French Lesson 14

Regular –ir Verbs

Regular -ir verbs drops the –ir and have the stems as follows:

ImperativesUses present tenses of tu, nous, and vous, removes subject pronoun
  • bâtir: to build
  • choisir: to choose
  • finir: to finish
  • réfléchir (à): to think
  • remplir: to fill
  • grandir: to grow up
  • nourrir: to nourish, to feed
  • obéir (à): to obey
  • punir: to punish
  • réussir (à): to succeed (in), to pass)

Regular -re Verbs

Regular -er verbs drops the -er and have the stems as follows:

ImperativesUses present tenses of tu, nous, and vous, removes subject pronoun
  • attendre: to wait for
  • descendre: to go down
  • perdre: to lose
  • répondre: to answer
  • dépendre: to depend
  • entendre: to hear
  • rendre: to give back
  • vendre: to sell


Basic negated sentences are ne… pas, but those are way too simple to say the least. There are other basic negative constructions in the list below with and when to use them.

  • ne… pas (du tout): not (at all)
    • Is used when the sentence is not a positive sentence
  • ne… plus: no longer
    • This is indicated when encore and toujours (still) are used.
  • ne… jamais: never
    • This is indicated when quelquefois, souvent and toujours (always) are used.
  • ne… rien: nothing
    • This is indicated when quelque chose, and tout are used.
  • ne… personne: no one
    • This is indicated when quelqu’un, and tout le monde are used.
  • ne… pas encore: not yet
    • This is indicated when it is not a positive sentence, or déjà is used
  • ne.. ni… ni: neither… nor…
    • This is indicated when … et… ou… are used.
  • ne… que: only
    • Is used when the sentence is not a positive sentence
  • ne… nulle part: nowhere
    • This is indicated when partout (everywhere), and quelque part (somewhere) are used.

Rien and Personne are pronouns and they may be used as the subject or object in a sentence, therefore, placed where the normal subject/object pronoun would go.

When sentences are negated the indefinite and partitive articles become de, however, the definite article is not changed.

Si is used instead of oui to confirm a negative question.

How Are Questions Formed?

Basic Question Patterns

Est-ce que

The easiest and most straight forward way to ask a question. Use Est-ce que. This is placed at the beginning of the sentence and requires no change in word order.


The subject of a sentence is a pronoun, and by inverting both the subject and the verb a question may be formed.

N’est-ce pas? ou non?

In a declarative sentence, you can use n’est-ce pas or non at the end in order to form a question when conformation of a statement is the aim.

Reflexive and Reciprocal Verbs

Reflexive verbs has reflexive pronouns located at the beginning of the verb. They refer to the subject of the verb, and it indicates the subject as performing an action on or for itself. It is typically placed after the subject and directly before the verb.


Here is a list of commonly used reflexive verbs:

  • se réveiller (to wake [oneself] up)
  • s’arrêter (to stop)
  • se brosser (to brush)
  • se coucher (to go to bed)
  • se détendre (to relax)
  • se fâcher (to become angry)
  • s’habiller (to get dressed)
  • se laver (to wash)
  • se lever (to get up)
  • se moquer de (to make fun of)
  • se peigner (to comb)
  • se raser (to shave)
  • se reposer (to rest)

When a vowel is present me,te, and se lose their e’s.

The reflexive verb always goes prior to the infinitive verb when used, and must agree in gender and number to the subject and conjugated verb.

An affirmative imperative sees the verb going in front of the reflexive verb, and when the familiar structure is used toi is used instead of te.

When a negative imperative is used, ne is placed before the reflexive pronoun, and pas is after verb form.

When using inversion to form a question ensure that the subject pronoun is only inverted, and the reflexive pronoun remains in the normal position. Est-ce que is the easiest way to forma question with a reflexive verb.

Reciprocal Verbs are the reflexive verbs for the plurals nous, vous, and ils, which indicate two or more persons do something or performing an action.

Below are a list of verbs that change when they are used in a reflexive manner

aller (to go)s’en aller (to go away)
amuser (to amuse)s’amuser (to have a good time)
débrouiller (to straighten out)se débrouiller (to get by, to manage)
demander (to ask)se demander (to wonder)
dépêcher (to send quickly)se dépêcher (to hurry)
ennuyer (to bother)s’ennuyer (to get bored)
entendre (to hear)s’entendre (to get along)
habituer (to familiarize)s’habituer à (to get used to)
inquiéter (to disturb)s’inquiéter (de) (to worry [about])
rendre compte (to account for)se rendre compte de (to realize)
tromper (to deceive)se tromper (to be wrong)

Irregular -oir Verbs

vouloir (to want)pouvoir (to be able to)voir (to see) recevoir (to receive)devoir (to have to, to owe)savoir (to know)

Falloir, Valoir mieux, pleuvoir (to rain) [il pleut] are used imp-ersonally only in the third person form, but may be used in any tense.

Falloir (to have to, to be necessary) il faut, and valoir mieux ( to be better) il vaut mieux are followed by an infinitive verb.

Falloir is more general and a stronger than devoir. They are both interchangable, and il faut is used with a object pronoun making it more personal. Il me faut.

Valoir la peine (to be worth the trouble) the subject of which will always be a thing, and never a person. Used only in the third-person singular.

Idioms Using Être and Avoir


  • être à l’heure: to be on time
  • être de retour: to be back
  • être en retard: to be late
  • être en train de: to be in the process of


Physical Conditions
  • avoir ___ ans (to be ____ years old)
  • avoir chaud (to be hot)
  • avoir froid (to be cold)
  • avoir faim (to be hungry)
  • avoir l’air (to seem)
  • avoir mal à (to have an ache, pain)
  • avoir soif (to be thirsty)
  • avoir sommeil (to be sleepy)
Psychological States
  • avoir besoin de (to need)
  • avoir envie de (to feel like)
  • avoir honte de (to be ashamed of)
  • avoir peur de (to be afraid of)
  • avoir raison (de) (to be right)
  • avoir tort (de) (to be wrong)
  • avoir lieu (to take place)
  • avoir de la chance (to be lucky)
  • avoir l’occasion/ la possibilité de (to have the opportunity)

Depuis + Present Tense

When depuis is used it is used to mean for when and then it is followed by an expression of time. When it is used in the present tense, it represents an event that occured in the past, but is still ongoing in the present tense.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: