French Verb Essayer Present Tense

Why do verbs in French change so much? Get clarification on the rules for conjugating the most common French verbs from French tutor Carol Beth L….

Verb conjugations are the bane of some French students who are not accustomed to the constantly changing verb endings in English. To be sure, we do conjugate our verbs. We add -ed for the past:

“I look”  becomes “I looked.”

We add -s to in the singular third person:

“I run,” becomes “he runs.”

But often times, English verbs are a little more constant than their French equivalents. For example:

I do je fais
we do nous faisons
they do vous faites

French grammar is not totally unpredictable, however. Most French verbs actually follow regular patterns according to three groupings: verbs ending in -er, in -ir, and in -re. Of these three groups, -er verbs are by far the most common. Sometimes people will even create their own verbs by adding -er to another common word! A few examples of regular -er verbs include:

aimer to like
chercher to search or look for
compter to count
conseiller to advise
continuer to continue
donner to give
écouter to listen (to)
parler to talk
sauter to jump
tutoyer to address someone using “tu”
vousvoyer to address someone using “vous”
essayer to try
encourager to encourage
nager to swim
manger to eat

In the present tense, these verbs are conjugated by removing the -er ending and adding different endings (see the bold below) for each subject pronoun as follows:

je (I) parle
tu (you singular) parles
il / elle / on (he / she / one) parle
nous (we) parlons
vous (you plural) parlez
ils / elles (they) parlent

There are two exceptions of which to be aware (and dedicated students of French know that French loves exceptions). The first involves those -er verbs ending in -ger. As in English, French pronunciation includes the concept of the hard and soft “g.” Like us, the French often denote their soft “g”’s by adding an -e after the -g. For the “nous” forms of such verbs, the ending therefore changes from -ons to -eons. For example, the correct “nous” form of “encourager” is not “encouragons,” but “encourageons.”

The second involves those verbs ending in -yer. For English nouns ending in -y, the plural form changes -y to -i and adds -es. Likewise here, -yer verbs will change -y to -i in addition to replacing -er with the appropriate ending – except (because French loves exceptions!) for the nous and vous forms. For example, the verb “essayer” would be conjugated as follows:

J’ essaie
Tu essaies
Il / elle / on essaie
Nous essayons
Vous essayez
Ils / elles essaient

The second largest category in French, -ir verbs, include:

choisir to choose
finir to finish
grossir to gain weight
maigrir to lose weight
réussir to succeed
rougir to blush
vieillir to grow old(er)

In the present tense, they are conjugated by removing the -ir and adding the endings in bold in the example below:

Je finis
Tu finis
Il / elle / on finit
Nous finissons
Vous finissez
Ils / elles finissent

Some common -ir verbs are irregular, such as sortir (to go out) and venir (to come). Most are conjugated as above.

The third and smallest group of regular verbs ends in -re, and include:

rendre to return
entendre to hear
attendre to wait (for)
perdre to lose
défendre to forbid

In the present tense, they are conjugated by removing the -re and adding the endings in the example below:

Je rends
Tu rends
Il / elle / on rend
Nous rendons
Vous rendez
Ils / elles rendent

As with the other groupings, there are some irregular -re verbs, such as prendre (to take), connaitre (to be familiar with), lire (to read), mettre (to put down), and boire (to drink).

To practice our French grammar, let’s try a few examples. In each of the following sentences, try to conjugate the correct form of the verb in parenthesis:

1) Nous _____________ (compter) de 1 à 100.
We count from 1 to 100.

2) Vous _____________ (finir) vos devoirs.
You are finishing your homework.

3) Je _____________ (conseiller) les étudiants de francais de visiter la France au moins une fois.
I advise all French students to visit France at least once.

4) Ils _____________ (parler) avec leurs amis.
They talk with their friends.

5) Tu _____________ (maigrir)!
You are losing weight!

6) Elle _____________ (nager) tous les jours.
She swims every day.

7) Je _____________ (rendre) le livre à la bibliothèque.
I am returning the book to the library.

8) Nous _____________ (encourager) les uns les autres.
We encourage each other.

9) Tu _____________ (chercher) ton livre de francais.
You are looking for your French book.

Want to check your answers? Here they are:

1) comptons
2) finissez
3) conseille
4) parlent
5) maigris
6) nage
7) rends
8) encourageons
9) cherches

Practice makes perfect, so keep on practicing with your tutor and checking yourself. Check out this list of common regular French verbs for even more vocabulary to practice. Soon enough, you’ll be the expert!

Study more French verbs – check out our Ultimate French Verb Guide!

 

Post Author: Carol Beth L.
Carol Beth teaches French lessons in San Francisco, CA. She has her Masters in French language education from the Sorbonne University in Paris and has been teaching since 2009. Learn more about Carol Beth here!

 

 

Photo by Thomas D. 

Related

Present Tense-

E R Spelling Change Verbs, Part 2-

We will now learn to conjugate in the present tense several E R verbs that have spelling changes in their stem. Some examples include: acheter (to buy), appeler (to call), essayer (to try), and préférer (to prefer). In the present tense, spelling change verbs will typically have one stem in all singular forms (je, tu, il, elle, on) and the third person plural (ils, elles). But, in the nous and vous forms of the plural, they will have another stem.

Here is the verb acheter conjugated in the present tense. Be sure to listen for the è sound in all singular forms (je, tu, il, elle, on) and in the third person plural (ils, elles). However, in the nous and vous forms of the plural, please note that the vowel sound is silent.

acheter-English Translation-
j'achèteI buy, am buying
tu achètesyou (familiar) buy, are buying
il, elle, on achètehe, she, one buys, is buying
nous achetonswe buy, are buying
vous achetezyou buy, are buying
ils, elles achètentthey buy, are buying-

The following verbs are conjugated like acheter: amener (to bring or take -- when talking about a person), emmener (to take along, to take someone somewhere), and peser (to weigh)

Now, listen to your screen reader conjugate the verb appeler:

appeler-English Translation-
j'appelleI call
tu appellesyou (familiar) call
il, elle, on appellehe, she, one calls
nous appelonswe call
vous appelezyou call
ils, elles appellent they call-

The verbs renouveler (to renew), and étinceler (to sparkle, glitter), are conjugated like appeler. You will notice that the letter e which is right next to a double l in the singular and the third-person plural stems is pronounced like an è. In French, this open sound is sometimes depicted in writing by an è. However, this same sound is represented in other verbs by a double l or even a double t as in the verbs jeter (to throw), projeter (to plan), and rejeter (to reject, throw back).





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