Servir (To Serve in French) Meaning, Usage, Example Sentences

servirThe verb servir means to serve in French but has multiple meanings. In the pronominal form, se servir de means to make use of. On this page we’ll look at all the main usages with lots of example sentences. Below we’ll take a quick look at the verb in the present tense.

present tense conjugation

  • je sers – I serve
  • tu sers – you serve
  • il, elle sert – he, she serves
  • nous servons – we serve
  • vous servez – you serve
  • ils, elles servent – they serve

servir quelque chose/quelqu’un or servir quelque chose à quelqu’un

This usage simply means to serve, just like to serve is used in English: To serve something, somebody or to serve somebody something.

  • Le serveur sert le repas. The waiter serves the meal.
  • La serveuse sert la soupe à la cliente. The waitress serves the customer the soup.
  • Maman sert un beau gateau ce soir. Mom is serving a nice cake tonight.

se servir + noun

As a pronominal verb, se servir means to serve or help oneself.

  • J’avoue que je me sers un peu de glace pendant la nuit.
    I admit that I help myself to some ice cream during the night.

servir les gens/les autres

This translates to helping people or others.

Suggested Audio Course For All Levels

We have known Camille from Frenchtoday.com for a long time and strongly suggest her audio courses for all levels. She does a great job teaching the "trouble" areas such as pronunciation and verb conjugations. Click here to learn more!

  • Je suis toujours prêt a servir les autres. I’m always ready to help others.

Servir à faire quelque chose or à quelqu’un

This usage is much different from English. It means to be used for or by.

par example:

  • Cette scie sert à couper le bois. This saw is used to cut wood.
  • Cette scie sert au bûcheron aussi. This saw is also used by the lumberjack.

servir à quelque chose de

This usage translates roughly to “to be used for”.

  • A quoi sert-il ce club de golf? What is this golf club used for?
  • Ca ne sert à rien de se plaindre. It’s pointless to complain.

There is also the expression: Ça ne sert à rien on its own, which means there’s no point or it’s pointless.

se servir de + noun

As a pronominal verb, se servir de + noun means to make use of or utilize.

  • Est-ce que tu te sers de cet outil? Are you using this tool?
  • Comment est-ce que tu te sers de cet outil? How do you use this tool?
More resources:
Related lessons:

Sign Up For A FREE Trial French Lesson On Skype And Get Instant Access To My French Pronunciation Crash Course.

Get the French Pronunciation Crash Course!