French Verbs: General introduction

Today we introduce the basic elements of French verbs. Generally all French verbs have to be conjugated. The forms (endings) of the verbs are determined by their subject. For example, in English the verb is conjugated mostly in the third person (i.e. I am, you are, he is; I go, you go, she/he goes; I talk, you talk, he/she talks, etc). We can take the liberty to say that the verbs in the English language have only three basic conjugations (i.e. I am, you are, he/she is). Further examples: I am, you are,  he/she is               I go, you go, he/she goes           I dance, you dance, he/she dances


However, verbs in French are classified into groups or categories.  There are three basic groups of verbs in French. Once you know the conjugation pattern for a category you will be able to conjugate the majority of verbs belong to that category. In other words, each group has its conjugation pattern.  As a result, it will be important to learn the basic paradigm for all three categories respectively. That will save a lot of headaches in the future.  The following are the major groups or categories:

  1. er verbs , the verbs belonging to the first category have an “er” ending in the infinitive.   

Envoyer = to send             Habiter = to dwell, to reside                   Donner = to give

  1. ir verbs, second group verbs have an “ir” ending in the infinitive.

Servir = to serve                      Finir = to finish                    Courrir= to run

  1. re verbs, third group verbs have an “re” ending in the infitive.

Mettre = to put             Vendre = to sell                           Rendre= to give back, to return (something)