grow up).

choisir
je choisis
tu choisis
il, elle, on choisit
nous choisissons
vous choisissez
ils choisissent
grossir
je grossis
tu grossis
il, elle, on grossit
nous grossissons
vous grossissez
ils grossissent
maigrir
je maigris
tu maigris
il, elle, on maigrit
nous maigrissons
vous maigrissez
ils maigrissent
réussir
je réussis
tu réussis
il, elle, on réussit
nous réussissons
vous réussissez
ils réussissent
obéir
j'obéis
tu obéis
il, elle, on obéit
nous obéissons
vous obéissez
ils obéissent
grandir
je grandis
tu grandis
il, elle, on grandit
nous grandissons
vous grandissez
ils grandissent

Here’s a link to a page with exercises covering regular -ir verbs in the present tense.

Regular -re verbs

The third group of regular verbs is regular -re verbs. These verbs are not difficult to learn but can cause pronunciation issues. Let’s looks the verb vendre (to sell) as an example. The infinitive form ends in an -re. What it regular is its endings are -s, -s, -, -ons, -ez and -ent. All infinitives that end in -re and have these endings are regular -re verbs. Here’s vendre conjugated in the present tense.

je vends
tu vends
il, elle, on vend
nous vendons
vous vendez
ils, elles vendent

The most important thing here is to get the pronunciation correct. On the je, tu and il/elle forms do not say the -d. Cut it short on the nasal “en” (pronunciation symbole ɑ̃) sound. On the ils, elles forms be sure to pronounce the -d very clearly. That way your listener can her that you’re saying they sell (ils vendent) and not he/she sells (il/elle vend). Thus, the pronunciation would look like this:

je v + en (ɑ̃)
tu v + en (ɑ̃)
il, elle, on v + en (ɑ̃)
nous v + en + d + on (ɔ̃)
vous v + en + day
ils, elles v + en (ɑ̃) + d

The following table contains several common regular -re verbs conjugated in the present tense: attendre (to wait), entendre (to hear), perdre (to lose), rendre (to return), descendre (to go down), répondre (to answer, reply).

attendre
j'attends
tu attends
il, elle, on attend
nous attendons
vous attendez
ils attendent
entendre
j'entends
tu entends
il, elle, on entend
nous entendons
vous entendez
ils entendent
perdre
je perds
tu perds
il, elle, on perd
nous perdons
vous perdez
ils perdent
rendre
je rends
tu rends
il, elle, on rend
nous rendons
vous rendez
ils rendent
descendre
je descends
tu descends
il, elle, on descend
nous descendons
vous descendez
ils descendent
répondre
je réponds
tu réponds
il, elle, on répond
nous répondons
vous répondez
ils répondent

Here’s a link to a page with exercises covering regular -re verbs in the present tense.

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