Conjugating French ER Verbs

 

How to Conjugate ER Verbs in French

By far the easiest verbs to conjugate are the verbs of the first group (all verbs that end in -er except aller/to go).  Since these verbs outnumber all the other verbs by 20 to 1, learn these conjugation rules, and you’ll be golden.

Conjugation Rules:

Step 1:  Take the French verb that ends in –er (e.g. garer/to park).  Remove the –er ending from the infinitive form.  This gives you the essential root we’ll be using to conjugate.  Do this for all French verbs in this group.  In this case, the root is [gar].

Step 2: Add to the root the endings in the table below that correspond to the appropriate tense and person.  Think of it as language legos.

Je/I Tu/you Il,elle,on/he,she,it
Présent gare gares gare
Imparfait garais garais garait
Passé simple garai garas gara
Futur simple garerai gareras garera
†Subjonctif présent gare gares gare
†Sujonctif Imparfait garasse garasses garât
Impératif gare
*Infinitif garer
*Participe présent garant
*Participe passé garé
Nous/we Vous/you Ils,elles/they
Présent garons garez garent
Imparfait garions gariez garaient
Passé simple garâmes garâtes garèrent
Futur simple garerons garerez gareront
†Subjonctif présent garions gariez garent
†Sujonctif Imparfait garassions garassiez garassent
Impératif garons garez

*Infinitif garer
*Participe présent garant
*Participe passé garé

† All tenses of the subjunctive are introduced by a “que” conjunction (e.g. que je gare/that I park)

* Infinitif, participe présent and participe passé have no “person” in the sense that they are impersonal.  The participe passé might be modified according to the auxiliary used, but that’s another lesson.  For now think of it as a root that can be used to conjugate other tenses.

The above cover the simple tenses in French. The temps composés (composed tenses) make use of helper verbs and will be covered later.

Examples:

# Présent:  Il mange les pommes / He eats the apples

# Imparfait:  Nous jouions au footbal hier soir / We were playing soccer last night

# Passé Simple:  Tu jetas ton ticket à l’annonce des résultats du loto / You threw away your ticket when the results of the lottery were announced

# Futur Simple:  J’achèterai un ballon la semaine prochaine / I will buy a ball next week

# Subjonctif Présent:  Il faut que vous peliez les patates / You must peel the potatoes

# Subjonctif Imparfait:  Un nettoyage était requis avant qu’elles ne louassent l’appartement / A housecleaning was required before they could rent the apartment

# Impératif:  Plonge dans l’eau! / Dive into the water!

# Infinitif:  Il faut marcher avant de courir / One must walk before one can run

# Participe Présent:  L’appétit vient en mangeant / Appetite comes with eating

# Participe Passé:  Il a lancé la balle / He has thrown the ball

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