Easy Learning French

The present tense: irregular verbs - Easy Learning Grammar French

  • Some verbs in French do not follow the normal rules. These verbs include some very common and important verbs like avoir (meaning to have), être (meaning to be), faire (meaning to do, to make) and aller (meaning to go). The present tense of these four verbs is given in full below.
  • For Verb tables, see supplement.

1 The present tense of avoir

PronounavoirMeaning: to have
j’aiI have
tuasyou have
il
elle
on
ahe/she/it/one has
nousavonswe have
vousavezyou have
ils
elles
ontthey have
J’ai deux sœurs.I have two sisters.
Il a les yeux bleus.He has blue eyes.
Elle a trois ans.She’s three.
Qu’est-ce qu’il y a?What’s the matter?

2 The present tense of être

PronounêtreMeaning: to be
jesuisI am
tuesyou are
il
elle
on
esthe/she/it/one is
noussommeswe are
vousêtesyou are
ils
elles
sontthey are
Je suis heureux.I’m happy.
Mon père est instituteur.My father’s a primary school teacher.
Il est deux heures.It’s two o’clock.

3 The present tense of faire

PronounfaireMeaning: to do, to make
jefaisI do/make
I am doing/making
tufaisyou do/make
you are doing/making
il
elle
on
faithe/she/it/one does/makes
he/she/it/one is doing/making
nousfaisonswe do/make
we are doing/making
vousfaitesyou do/make
you are doing/making
ils
elles
fontthey do/make
they are doing/making
Je fais un gâteau.I’m making a cake.
Qu’est-ce que tu fais?What are you doing?
Il fait chaud.It’s hot.
Ça ne fait rien.It doesn’t matter.

4 The present tense of aller

PronounallerMeaning: to go
jevaisI go
I am going
tuvasyou go
you are going
il
elle
on
vahe/she/it/one goes
he/she/it/one is going
nousallonswe go
we are going
vousallezyou go
you are going
ils
elles
vontthey go
they are going
Je vais à Londres.I’m going to London.
‘Comment allez-vous?’ – ‘Je vais bien.’‘How are you?’ – ‘I’m fine.’
‘Comment ça va?’ – ‘Ça va bien.’‘How are you?’ – ‘I’m fine.’

5 Irregular -ir verbs

  • Many irregular verbs that end in -ir, such as partir (meaning to go) and tenir (meaning to hold), have a common pattern in the singular. The je and tu forms often end in -s, and the il/elle/on form often ends in -t.
Pronounpartirtenir
jeparstiens
tuparstiens
il/elle/onparttient
Je pars demain.I’m leaving tomorrow.
Elle tient le bébé.She is holding the baby.
  • For Verb tables, see supplement.
Key points
  • Some very important French verbs are irregular, including avoir, être, faire and aller. They are worth learning in full.
  • The -s, -s, -t pattern occurs frequently in irregular -ir verbs.

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