Ouvrir and Similar Verbs

April 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

ouvrir – to open
couvrir – to cover
découvrir – to discover
souffrir – to suffer
offrir – to offer

These verbs all are IR verbs that follow the ER verb pattern when conjugated in the present tense. In other tenses, these verbs are irregular, but all follow the same pattern.

j’ouvre nous ouvrons
tu ouvres vous ouvrez
il ouvre ils ouvrent


je couvre nous couvrons
tu couvres vous couvrez
il couvre ils couvrent


j’offre nous offrons
tu offres vous offrez
il offre ils offrent



April 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

mettre – to put, to put on

je mets nous mettons
tu mets vous mettez
il met ils mettent

Je mets mon sac à dos sur la table.  I’m putting my backpack on the table.
Georges met le lait dans le frigo. Georges is putting the milk in the fridge.
Nous mettons nos anoraks parce qu’il fait froid. We are putting on our parkas because it’s cold.
Tu dois mettre tes chaussures si tu veux aller dehors. You have to put on your shoes if you want to go outside.

verbs like mettre

promettre – to promise
permettre – to permit, to allow
soumettre – to submit
remettre -to put back
se mettre à – to start to (do something)
omettre – to omit
commettre – to commit

Irregular IR Verbs

March 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

sortir- to go out
partir – to leave
dormir – to sleep
s’endormir – to fall asleep
servir – to serve
mentir – to lie
se sentir – to feel
sentir – to smell

Sortir – to go out, or to get something out

je sors nous sortons
tu sors vous sortez
il sort ils sortent

 We are going out at 9 a.m. – Nous sortons à 9h.
I’m going out with Sophie and George – Je sors avec Sophie et George.
She’s getting her suitcase from the overhead compartment – Elle sort sa valise du compartiment.

Partir – to leave

je pars nous partons
tu pars vous partez
il part ils partent

They are leaving today. Ils partent aujourd’hui.
3,2,1, Go! Trois, deux, un, Partez!

Servir – to serve

je sers nous servons
tu sers vous servez
il sert ils servent

The waiter is serving the meal. Le serveur sert le repas.

Dormir – to sleep

je dors nous dormons
tu dors vous dormez
il dort ils dorment


Yer Verbs

March 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

These verbs are regular ‘er’ verbs, except that for the je, tu, il, and ils forms in present tense, one changes the ‘y’ to an ‘i’.

payer – to pay (for)
envoyer – to send
nettoyer – to clean
essayer (de) – to try (to)
essuyer – to wipe
balayer – to sweep
renvoyer – to send back, to fire
appuyer – to push
employer – to use, to employ
ennuyer – to annoy, to bore
aboyer – to bark
se noyer – to drown

To conjugate these verbs;
a. drop the er
b. add the ending to match the subject
c. for the je, tu, il, and ils forms, change the ‘y’ to ‘i’


je paie nous payons
tu paies vous payez
Il paie ils paient



j’essuie nous essuyons
tu essuies vous essuyez
il essuie ils essuient

Je paie à la caisse. I’m paying at the cashier
Sophie essuie le comptoir – Sophie’s wiping the counter
Nous nettoyons notre chambre – We’re cleaning our room


March 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Acheter is a regular ER verb except for the addition of accents for the je, tu, il, and ils forms. The addition of the accent is to emphasize the accented syllable as the last syllable. There are other verbs that follow the same pattern with accents or double consonants at the last syllable.

Acheter – to buy

j’achète nous achetons
tu achètes vous achetez
il achète ils achètent

Verbs like acheter
to complete – achever
to bring up, to raise – élever
to remove, to take off – enlever
to freeze – geler
to raise, to lift – lever
to weigh – peser

to throw – jeter

je jette nous jetons
tu jettes vous jetez
il jette ils jettent

verbs like jeter
rejeter – to reject
projeter – to plan, to project

appeler – to call

j’appelle nous appelons
tu appelles vous appelez
il appelle ils appellent

verbs like appeler
épeler – to spell
rappeler – to recall, to remind
se rappeler – to remember

mener – to lead

je mène nous menons
tu mènes vous menez
il mène ils mènent

verbs like mener
amener – to bring (a person)
emmener – to take (a person)
se promener – to walk

préférer – to prefer
espérer – to hope
follow the same rule where the accent over the second syllable changes direction in the je, tu, il, and ils forms – again to place emphasis on the second syllable as the last pronounced syllable.

verbs like préférer

célébrer – to celebrate
considérer – to consider
se sécher – to dry oneself
répéter – to repeat
suggérer – to suggest
protéger – to protect
céder – to yield
compléter – to complete
exagérer – to exaggerate
interpréter – to interpret
posséder – to possess
révéler – to reveal

je préfère nous préférons
tu préfères vous préférez
il préfère ils préfèrent
j’espère nous espérons
tu espères vous espérez
il espère ils espèrent

Prendre Verbs

March 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

prendre – to take
comprendre – to understand
surprendre – to surprise
apprendre (à) – to learn (to)

Prendre is an irregular verb. The other verbs in this category follow the same pattern as prendre.

je prends nous prenons
tu prends vous prenez
il prend ils prennent

1. Prendre literally means ‘to take’. You can ‘prendre’ a train or a bus, you can ‘prendre’ a bath or a shower, and in many cases it translates directly
a. One doesn’t prendre people, one uses mener, amener, or emmener when discussing transporting people.

2. the verb prendre has a number of additional meanings.

a. Used with food of beverages, prendre means ‘to eat’ or ‘to drink’.
Au restaurant Marie prend toujours du poulet.
Au café, mes amis prennent toujours du thé.

b. Prendre le petit déjeuner means “to eat breakfast”. BUT one does not use prendre with other meals in French.
to eat lunch – déjeuner
to eat dinner – dîner
Je prends mon petit déjeuner à la maison, mais je déjeune toujours à un restaurant.

c. Prendre les billets means “to buy tickets”
Je prends mon billet au guichet.

d. Other prendre idioms are :
prendre un billet – to buy a ticket
prendre un chemin -to take a road
prendre une decision – to make a decision
prendre un parti – to make a decision
prendre son temps – to take one’s time
prendre au sérieux – to take seriously
prendre rendez-vous avec – to arrange a meeting with
s’y prenre – to go about something
prendre un bain / une douche – to take a bath / shower

Apprendre – to learn
J’apprends le français. I am learning French.
when you’re learning TO do something, you apprend à infinitive.
j’apprends à nager. I’m learning to swim.
Nous apprenons à faire de la planche à voile. We’re learning to windsurf
Fred et Georges apprennent à jouer du piano. Fred and George are learning to play the piano.

* Last little thing* Quelle surprise! = what a surprise! Good expression to know.

Savoir and Connaître

February 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

Both ‘savoir’ and ‘connaître’ mean ‘to know’.

Savoir means to know information. One can savoir how to ride a bicycle or savoir the information that is going to be on a test. One can savoir where is the post office. It’s all about information with this verb.

Connaître means to know a person or to be acquainted with. One can connaître a restaurant or a place, which would mean that one is familiar with the restaurant or place. One can connaître a book, which would mean that one is familiar with the book. One always connaîtres people – it expresses a familiarity.

Savoir – to know information

je sais nous savons
tu sais vous savez
il sait ils savent

  Connaître – to be acquainted with

je connais nous connaissons
tu connais vous connaissez
il connaît ils connaissent

Je sais jouer du piano – I know how to play the piano

Elle sait la réponse – She knows the answer

Tu connais mon frère? – You know my brother?

Je connais bien ce café – I know this café well

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