In this article, we talk about all things French conjugation! Whether its verb groups, verb endings, auxiliaries or imperatives, you can find it here. Read on for:

  • How to conjugate a verb
  • Verb groups
  • Using auxiliary verbs for French conjugation
  • The imperative
  • Tip for French conjugation

Even the word “conjugation” can sound a little scary, but with this handy guide you’ll be a whizz in no time! If you wish to take the tests DELF, DALF or TCF revising all our french grammar and conjugation worksheets is always a great idea!


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How to conjugate a verb

In French, verbs must be conjugated. This means that you must modify the form of the verb according to the subject of the verb: I; you (singular); he/she/it; we; you (they); or they.

We’ve set out the common verb manger (“to eat”) in the table below as an example:

il, ellemange
ils, ellesmangent

Remember that vous can refer to the second person plural or the polite form for addressing one person. In both cases, you must conjugate the verb according to the vous form.

Regular verbs

Conjugation can be tricky, but luckily there are groups that follow the same pattern.

The first group contains verbs ending in -er such as manger, changer (“to change”), and aimer (“to like/love”). These verbs take the following endings in the present: -e; -es; -e; -ons; -ez; -ent.

The second group contains verbs ending with -ir, such as applaudir (“to applaud”) and choisir (“to choose”). For these verbs, the endings in the present are: -is; -is; -it; -issons; -issez; -issent.

The third group contains verbs ending with -ir, -dre, -aître and -oître, such as venir (“to come”), répondre (“to reply”), connaître (“to know”), and disparaître (“to disappear”). For these verbs, the most common endings in the present are: -s; -s; -t/-d; -ons; -ez; -ent.

Example verb conjugations

Let’s take a look at some verbs in context. In the following tables, we’ve conjugated three common verbs in the simple tenses: the present; the imperfect; the future; the conditional; and the subjunctive.

il, elleaimeaimaitaimeraaimeraitaime
ils, ellesaimentaimaientaimerontaimeraientaiment

French conjugation for finir (“to finish”)

jefinisfinissaisfiniraifinirais finisse
tufinisfinissaisfinirasfinirais finisses
il, ellefinitfinissaitfinirafiniraitfinisse
ils, ellesfinissentfinissaientfinirontfiniraientfinissent

French conjugation for prendre (“to take”)

il, elleprendprenaitprendraprendraitfinisse
ils, ellesprennentprenaientprendrontprendraientfinissent

Conjugating verbs with auxiliaries

Got all that? Let’s move on to something a little trickier.

In certain tenses, verbs are conjugated using one of two auxiliary verbs: avoir (“to have”) or être (“to be”). This means that you must conjugate the auxiliary verb according to the subject before adding the past participle of the verb in question.

In the following tables, we’ve conjugated two common verbs in the following tenses: the passé composé; the plus-que-parfait; the futur antérieur; the past conditional; and the past subjunctive.

French conjugation for marcher (“to walk”)

 Present perfectPast perfectFuture perfectPast conditionalPast subjunctive
jeai marchéavais marchéaurai marchéaurais marchéaie marché
tuas marchéavais marchéauras marchéaurais marchéaies marché
il, ellea marchéavait marchéaura marchéaurait marchéaie marché
nousavons marchéavions marchéaurons marchéaurions marchéayons marché
vousavez marchéaviez marchéaurez marchéauriez marchéayez marché
ils, ellesont marchéavaient marchéauront marchéauraient marchéaient marché

French conjugation for aller (“to go”)

 Present perfectPast perfectFuture perfectPast conditionalPast subjunctive
jesuis alléétais alléserai allé
serais allé
sois allé
tues alléétais allé
seras allé
serais allé
sois allé
il, elleest allé/allée
était allé/allée
sera allé/allée
serait allé/allée
soit allé/allée
noussommes allés
étions allés
serons allés
serions allés
soyons allés
vousêtes allés
étiez allésserez allés
seriez allés
soyez allés
ils, ellessont allés/allées
étaient allés/allées
seront allés/allées
seraient allés/allées
soient allés/allées

French conjugation and the imperative

In the imperative mood, verbs are only conjugated across three persons: the first person singular; the first person plural; and the second person plural. The most common tense is the present, although there is also a past imperative.

The imperative is a special French conjugation: verbs can be used without their subject pronoun and the -er verbs lose their final s in the second person singular.

Check out the imperative conjugation of marcher here:

 Present imperative
tumarche !
il, elle
nousmarchons !
vousmarchez !
ils, elles

Tips for tackling French conjugation

As you might have noticed, French conjugation has many rules and variations, but we have a few tips to help you ease yourself in:

  1. Make a list of the French verbs you use most commonly and sort them by conjugation group
  2. Learn a modal verb pattern for each conjugation
  3. Try reciting the conjugations over and over
  4. Learn être and avoir by heart

Learning French conjugation with GlobalExam

There’s a lot to learn here, so what better way to commit the French conjugation to memory than with exercises designed to do just that? Head to GlobalExam for detailed grammar sheets and exercises to help you progress in French!

Take some time to read more articles about French grammar and conjugation to improve your French level. We have written articles on topics such as French adjectives, pronouns, adverbs, gerund and all you need to know about verbs and tenses.

Here with the list of French grammar worksheets:

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