Easy Learning French

The present tense: regular -er (first conjugation) verbs - Easy Learning Grammar French

  • If an infinitive in French ends in -er, it means the verb belongs to the first conjugation, for example, donner, aimer, parler.
  • To know which form of the verb to use in French, you need to work out what the stem of the verb is and then add the correct ending. The stem of-er verbs in the present tense is formed by taking the infinitive and chopping off -er.
InfinitiveStem (without -er)
donner (to give)donn-
aimer (to like, to love)aim-
parler (to speak, to talk)parl-
  • Now you know how to find the stem of a verb, you can add the correct ending. Which one you choose will depend on whether you are referring to je, tu, il, elle, on, nous, vous, ils or elles.
  • For more information on Pronouns, see Pronouns.
  • Here are the present tense endings for -er verbs:
PronounEndingAdd to stem, e.g. donn-Meanings
je (j’)-eje donneI give
I am giving
tu-estu donnesyou give
you are giving
-eil donne
elle donne
on donne
he/she/it/one gives
he/she/it/one is
nous-onsnous donnonswe give
we are giving
vous-ezvous donnezyou give
you are giving
-entils donnent
elles donnent
they give
they are giving
Marie regarde la télé.Marie is watching TV.
Le train arrive à deux heures.The train arrives at 2 o’clock.
Tipje changes to j’ in front of a word starting with a vowel (a, e, i, o or u), most words starting with h, and the French word y.
Key points
  • Verbs ending in -er belong to the first conjugation and form their present tense stem by losing the -er from the infinitive.
  • The present tense endings for -er verbs are: -e, -es, -e, -ons, -ez, -ent.

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