<<

. 2
( 19)



>>

je bats, tu bats, il/elle/on bat, nous battons, vous battez, ils/elles battent
mettre
je mets, tu mets, il/elle/on met, nous mettons, vous mettez, ils/elles
mettent

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A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



34 “re verbs Subgroup 4
Croire = to believe subgroup: this subgroup involves the addition of a “t for the third
person singular, and “i“ becomes “y“ in the ¬rst and second persons plural.
Example of Subgroup 4
croire
je crois, tu crois, il/elle/on croit, nous croyons, vous croyez, ils croient

35 “re verbs Subgroup 5
Lire = to read and conduire = to drive subgroup: this subgroup involves the addition of
a “t for the third person singular and of an “s“ to the stem in all three persons of the
plural.
Examples of Subgroup 5
lire
je lis, tu lis, il/elle/on lit, nous lisons, vous lisez, ils/elles lisent
conduire
je conduis, tu conduis, il/elle/on conduit, nous conduisons, vous
conduisez, il/elles conduisent

36 “re verbs Subgroup 6
´
Ecrire = to write subgroup: this subgroup involves the addition of a “t for the third person
singular and of a “v“ to the stem in all three persons of the plural.
Example of Subgroup 6
´
ecrire
´ ´ ´ ´
j™´ cris, tu ecris, il/elle/on ecrit, nous ecrivons, vous ecrivez, ils/elles
e
´
ecrivent

37 “re verbs Subgroup 7
This subgroup contains a series of common verbs which are very irregular in formation,
and each of which has a distinctive conjugation for the present tense.
Examples of Subgroup 7
boire = to drink
je bois, tu bois, il/elle/on boit, nous buvons, vous buvez, ils/elles boivent
craindre = to fear
je crains, tu crains, il/elle/on craint, nous craignons, vous craignez,
ils/elles craignent
dire = to say
je dis, tu dis, il/elle/on dit, nous disons, vous dites, ils/elles disent
faire = to do

14
42 “oir verbs Subgroup 3



je fais, tu fais, il/elle/on fait, nous faisons, vous faites, ils/elles font
prendre = to take
je prends, tu prends, il/elle/on prend, nous prenons, vous prenez, ils/elles
prennent
vivre = to live
je vis, tu vis, il/elle/on vit, nous vivons, vous vivez, ils/elles vivent
and the supreme irregular “re verb
etre = to be
ˆ
ˆ
je suis, tu es, il/elle/on est, nous sommes, vous etes, ils/elles sont

38 Group 4 “oir Verbs
39 Present tense of Group 4 “oir verbs
Even more so than with Group 3 “re verbs, stem alterations and the existence of small
subgroups are extremely common in this group.
Normally the ¬rst and second persons plural forms re¬‚ect the in¬nitive; the other
forms are more distant from the original stem.

40 “oir verbs Subgroup 1
“cevoir subgroup: a number of stem alterations occur and “c“ becomes “c“ before “o“
¸
(compare 20, 44, 75).
Example of Subgroup 1
recevoir = to receive
je recois, tu recois, il/elle/on recoit, nous recevons, vous recevez, ils/elles
¸ ¸ ¸
recoivent
¸

41 “oir verbs Subgroup 2
Voir = to see and its derivatives subgroup: “i“ becomes “y“ in ¬rst and second persons
plural. For other verbs in “voir see Subgroups 1 and 3.
Example of Subgroup 2
voir
je vois, tu vois, il/elle/on voit, nous voyons, vous voyez, ils/elles voient

42 “oir verbs Subgroup 3
As with Subgroup 7 of “re verbs, this subgroup contains a series of verbs that are very
irregular in formation, and each of which has a distinctive conjugation for the present
tense. The majority are very common.
Examples of Subgroup 3
asseoir = to sit “ this verb (normally pronominal) has two conjugations for the present
tense, the ¬rst of which is the more commonly used “

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A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



1 je m™assieds, tu t™assieds, il/elle/on s™assied, nous nous asseyons, vous
vous asseyez, ils/elles s™asseyent
2 je m™assois, tu t™assois, il/elle/on s™assoit, nous nous assoyons, vous
vous assoyez, ils/elles s™assoient

avoir = to have
j™ai, tu as, il/elle/on a, nous avons, vous avez, ils/elles ont
devoir = to have to
je dois, tu dois, il/elle/on doit, nous devons, vous devez, ils/elles
doivent
falloir = to be necessary “ an impersonal verb used only in the third person singular “
il faut
pleuvoir = to rain “ an impersonal verb used only in the third person singular “
il pleut
pouvoir = to be able to
je peux (puis-je is used in the interrogative “ see 161), tu peux, il/elle/on peut,
nous pouvons, vous pouvez, ils/elles peuvent
savoir = to know
je sais, tu sais, il/elle/on sait, nous savons, vous savez, ils/elles savent
valoir = to be worth
je vaux, tu vaux, il/elle/on vaut, nous valons, vous valez, ils/elles
valent
vouloir = to want
je veux, tu veux, il/elle/on veut, nous voulons, vous voulez, ils/elles
veulent



Imperfect tense

43 Using and forming the imperfect tense
Usage
As will be explained in 129, the imperfect tense has a number of functions “ mainly to
indicate the passage of time or the repetition of an action or event in the past.
ˆ
In all cases, except etre, the imperfect tense is formed by taking the ¬rst person
plural form of the verb, and replacing the “ons ending by the appropriate imperfect
ending.

Endings
The endings for all verbs without exception are

16
44 Examples of the imperfect tense Groups 1“4



singular plural
“ais “ions
“ais “iez
“ait “aient


44 Examples of the imperfect tense Groups 1“4
Group 1
porter
je portais, tu portais, il/elle/on portait, nous portions, vous portiez,
ils/elles portaient
commencer
je commencais, tu commencais, il/elle/on commencait, nous
¸ ¸ ¸
commencions, vous commenciez, ils/elles commencaient
¸
manger
je mangeais, tu mangeais, il/elle/on mangeait, nous mangions, vous
mangiez, ils/elles mangeaient
aller
j™allais, tu allais, il/elle/on allait, nous allions, vous alliez, ils/elles
allaient

Group 2
¬nir
je ¬nissais, tu ¬nissais, il/elle/on ¬nissait, nous ¬nissions, vous ¬nissiez,
ils/elles ¬nissaient
partir
je partais, tu partais, il/elle/on partait, nous partions, vous partiez,
ils/elles partaient

Group 3
vendre
je vendais, tu vendais, il/elle/on vendait, nous vendions, vous vendiez,
ils/elles vendaient
ˆ
etre
´ ´ ´ ´ ´
j™´ tais, tu etais, il/elle/on etait, nous etions, vous etiez, ils/elles etaient
e

Group 4
recevoir
je recevais, tu recevais, il/elle/on recevait, nous recevions, vous receviez,
ils/elles recevaient

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A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



voir
je voyais, tu voyais, il/elle/on voyait, nous voyions, vous voyiez, ils/elles
voyaient
pouvoir
je pouvais, tu pouvais, il/elle/on pouvait, nous pouvions, vous pouviez,
ils/elles pouvaient
avoir
j™avais, tu avais, il/elle/on avait, nous avions, vous aviez, ils/elles
avaient



Future and conditional tenses

45 Using the future and conditional tenses
Because these two tenses are formed in a very similar way, it is convenient to treat them
together.

Usage
As will be explained in 135, 138, the future tense refers to events that have yet to take
place, the conditional to ˜the future in the past™ and to express doubt or probability.

46 Endings of future and conditional tenses
In the majority of cases, forming the future and conditional tenses is a relatively simple
matter.
For all Group 1 “er verbs (except aller and envoyer “ see 49), the following end-
ings are added to the stem. However, the stem undergoes variation in a few cases “
see 48.
Future tense Conditional tense
singular plural singular plural
“erai “erons “erais “erions
“eras “erez “erais “eriez
“era “eront “erait “eraient
For all Group 2 “ir verbs (except cueillir “ see 51), the following endings are added to
the stem “
Future tense Conditional tense
singular plural singular plural
“irai “irons “irais “irions
“iras “irez “irais “iriez
“ira “iront “irait “iraient
For Group 3 “re verbs, the following endings are added to the stem. All the subgroups
ˆ
form their future and conditional tenses in the same way, with the exception of etre and
faire “ see 54.

18
48 Stem changes of Group 1 “er verbs



Future tense Conditional tense
singular plural singular plural
“rai “rons “rais “rions
“ras “rez “rais “riez
“ra “ront “rait “raient

For Group 4 “oir verbs, the situation is, inevitably, more complex. The endings are the
same as for Group 3 “re verbs, but it is the stem that needs to be noted.



47 Examples of future and conditional tenses
of Group 1 “er verbs
Future tense Conditional tense
singular plural singular plural
je porterai nous porterons je porterais nous porterions
tu porteras vous porterez tu porterais vous porteriez
il/elle/on ils/elles il/elle/on ils/elles
portera porteront porterait porteraient



48 Stem changes of Group 1 “er verbs
Subgroup 1
Verbs ending in “eler and “eter
1 some double the ¬nal consonant of the stem in all persons of the singular and the
plural;
`
2 others change the unstressed e of the stem to e.
Examples
appeler
future
j™appellerai, tu appelleras, il/elle/on appellera, nous appellerons, vous
appellerez, ils/elles appelleront
conditional
j™appellerais, tu appellerais, il/elle/on appellerait, nous appellerions,
vous appelleriez, ils/elles appelleraient
jeter
future
je jetterai, tu jetteras, il/elle/on jettera, nous jetterons, vous jetterez,
ils/elles jetteront
conditional
je jetterais, tu jetterais, il/elle/on jetterait, nous jetterions, vous jetteriez,
ils/elles jetteraient

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A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



acheter
future
j™ach` terai, tu ach` teras, il/elle/on ach` tera, nous ach` terons, vous
e e e e
ach` terez, ils/elles ach` teront
e e
conditional
j™ach` terais, tu ach` terais, il/elle/on ach` terait, nous ach` terions, vous
e e e e
ach` teriez, ils/elles ach` teraient
e e
Subgroup 2
Verbs with “e“ as ¬nal vowel of stem “ the “e“ becomes “` “ throughout both
e
tenses.
Example
mener
future
je m` nerai, tu m` neras, il/elle/on m` nera, nous m` nerons, vous m` nerez,
e e e e e
ils/elles m` neront
e
conditional
je m` nerais, tu m` nerais, il/elle/on m` nerait, nous m` nerions, vous
e e e e
m` neriez, ils/elles m` neraient
e e
However, verbs with “´ “ as ¬nal vowel of stem retain “´ “:
e e
esp´ rer
e
future
j™esp´ rerai, tu esp´ reras, il/elle/on esp´ rera, nous esp´ rerons, vous
e e e e
esp´ rerez, ils/elles esp´ reront
e e
conditional
j™esp´ rerais, tu esp´ rerais, il/elle/on esp´ rerait, nous esp´ rerions, vous
e e e e
esp´ reriez, ils/elles esp´ reraient
e e


49 Group 1 “er verbs with radical stem variation
Aller and envoyer both have highly irregular stems.
aller
future
j™irai, tu iras, il/elle/on ira, nous irons, vous irez, ils/elles iront
conditional
j™irais, tu irais, il/elle/on irait, nous irions, vous iriez, ils/elles iraient
envoyer
future
j™enverrai, tu enverras, il/elle/on enverra, nous enverrons, vous enverrez,
ils/elles enverront

20
52 Group 2 “ir verbs: radical stem variation



conditional
j™enverrais, tu enverrais, il/elle/on enverrait, nous enverrions, vous
enverriez, ils/elles enverraient

50 Examples of future and conditional tenses
of Group 2 “ir verbs
¬nir
future
je ¬nirai, tu ¬niras, il/elle/on ¬nira, nous ¬nirons, vous ¬nirez, ils/elles
¬niront
conditional
je ¬nirais, tu ¬nirais, il/elle/on ¬nirait, nous ¬nirions, vous ¬niriez,
ils/elles ¬niraient
dormir
future
je dormirai, tu dormiras, il/elle/on dormira, nous dormirons, vous
dormirez, ils/elles dormiront
conditional
je dormirais, tu dormirais, il/elle/on dormirait, nous dormirions, vous
dormiriez, ils/elles dormiraient


51 “ir verbs Subgroup 3
Cueillir, etc
Just as the present tense of these verbs is formed differently from the norm, so are the
future and conditional. Here and in the following sections the stems and endings for the
¬rst person singular and ¬rst person plural only for both tenses are given.
je cueillerai, nous cueillerons, je cueillerais, nous cueillerions

52 Group 2 “ir verbs with radical stem variation
A number of verbs have highly irregular stems.
tenir
je tiendrai, nous tiendrons, je tiendrais, nous tiendrions
venir
je viendrai, nous viendrons, je viendrais, nous viendrions
courir
je courrai, nous courrons, je courrais, nous courrions
mourir
je mourrai, nous mourrons, je mourrais, nous mourrions

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A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



53 Future and conditional tenses of Group 3 “re verbs
Future tense Conditional tense
singular plural singular plural
je vendrai nous vendrons je vendrais nous vendrions
tu vendras vous vendrez tu vendrais vous vendriez
il/elle/on ils/elles il/elle/on ils/elles
vendra vendront vendrait vendraient


54 The exceptions etre and faire
ˆ
ˆ
etre
future
je serai, tu seras, il/elle/on sera, nous serons, vous serez, ils/elles seront
conditional
je serais, tu serais, il/elle/on serait, nous serions, vous seriez, ils/elles
seraient
faire
future
je ferai, tu feras, il/elle/on fera, nous ferons, vous ferez, ils/elles feront
conditional
je ferais, tu ferais, il/elle/on ferait, nous ferions, vous feriez, ils/elles
feraient


55 Future and conditional tenses of Group 4 “oir verbs
Some of these verbs undergo radical stem alteration.
Subgroup 1 “ verbs in “cevoir

Future tense Conditional tense
singular plural singular plural
je recevrai nous recevrons je recevrais nous recevrions
tu recevras vous recevrez tu recevrais vous recevriez
il/elle/on ils/elles il/elle/on ils/elles
recevra recevront recevrait recevraient
Subgroup 2 “ voir
Future tense Conditional tense
singular plural singular plural
je verrai nous verrons je verrais nous verrions
tu verras vous verrez tu verrais vous verriez
il/elle/on ils/elles il/elle/on ils/elles
verra verront verrait verraient

22
56 Present participles



Other Group 4 verbs
avoir
j™aurai, nous aurons, j™aurais, nous aurions
devoir
je devrai, nous devrons, je devrais, nous devrions
falloir
il faudra, il faudrait
pleuvoir
il pleuvra, il pleuvrait
pouvoir
je pourrai, nous pourrons, je pourrais, nous pourrions
savoir
je saurai, nous saurons, je saurais, nous saurions
valoir
je vaudrai, nous vaudrons, je vaudrais, nous vaudrions
vouloir
je voudrai, nous voudrons, je voudrais, nous voudrions


Participles

There are two participles: the present participle and the past participle.

56 Present participles
These are normally formed by adding the ending “ant to the stem of the ¬rst person
plural of the verb.
Examples

Group 1 “er verbs
porter
portant
Subgroups
appeler “ appelant; acheter “ achetant; mener “ menant; esp´rer “ esp´ rant; commencer “
e e
commencant; manger “ mangeant; aller “ allant
¸
Group 2 “ir verbs
Subgroups
¬nir

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A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



¬nissant
partir
partant
cueillir “ cueillant; tenir “ tenant; mourir “ mourant

Group 3 “re verbs
Subgroups
vendre - vendant; rompre - rompant; battre - battant; croire - croyant; lire - lisant;
´
´crire - ecrivant; conduire - conduisant; craindre - craignant; boire - buvant; dire - disant;
e
faire - faisant; prendre - prenant; vivre - vivant
´
ˆtre - etant
e

Group 4 “oir verbs
Subgroups
recevoir - recevant; voir - voyant; asseoir - asseyant; devoir - devant; falloir - no present
participle; mouvoir - mouvant; pleuvoir - pleuvant; pouvoir “ pouvant; valoir “ valant;
vouloir “ voulant

57 Exceptions
There are a very few exceptions to this principle “
avoir - ayant
savoir - sachant

58 Past participles
The groups form their past participles in distinctive ways.

59 Formation of past participles Groups 1“3
Group 1 “er verbs
The “er of the in¬nitive is replaced by “´
e
Examples
porter “ port´ , appeler “ appel´ , acheter “ achet´
e e e

Group 2 “ir verbs
The “ir of the in¬nitive is replaced by “i
Examples
¬nir - ¬ni, partir - parti, cueillir - cueilli, ha¨r - ha¨
± ±
However, there are certain exceptions.
Ending in “u
tenir - tenu, venir - venu and derivatives
courir - couru, vˆtir - vˆ tu
e e
Ending in “ert
ouvrir - ouvert, also couvrir, d´ couvrir, offrir, souffrir.
e
Mourir has a distinctive past participle - mort

24
ˆ
63 Avoir or etre ?



Group 3 “re verbs
Many Group 3 “re verbs form their past participle in “u
Examples
vendre “ vendu, rompre “ rompu, battre “ battu, croire “ cru, lire “ lu, taire “ tu = fell silent,
apparaˆtre “ apparu = appeared (note croˆtre “ cru = grew), vaincre “ vaincu = conquered,
ˆ
± ±
boire “ bu.
However, many verbs in this group form their past participles in distinctive ways.

60 Group 3 “re verbs with distinctive past participles
absoudre “ absous = absolved, ´crire “ ecrit, suivre “ suivi = followed, conduire“ conduit,
´
e
´e
craindre “ craint, dire “ dit, faire “ fait, prendre “ pris, naˆtre “ n´ , ˆtre “ et´
± ee

61 Past participles of Group 4 “oir verbs
All the verbs in this group (with the exception of asseoir, past participle “ assis) form
their past participle in “u, but often with considerable modi¬cation of the stem.
Examples
ˆ
recevoir “ recu, voir “ vu, devoir “ du, but the form indicating feminine agreement is
¸
due, falloir “ fallu, pleuvoir “ plu, pouvoir “ pu, savoir “ su, valoir “ valu, vouloir “ voulu,
avoir “ eu


Compound tenses

62 General comments
The compound tenses of all verbs are formed by adding an auxiliary verb, either avoir
ˆ
or etre, to the past participle of the verb.
ˆ
Certain verbs are always conjugated with avoir, others with etre; a few may in certain
circumstances be conjugated with one or the other auxiliary verb.

63 Avoir or etre?
ˆ
ˆ
Since the number of verbs conjugated with etre is comparatively small, the focus here is
upon such verbs.

ˆ
Verbs conjugated with etre
The majority of these verbs are intransitive, in other words they are not followed by a
direct object. Most of them, but not all, indicate a movement.
The verbs are “
aller, arriver = to arrive, demeurer = to stay, descendre = to go down, entrer = to
enter and rentrer = to go home, monter = to go up, mourir, naˆtre, partir, passer =
±
to pass, rester = to stay, retourner = to return, sortir = to go out, tomber = to fall, venir
and its derivatives convenir = to suit, devenir = to become, intervenir = to intervene,
parvenir = to reach, revenir = to return, survenir = to happen.
ˆ
Verbs that are pronominal also always form their compound tenses with etre “
see 104.

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A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



64 Verbs conjugated with etre and agreement
ˆ
In the case of these verbs, agreement between the past participle and the subject is
compulsory “
if the subject is feminine, an “e is added to the participle;
if the subject is plural, an “s is added, if the subject is masculine or is used generically;
an “es is added if the subject is feminine plural.
Examples
Lorsqu™elle est entr´ e, je me suis dit que c™´ tait ma chance = when she came in,
e e
I said to myself, now™s my chance
Elle est devenue un objet de d´ sir = she became an object of desire
e
Ses deux ¬ls sont venus me demander du conseil = his two sons came and asked me
for advice
Il y a des hommes qui ne sont pas sortis de l™enfance, mˆ me s™ils portent
e
des costumes = there are some men who have not left childhood, even if they wear suits
J™ai rencontr´ beaucoup de ¬lles qui sont tomb´ es amoureuses au moins
e e
une fois par mois = I™ve met lots of girls who fell in love at least once a month
Comprenant qu™il y avait une lueur d™espoir, elles sont revenues au centre
chaque jour = realising that there was a glimmer of hope, they came back to the centre every day
In the case of vous, an “s or “es is added only if the reference is to a plural subject; if
vous refers to a singular subject, then no extra ending is added, unless a feminine
subject is involved “ thus
masculine singular
ˆ
Apr` s cette aventure, vous etes sagement rentr´ aupr` s de votre femme et
e e e
vous etes en¬n devenu raisonnable = after this escapade, you returned quietly to your wife
ˆ
and at last became sensible
masculine plural
` ˆ
Vous avez port´ des pantalons a pattes d™´ l´ phant “ vous vous etes moqu´ s
e ee e
du bon gout = you wore ¬‚ares “ you didn™t care about good taste
ˆ
feminine singular
` ˆ
Peut-ˆ tre avez-vous eu un parent exigeant “ face a lui vous vous etes sentie
e
impuissante et vuln´ rable = perhaps you had a demanding parent “ confronted by him or her
e
you felt powerless and vulnerable
ˆ `
Vous etes rest´ e sans nouvelles de lui, et puis le beau garcon a qui vous
e ¸
aviez donn´ vos coordonn´ es vous contacte = you hadn™t had any news from him, and
e e
then the handsome guy you™d given your details to contacts you
feminine plural
Mesdemoiselles, il faut faire attention au web cam´ ra qui vous permet
e
d™ˆ tre ¬lm´ es et vues sur l™´ cran de votre patron = girls, you must beware of the
e e e
web-cam which allows you to be ¬lmed and seen on screen by your boss

26
67 Perfect tense of Group 1“4 verbs



ˆ
Si vous fumez ou etes entour´ es de fumeurs, vous risquez de vous pr´ parer
e e
une cinquantaine p´ nible = if you smoke or are surrounded by smokers, you™re in danger of
e
preparing a very uncomfortable scenario for yourself at ¬fty

65 Verbs which may be conjugated with either avoir or etre
ˆ
1 Some of the verbs listed in 63 may be used transitively as well as intransitively.
If they are used transitively, accompanied by a direct object, they are conjugated with
ˆ
avoir and not etre, and no agreement with the subject takes place.
The verbs are
descendre, monter, passer, rentrer, retourner, sortir
Examples
Elle a descendu le coffre = she brought down the trunk
Nous avons mont´ leurs bagages = we took their luggage up
e
Ils ont pass´ le mois de janvier en Espagne = they spent January in Spain
e
Il a rentr´ son chien a cause du bruit = he brought his dog into the house because of the
`
e
noise
Elle a retourn´ le vase pour evaluer sa qualit´ = she turned the vase over to get an
´
e e
idea of its quality
Ils ont sorti les d´ chets = they brought the rubbish out
e
2 Another group of verbs (not listed in 63) may be conjugated with either auxiliary
without the matter of transitivity being involved. The normal procedure is “ when
ˆ
an action is involved, avoir is used; when a state is implied, it is etre which is
used.

Examples
Ce magazine a paru le 29 janvier = this magazine came out on 29 January
Ce magazine est paru depuis longtemps = this magazine came out a long time ago
also accourir, apparaˆtre, disparaˆtre
± ±


Perfect tense

66 Formation
ˆ
The perfect tense is formed by combining the present tense of avoir or etre with the
past participle of the verb.

67 Perfect tense of Group 1“4 verbs
Group 1 “er verbs
porter
j™ai port´ , tu as port´ , il/elle/on a port´ , nous avons port´ , vous avez
e e e e
port´ , ils/elles ont port´
e e

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A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



aller
je suis all´ /all´ e, tu es all´ /all´ e, il est all´ , elle est all´ e, on est all´ , nous
e e e e e e e
ˆ
sommes all´ s/all´ es, vous etes all´ /all´ e/all´ s/all´ es, ils sont all´ s, elles
e e e e e e e
sont all´ es
e


Group 2 “ir verbs
¬nir
j™ai ¬ni, tu as ¬ni, il/elle/on a ¬ni, nous avons ¬ni, vous avez ¬ni, ils/elles
ont ¬ni
partir
je suis parti/partie, tu es parti/partie, il/on est parti, elle est partie, nous
ˆ
sommes partis/parties, vous etes parti/partie/partis/parties, ils sont
partis, elles sont parties
ouvrir
j™ai ouvert, tu as ouvert, il/elle/on a ouvert, nous avons ouvert, vous avez
ouvert, ils/elles ont ouvert
mourir
je suis mort/morte, tu es mort/morte, il/on est mort, elle est morte, nous
ˆ
sommes morts/mortes, vous etes mort/morte/morts/mortes, ils sont
morts, elles sont mortes


Group 3 “re verbs
vendre
j™ai vendu, tu as vendu, il/elle/on a vendu, nous avons vendu, vous avez
vendu, ils/elles ont vendu
prendre
j™ai pris, tu as pris, il/elle/on a pris, nous avons pris, vous avez pris,
ils/elles ont pris
descendre
je suis descendu/descendue, tu es descendu/descendue, il/on est
descendu, elle est descendue, nous sommes descendus/descendues, vous
ˆ
etes descendu/descendue/descendus/descendues, ils sont descendus,
elles sont descendues


Group 4 “oir verbs
recevoir
j™ai recu, tu as recu, il/elle/on a recu, nous avons recu, vous avez recu,
¸ ¸ ¸ ¸ ¸
ils/elles ont recu
¸
pouvoir

28
69 Pluperfect tense of Group 1“4 verbs



j™ai pu, tu as pu, il/elle/on a pu, nous avons pu, vous avez pu, ils/elles ont
pu


Pluperfect tense

68 Formation
ˆ
The pluperfect tense is formed by combining the imperfect tense of avoir or etre with
the past participle of the verb.

69 Pluperfect tense of Group 1“4 verbs
Group 1 “er verbs
porter
j™avais port´ , tu avais port´ , il/elle/on avait port´ , nous avions port´ ,
e e e e
vous aviez port´ , ils/elles avaient port´
e e
aller
´ ´ ´
j™´ tais all´ /all´ e, tu etais all´ /all´ e, il/on etait all´ , elle etait all´ e, nous
e e e e e e e
´ ´ ´
etions all´ s/all´ es, vous etiez all´ /all´ e/all´ s/all´ es, ils etaient all´ s,
e e e e e e e
´
elles etaient all´ es
e

Group 2 “ir verbs
¬nir
j™avais ¬ni, tu avais ¬ni, il/elle/on avait ¬ni, nous avions ¬ni, vous aviez
¬ni, ils/elles avaient ¬ni
partir
´ ´ ´
j™´ tais parti/partie, tu etais parti/partie, il/on etait parti, elle etait partie,
e
´ ´
nous etions partis/parties, vous etiez parti/partie/partis/parties, ils
´ ´
etaient partis, elles etaient parties
mourir
´ ´ ´
j™´ tais mort/morte, tu etais mort/morte, il/on etait mort, elle etait
e
´ ´
morte, nous etions morts/mortes, vous etiez mort/morte/morts/mortes,
´ ´
ils etaient morts, elles etaient mortes

Group 3 “re verbs
vendre
j™avais vendu, tu avais vendu, il/elle/on avait vendu, nous avions vendu,
vous aviez vendu, ils/elles avaient vendu
descendre
´ ´
j™´ tais descendu/descendue, tu etais descendu/descendue, il/on etait
e
´ ´
descendu, elle etait descendue, nous etions descendus/descendues, vous
´ ´
etiez descendu/descendue/descendus/descendues, ils etaient descendus,
´
elles etaient descendues

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A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



Group 4 “oir verbs
recevoir
j™avais recu, tu avais recu, il/elle/on avait recu, nous avions recu, vous
¸ ¸ ¸ ¸
aviez recu, ils/elles avaient recu
¸ ¸
pouvoir
j™avais pu, tu avais pu, il/elle/on avait pu, nous avions pu, vous aviez pu,
ils/elles avaient pu



Future perfect tense

70 Formation
ˆ
The future perfect tense is formed by combining the future tense of avoir or etre with
the past participle of the verb.

71 Future perfect tense of Group 1“4 verbs
Group 1 “er verbs
porter
j™aurai port´ , tu auras port´ , il/elle/on aura port´ , nous aurons port´ ,
e e e e
vous aurez port´ , ils/elles auront port´
e e
aller
je serai all´ /all´ e, tu seras all´ /all´ e, il/on sera all´ , elle sera all´ e, nous
e e e e e e
serons all´ s/all´ es, vous serez all´ /all´ e/all´ s/all´ es, ils seront all´ s,
e e e e e e e
elles seront all´ es
e

Group 2 “ir verbs
¬nir
j™aurai ¬ni, tu auras ¬ni, il/elle/on aura ¬ni, nous aurons ¬ni, vous aurez
¬ni, ils/elles auront ¬ni
partir
je serai parti/partie, tu seras parti/partie, il/on sera parti, elle sera
partie, nous serons partis/parties, vous serez parti/partie/partis/
parties, ils seront partis, elles seront parties
ouvrir
j™aurai ouvert, tu auras ouvert, il/elle/on aura ouvert, nous aurons
ouvert, vous aurez ouvert, ils/elles auront ouvert
mourir
je serai mort/morte, tu seras mort/morte, il/on sera mort, elle sera
morte, nous serons morts/mortes, vous serez mort/morte/morts/
mortes, ils seront morts, elles seront mortes

30
73 Conditional perfect tense of Group 1“4 verbs



Group 3 “re verbs
vendre
j™aurai vendu, tu auras vendu, il/elle/on aura vendu, nous aurons vendu,
vous aurez vendu, ils/elles auront vendu
prendre
j™aurai pris, tu auras pris, il/elle/on aura pris, nous aurons pris, vous
aurez pris, ils/elles auront pris
descendre
je serai descendu/descendue, tu seras descendu/descendue, il/on sera
descendu, elle sera descendue, nous serons descendus/descendues, vous
serez descendu/descendue/descendus/descendues, ils seront descendus,
elles seront descendues

Group 4 “oir verbs
recevoir
j™aurai recu, tu auras recu, il/elle/on aura recu, nous aurons recu, vous
¸ ¸ ¸ ¸
aurez recu, ils/elles auront recu
¸ ¸
pouvoir
j™aurai pu, tu auras pu, il/elle/on aura pu, nous aurons pu, vous aurez pu,
ils/elles auront pu

Conditional perfect tense

72 Formation
The conditional perfect tense is formed by combining the conditional tense of avoir or
ˆ
etre with the past participle of the verb.

73 Conditional perfect tense of Group 1“4 verbs
Group 1 “er verbs
porter
j™aurais port´ , tu aurais port´ , il/elle/on aurait port´ , nous aurions port´ ,
e e e e
vous auriez port´ , ils/elles auraient port´
e e
aller
je serais all´ /all´ e, tu serais all´ /all´ e, il/on serait all´ , elle serait all´ e,
e e e e e e
nous serions all´ s/all´ es, vous seriez all´ /all´ e/all´ s/all´ es, ils seraient
e e e e e e
all´ s, elles seraient all´ es
e e

Group 2 “ir verbs
¬nir
j™aurais ¬ni, tu aurais ¬ni, il/elle/on aurait ¬ni, nous aurions ¬ni, vous
auriez ¬ni, ils/elles auraient ¬ni

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A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



partir
je serais parti/partie, tu serais parti/partie, il/on serait parti, elle serait
partie, nous serions partis/parties, vous seriez parti/partie/partis/
parties, ils seraient partis, elles seraient parties
ouvrir
j™aurais ouvert, tu aurais ouvert, il/elle/on aurait ouvert, nous aurions
ouvert, vous auriez ouvert, ils/elles auraient ouvert
mourir
je serais mort/morte, tu serais mort/morte, il/on serait mort, elle serait
morte, nous serions morts/mortes, vous seriez mort/morte/morts/
mortes, ils seraient morts, elles seraient mortes


Group 3 “re verbs
vendre
j™aurais vendu, tu aurais vendu, il/elle/on aurait vendu, nous aurions
vendu, vous auriez vendu, ils/elles auraient vendu
prendre
j™aurais pris, tu aurais pris, il/elle/on aurait pris, nous aurions pris, vous
auriez pris, ils/elles auraient pris
descendre
je serais descendu/descendue, tu serais descendu/descendue, il/on serait
descendu, elle serait descendue, nous serions descendus/descendues,
vous seriez descendu/descendue/descendus/descendues, ils seraient
descendus, elles seraient descendues


Group 4 “oir verbs
recevoir
j™aurais recu, tu aurais recu, il/elle/on aurait recu, nous aurions recu,
¸ ¸ ¸ ¸
vous auriez recu, ils/elles auraient recu
¸ ¸
pouvoir
j™aurais pu, tu aurais pu, il/elle/on aurait pu, nous aurions pu, vous
auriez pu, ils/elles auraient pu



Past historic tense

74 Past historic
A tense that is mainly restricted to the written medium (see 130) and which involves many
irregularities of stem in Groups 3 and 4.

32
78 Examples: Group 2 “ir verbs



75 Past historic tense of Group 1 “er verbs
All “er verbs (even including aller) form their past historic tense regularly, by adding
the endings listed below to their stem. The Subgroup 5 verbs, commencer and
manger, etc, form their past historic tense according to the principles presented above “
see 20.
The following endings are added to the stem.
singular plural
ˆ
“ai “ames
ˆ
“as “ates
“a “` rent
e


76 Examples of Group 1 “er verbs
porter
ˆ ˆ
je portai, tu portas, il/elle/on porta, nous portames, vous portates,
ils/elles port` rent
e
commencer
je commencai, tu commencas, il/elle/on commenca, nous
¸ ¸ ¸
¸ˆ ¸ˆ
commencames, vous commencates, ils/elles commenc` rent
e
manger
ˆ
je mangeai, tu mangeas, il/elle/on mangea, nous mangeames, vous
ˆ
mangeates, ils/elles mang` rent
e
aller
ˆ ˆ
j™allai, tu allas, il/elle alla, nous allames, vous allates, ils/elles all` rent
e


77 Past historic tense of Group 2 “ir verbs
All Subgroup 1 and Subgroup 3 (cueillir) verbs and many Subgroup 2 verbs form their
past historic tense in the same way.
The following endings are added to the stem.
singular plural
“is “ˆmes
±
“is “ˆtes
±
“it “irent


78 Examples of Group 2 “ir verbs
¬nir
je ¬nis, tu ¬nis, il/elle/on ¬nit, nous ¬nˆmes, vous ¬nˆtes, ils/elles
± ±
¬nirent
partir
je partis, tu partis, il/elle/on partit, nous partˆmes, vous partˆtes,
± ±
ils/elles partirent

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A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



cueillir
je cueillis, tu cueillis, il/elle/on cueillit, nous cueillˆmes, vous cueillˆtes,
± ±
ils/elles cueillirent

79 “ir verbs Subgroup 4
venir and tenir have a distinctive form in the past historic “
venir
je vins, tu vins, il/elle/on vint, nous vˆnmes, vous vˆntes, ils/elles
± ±
vinrent
tenir
je tins, tu tins, il/elle/on tint, nous tˆnmes, vous tˆntes, ils/elles tinrent
± ±

80 “ir verbs exceptions to Subgroup 2 and mourir
Certain “ir verbs form their past historic tense with the following endings.
singular plural
ˆ
“us “umes
ˆ
“us “utes
“ut “urent
Examples of “ir verbs forming their past historic in “u“
courir
ˆ ˆ
je courus, tu courus, il/elle/on courut, nous courumes, vous courutes,
ils/elles coururent
mourir
ˆ
je mourus, tu mourus, il/elle/on mourut, nous mourumes, vous
ˆ
mourutes, ils/elles moururent

81 Past historic tense of Group 3 “re verbs
It will be remembered, from the presentation of the present tense of this group of verbs,
that there are many subgroups. Since there are so many anomalies with this group
of verbs in the past historic tense, the most straightforward way of presenting them is
individually. Certain “re verbs form their past historic with endings in “i“ and others
in “u“.
Those verbs with endings in “i“ will be dealt with ¬rst, then those whose endings are
in “u“.

82 Group 3 “re verbs with past historic endings in “i“
singular plural
“is “ˆmes
±
“is “ˆtes
±
“it “irent
Example of “re verbs with endings in “i“
vendre

34
84 Group 3 “re verbs: past historic endings in “u“



je vendis, tu vendis, il/elle/on vendit, nous vendˆmes, vous vendˆtes,
± ±
ils/elles vendirent
Battre, perdre, r´ pondre, rompre follow a similar pattern.
e

83 Group 3 “re verbs with stem variation
conduire: the stem acquires an “s“, as follows
je conduisis, tu conduisis, il/elle/on conduisit, nous conduisˆmes, vous
±
conduisˆtes, ils/elles conduisirent
±
craindre, joindre and other verbs in “aindre/“oindre: the stem changes from
“aind/“oind to “aign/“oign.
craindre
je craignis, tu craignis, il/elle/on craignit, nous craignˆmes, vous
±
craignˆtes, ils/elles craignirent
±
joindre “ je joignis, nous joignˆmes
±
dire and rire “ the “i“ of the stem is absorbed into the ending; consequently at times
the verb form is the same as the present tense. The past historic forms are
je dis, tu dis, il/elle/on dit, nous dˆmes, vous dˆtes, ils/elles dirent
± ±
´
ecrire “ the stem acquires a “v“, as follows “
´ ´ ´ ´
j™´ crivis, tu ecrivis, il/elle/on ecrivit, nous ecrivˆmes, vous ecrivˆtes,
e ± ±
´
ils/elles ecrivirent
faire
je ¬s, tu ¬s, il/elle/on ¬t, nous fˆmes, vous fˆtes, ils/elles ¬rent
± ±

mettre “ the stem is reduced to m“; the forms are
je mis, tu mis, il/elle/on mit, nous mˆmes, vous mˆtes, ils/elles mirent
± ±
prendre
je pris, tu pris, il/elle/on prit, nous prˆmes, vous prˆtes, ils/elles prirent
± ±


84 Group 3 “re verbs with past historic endings in “u“
The endings are
singular plural
ˆ
“us “umes
ˆ
“us “utes
“ut “urent
Quite often stem variation is also involved.
Examples of “re verbs with endings in “u“
boire
ˆ ˆ
je bus, tu bus, il/elle/on but, nous bumes, vous butes, ils/elles burent

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A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



conclure
ˆ ˆ
je conclus, tu conclus, il/elle/on conclut, nous conclumes, vous conclutes,
ils/elles conclurent
croire
ˆ ˆ
je crus, tu crus, il/elle/on crut, nous crumes, vous crutes, ils/elles
crurent
ˆ
etre
ˆ ˆ
je fus, tu fus, il/elle/on fut, nous fumes, vous futes, ils/elles furent
lire
ˆ ˆ
je lus, tu lus, il/elle/on lut, nous lumes, vous lutes, ils/elles lurent
vivre
eˆ eˆ
je v´ cus, tu v´ cus, il/elle/on v´ cut, nous v´ cumes, vous v´ cutes, ils/elles
e e e
v´ curent
e

85 Past historic tense of Group 4 “oir verbs
It will be remembered, from the presentation of the present tense of this group of verbs,
that many of them form that tense in highly irregular ways “ see 39. The same applies
to the past historic.
As with Group 3 “re verbs, some form their past historics in “i“, others “ the majority
“ in “u“.
Group 4 “oir endings of past historic
singular plural singular plural
ˆ
“is “ˆmes
± “us “umes
ˆ
“is “ˆtes
± “us “utes
“it “irent “ut “urent

86 Group 4 “oir verbs with past historic endings in “i“
s™asseoir
je m™assis, tu t™assis, il/elle/on s™assit, nous nous assˆmes, vous vous
±
assˆtes, il/elles s™assirent
±
voir
je vis, tu vis, il/elle/on vit, nous vˆmes, vous vˆtes, ils/elles virent
± ±

87 Group 4 “oir verbs with past historic endings in “u“
avoir
ˆ ˆ
j™eus, tu eus, il/elle/on eut, nous eumes, vous eutes, ils/elles eurent
devoir
ˆ ˆ
je dus, tu dus, il/elle/on dut, nous dumes, vous dutes, ils/elles durent
falloir

36
90 Examples: Group 1“4 verbs



il fallut
pleuvoir
il plut
pouvoir
ˆ ˆ
je pus, tu pus, il/elle/on put, nous pumes, vous putes, ils/elles purent
recevoir
¸ˆ ¸ˆ
je recus, tu recus, il/elle/on recut, nous recumes, vous recutes, ils/elles
¸ ¸ ¸
recurent
¸
savoir
ˆ ˆ
je sus, tu sus, il/elle/on sut, nous sumes, vous sutes, ils/elles surent
valoir
ˆ ˆ
je valus, tu valus, il/elle/on valut, nous valumes, vous valutes, ils/elles
valurent
vouloir
ˆ ˆ
je voulus, tu voulus, il/elle/on voulut, nous voulumes, vous voulutes,
ils/elles voulurent



Past anterior tense

88 General comments
This is the least common of the indicative tenses and is only used in conjunction with the
past historic, itself very uncommon in spoken French and in informal writing “ see 133.

89 Formation
ˆ
The past anterior tense is formed by combining the past historic tense of avoir or etre
with the past participle of the verb.

90 Examples of Group 1“4 verbs
Group 1
porter
ˆ
j™eus port´ , nous eumes port´
e e
aller
ˆ
je fus all´ (e), nous fumes all´ (e)s
e e

Group 2
¬nir
ˆ
j™eus ¬ni, nous eumes ¬ni

37
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



partir
ˆ
je fus parti(e), nous fumes parti(e)s

Group 3
vendre
ˆ
j™eus vendu, nous eumes vendu
descendre
ˆ
je fus descendu(e), nous fumes descendu(e)s

Group 4
recevoir
ˆ
j™eus recu, nous eumes recu
¸ ¸
pouvoir
ˆ
j™eus pu, nous eumes pu


1.3 SUBJUNCTIVE MOOD

Present subjunctive tense

91 Formation
The present subjunctive is normally formed by taking the third person plural form of the
present indicative tense, deleting the ending “ent and adding the appropriate endings.
Obtaining the stem “
portent ’ port“, ¬nissent ’ ¬niss“, courent ’ cour“, vendent ’ vend“,
recoivent ’ recoiv“
¸ ¸
The endings are
singular plural
“e “ions
“es “iez
“e “ent
Note that the usual stem variations apply according to the ending added.

92 Group 1 examples of the present subjunctive
porter
je porte, tu portes, il/elle/on porte, nous portions, vous portiez, ils/elles
portent
appeler
j™appelle, nous appelions
jeter

38
95 Group 3 examples: present subjunctive



je jette, nous jetions
acheter
j™ach` te, nous achetions
e
mener
je m` ne, nous menions
e
esp´ rer
e
j™esp` re, nous esp´ rions
e e
commencer
je commence, nous commencions
manger
je mange, nous mangions

93 Group 1 verb which diverges from the normal pattern “
aller
j™aille, tu ailles, il/elle/on aille, nous allions, vous alliez, ils/elles
aillent

94 Group 2 examples of the present subjunctive
¬nir
je ¬nisse, tu ¬nisses, il/elle/on ¬nisse, nous ¬nissions, vous ¬nissiez,
ils/elles ¬nissent
courir
je coure, tu coures, il/elle/on coure, nous courions, vous couriez, ils/elles
courent
cueillir
je cueille, nous cueillions
venir
je vienne, nous venions

95 Group 3 examples of the present subjunctive
vendre
je vende, tu vendes, il/elle/on vende, nous vendions, vous vendiez,
ils/elles vendent
rompre
je rompe, nous rompions
battre

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A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



je batte, nous battions
croire
je croie, nous croyions
conduire
je conduise, nous conduisions
´
ecrire
´
j™´ cris, nous ecrivions
e
dire
je dise, nous disions


96 Group 3 verbs which diverge from the normal pattern
ˆ
etre
je sois, tu sois, il/elle/on soit, nous soyons, vous soyez, ils/elles
soient
faire
je fasse, tu fasses, il/elle/on fasse, nous fassions, vous fassiez, ils/elles
fassent


97 Group 4 examples of the present subjunctive
recevoir
je recoive, tu recoives, il/elle/on recoive, nous recevions, vous receviez,
¸ ¸ ¸
ils/elles recoivent
¸
voir
je voie, tu voies, il/elle/on voie, nous voyions, vous voyiez, ils/elles
voient
devoir
je doive, tu doives, il/elle/on doive, nous devions, vous deviez, ils/elles
doivent


98 Group 4 verbs which diverge from the normal pattern
avoir
j™aie, tu aies, il/elle/on ait, nous ayons, vous ayez, ils/elles aient
pouvoir
je puisse, tu puisses, il/elle/on puisse, nous puissions, vous puissiez,
ils/elles puissent
savoir

40
100 Examples of the imperfect subjunctive

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