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Present tense – Irregular verbs – Formation

saint germain, french irregular verbs

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Irregular verbs – Present tense

How do irregular verbs work? How are they conjugated?

Irregular verbs in the present tense have to be memorized one by one. Fortunately, there are only 8 you need to know.

1.AVOIR

2.ÊTRE

3.FAIRE

4.ALLER

5.SAVOIR

6.VALOIR

7.FALLOIR

8.PLEUVOIR

 

.1

AVOIR

pronoun

conjugation

English

j’

ai

I have

tu

as

you have

elle

a

she has

il

a

he/it has

on

a

we have

nous

avons

we have

vous

avez

you have

ils

ont

they have

elles

ont

they have

 In context

I have a big house. -- J’ai une grande maison.

We don’t have any red wine. -- Nous n’avons pas de vin rouge. (On n’a pas de vin rouge. [more colloquial])

.2

ÊTRE

pronoun

conjugation

English

je

suis

I am

tu

es

you are

elle

est

she is

il/c’

est

he/it is

on

est

we are

nous

sommes

we are

vous

êtes

you are

ils

sont

they are

elles

sont

they are

In context

I am tired. -- Je suis fatiguée.

We are at the hotel. -- Nous sommes à l’hôtel. // On est à l’hôtel.

Note: to say your age in French, don’t use TO BE, use TO HAVE instead

I AM 40 years old --> J’AI 40 ans.

.3

FAIRE

FAIRE has a /Z/ sound (only one S). Watch the VOUS form.

pronoun

conjugation

English

je

fais

I make

tu

fais

you make

elle

fait

she makes

il

fait

he/it makes

on

fait

we make

nous

faisons

we make

vous

faites

you make

ils

font

they make

elles

font

they make

In contextI am making a cake. Je fais un gâteau.

We do the dishes. Nous faisons la vaisselle. (On fait la vaisselle.)

Note:the nous form is spelled nous faisons, but is pronounced nous f[e]sons

.4

ALLER

pronoun

conjugation

je

vais

tu

vas

elle

va

il/ça

va

on

va

nous

allons

vous

allez

ils

vont

elles

vont

In context

I go to France this summer. -- Je vais en France cet été.

We’re going to Brittany on a bicycle tour. -- Nous allons en Bretagne pour faire du vélo. (On va en Bretagne pour faire du vélo.)

.5

SAVOIR

pronoun

conjugation

English

je

sais

I know

tu

sais

you know

elle

sait

she knows

il

sait

he/it knows

on

sait

we know

nous

savons

we know

vous

savez

you know

ils

savent

they know

elles

savent

they know

 In context

I know how to speak French. -- Je sais parler français.

We know. -- Nous savons. (On sait.)

Note:       Savoir means to know how to do something, to know a fact, to know by heart. It is often mixed up with Connaître, because both Savoir and Connaître mean to know. Connaître means to know someone, to be familiar with someone or something.

.6

VALOIR

pronoun

conjugation

English

je

vaux

I am worth

tu

vaux

you are worth

elle

vaut

she is worths

il

vaut

he/it is worths

on

vaut

we are worth

nous

valons

we are worth

vous

valez

you are worth

ils

valent

they are worth

elles

valent

they are worth

In context

It’s not worth much anymore. -- Il ne vaut plus grand chose.

.7

FALLOIR

FALLOIR is a very funny verb. It is used only in the third person singular – il/ça – an impersonal form.

pronoun

conjugation

English

il

faut

it is necessary

In context

It is necessary to go soon. [We have to go soon.] -- Il faut y aller bientôt.

.8

PLEUVOIR

PLEUVOIR is a very funny verb. It is used only in the third person singular – il/ça – an impersonal form. Weather verbs generally follow the same pattern.

pronoun

conjugation

English

il

pleut

it rains / it is raining

In context

It rains in France. -- Il pleut en France.

Other rules for the present tense in French

Full French conjugations

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