French Connection: Conjugating ER, IR, and RE Verbs

French Connection

Good morning! I have a pretty long list of things to cover in this edition of French Connection, so lets get started! One note: I have to do some more research and confirm information on conjugating IR verbs, so that will be featured in a future episode.

Here is what I’ll be covering today:

  • Conjugating ER and RE verbs (a review from previous editions, done right)
  • Writing RE and IR verbs in the past tense, and how to do so
  • A brief introduction into irregular verbs and their past tense forms

When I mention an ER, RE or IR verb, I am speaking of verbs that end in that particular ending in their infinitive (original form, usually preluded by to ___, such as to dance)

Remember, it wouldn’t make sense to say Je danser. The verb danser, which is an ER verb, means (precisely) to dance. Therefore, by saying Je danser, we are essentially saying “I to dance”. To fix this, we have to change the verb (or conjugate it) into it’s appropriate pronoun.

In French, we use six basic pronouns, and each have their own specific conjugations. The six that we use are: Je (I), Tu (You, informal), Il/Elle/On (He/She/One), Nous (We), Vous (You, plural or formal) and Ils/Elles (They).

Note: Il/Elle/On share the same conjugation, and Its/Elles share the same conjugation. When we use the pronoun Ils, we are speaking of a group that contains at least one male. When we use the pronoun Elles, we are speaking of a group that contains all females.

How To Conjugate An -ER Verb

In any verb, to conjugate it into it’s pronoun form, you first remove the ending. Let’s take chanter, another ER verb that means to sing. After removing the -er ending, you are left with chant. The step we just practiced applies to every pronoun, though the letters that we replace the ending with depend on the pronoun.

For Je, we simple add an e at the end. To say I sing, we take the pronoun (je), followed by the verb chanter, which we remove the -er ending from (chant), and then add an e (change). (Je chante)

Please click Continue Reading to continue the lesson!

That applies to any ER verb when you use the pronoun Je. Here are the letters we use to replace the ending when conjugating to each appropriate pronoun:

When conjugating to the tu form, we remove the -er ending and replace it with es. 

Example: You draw (to draw = dessiner) is written as Tu dessines. 

When (…) il/elle/on form, we (…) and replace it with e.

Example: She cooks (to cook = cuisiner) is written as Elle cuisine.

When (…) nous form, we (…) and replace it with ons.

Example: We clean (to clean = nettoyer) is written as Nous nettoyons.

When (…) vous form, we (…) and replace it with ez.

Example: You play (to play = jouer) is written as Vous jouez. 

When (…) ils/elles form, we (…) and replace it with ent.

Example: They eat (to eat = manger) is written as Ils/Elles mangent.

One other thing to note: We can use the same sentence (such as je danse) to mean I dance and I am dancing (in the present tense).

With the exception of irregular verbs, and past and future tenses, which I will be discussing at later points, these endings apply to all -er verbs. In fact, this method (removing and replacing ending) applies for any regular verbs, regardless of the ending.

How To Conjugate An -RE Verb

You use the same method as with -er verbs to conjugate a verb, but the ending change. Here is each appropriate ending, along with a few example sentences:

When (…) je form, we (…) and replace it with s.

Example: I sell (to sell = vendre) is written as Je vends.

When (…) tu form, we (…) and replace it with s. (In this case, tu and je have the same ending)

Example: You take (to take = prendre) is written as Tu prends.

When (…) il/elle/on form, we (…) and replace it with NOTHING. (We leave the verb on its own without the -re ending.)

Example: He waits (to wait = attendre) is written as Il attend.

When (…) nous form, we (…) and replace it with ons.

Example: We hear (to hear = entendre) is written as Nous entendons.

When (…) vous form, we (…) and replace it with ez.

Example: You mow the lawn (to mow = tondre; the lawn = la pelouse) is written as Vous tondez la pelouse.

When (…) ils/elles form, we (…) and replace it with ent. 

Example: They descend (to descend = descendre) is written as Ils/Elles descendent.

Once again, with the acceptation of irregular verbs, these endings apply to all verbs that end in -re, and this method applies to all verbs.

How to Write Sentences With -RE Verbs In the Past Tense

I covered -er verbs in the past tense in this post, so today I will be covering -RE and -IR verbs, which are a bit wierd.

For verbs ending with -RE, we remove the ending and replace it with a u.

Here are a couple of examples:

I sold a hamburger. The pronoun, Je, is used first followed by the appropriate helping verb (use this reference for help as to what I mean by this), ai. After that, we use the -re verb vendre, conjugated to vendu, and end with the word for a hamburger, un hamburger. (They are cognates!) It would be written as this: J’ai vendu un hamburger. Use this same method (not helping verb, please visit the linked article for clarification) for most any -re verbs, like with the examples below.

They took an apple. Using the same method and the verb prendre (to take), and the noun apple (une pomme), we can reach the sentence Ils/Elles ont prendu une pomme.

We heard the music. Using the verb entendre (to hear) and the noun music (la musique), we can reach the sentence Nous Avons extend la musique.

You also use the same method for verbs that end in -ir, though the letter you replace it with is different.

How to Write Sentences With -IR Verbs In The Past Tense

With -IR verbs, you replace the ending with simply and i. Here are a few examples:

You all slept. Using the verb dormir (to sleep) and the pronoun vous, we can reach the sentence Vous avez dormi.

You chose the color pink. Using the verb choisir (to choose) and the noun color couloir and the adjective rose, we can reach the sentence Tu as choice le couloir rose.

He finished the meal. Using the verb finir (to finish) and the noun meal (le repas), we can reach the sentence Il a fine le repas.

I’d also like to give a brief introduction to irregular verbs. There are some particular verbs that are unlike normal ones- they are either conjugated differently, use être instead of avoir in the past tense, or are conjugated much differently in the past tense. So, while I may not have covered these in a post yet, be aware of them.

The main reason for the content in this post was because I was not happy at all with how I had explained these topics in older posts, which have since been deleted. I wanted to re-explain these concepts again, the right way, especially since verb conjugations pave the way for so many different sectors of the French language. Since I was on school vacation when I wrote this, I had extra time, so I was able to delve into many more areas of verbs (and I can assure you that most of this post was new material). And no worries, the contents of this post are also available on my Quizlet account, which can be accessed by clicking the Quizlet icon below.

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Conjugating -ER and -RE Verbs


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Talking in Tense: -RE and -IR Verbs

Thanks so much for reading!

Gabe

 

 

3 thoughts on “French Connection: Conjugating ER, IR, and RE Verbs

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