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Present Tense and Irregular Verbs

Unlike regular verbs, irregular verbs do not follow a rule and their conjugation must be learnt.

ÊTRE (to be), AVOIR (to have), FAIRE (to do/ to make) and ALLER (to go) are the 4 most important irregular verbs to know.

Here are their conjugation in the present tense:


Mon père est heureux. (My father is happy)

J'ai deux sœurs et un frère. (I have two sisters and a brother)

Nous allons au parc tous les jours. (We go to the park everyday)

Vous faites nos devoirs. (You are doing your homework)

Note that:

AVOIR is used in French when giving someone's age

J'ai dix-huit ans. (I'm 18 years old)

AVOIR is also used to say that you are hot/ cold/ hungry/ thirsty

J'ai soif et j'ai faim. (I'm thirsty and I'm hungry)

Irregular -IR verbs

Many irregular verbs that end in -IR, such as VENIR (to come), TENIR (to hold), COURIR (to run), PARTIR (to leave), MENTIR (to lie), (SE) SENTIR (to feel/ to smell), (SE) SERVIR (to use/ to serve) and SORTIR (to go out) have a common pattern in the singular forms.

The je and tu forms often end in -s, and the il/elle/on form often ends in -t.


Tu pars de la maison. (You are leaving the house)

Il tient le bébé. (He is holding the baby)

Other important verbs are written in full below:

1.POUVOIR (to be able to), DEVOIR (to have to) and VOULOIR (to want)


Elles ne peuvent pas venir. (They can't come)

Je dois faire mes devoirs. (I have to do my homework)

Nous voulons acheter une voiture. (We want to buy a car)

2. BOIRE (to drink), CROIRE (to believe) and VOIR (to see)


Vous buvez un café. (You are drinking a coffee)

Je ne crois pas la connaître (I don't believe I know her)

Il ne voit pas la voiture rouge . (He doesn't see the red car)

3. METTRE (to put), PRENDRE (to take) 


Je mets un manteau (I am putting on a coat)

Nous prenons des médicaments (we are taking medicine)

Note that:

Derivatives of permettre, such as PROMETTRE, SOUMETTRE, ADMETTRE, COMMETTRE, TRANSMETTRE are conjugated in the same way.

Derivatives of prendre, such as APPRENDRE, COMPRENDRE, ENTREPRENDRE, REPRENDRE, SURPRENDRE are conjugated in the same way.

4. SAVOIR (to know), CONNAÎTRE (to know) 


Je ne sais pas (I don't know)

Nous ne la connaissons pas (we don't know her)

Note that:

Savoir and connaître both mean "to know".

Savoir is used for facts or how to do something

Connaître is used for people, places or areas of study

5. DIRE (to say), LIRE (to read), RIRE (to laugh) and ÉCRIRE (to write)


Ne dis rien! (Don't say anything!)

Elle lit un roman (She is reading a novel)

Nous rions beaucoup (We are laughing a lot)

Tu écris une lettre (You are writing a letter)


For French A Level students with any exam board:

Year 1:

Year 2:

Click on the images to check the workbooks out!

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