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Être Verbs

In French, compound tenses are formed with the help of auxiliary ‘avoir’ or ‘être’. So French verbs are classified by which auxiliary verb they take (they are used with one and the same auxiliary in all the compound tenses).
Well, most of the verbs use ‘avoir’, and the short list of those requiring ‘être’ is easy to remember:


All the verbs are intransitive (can’t take direct object) denoting some kind of movement.
NB! Derivatives of these verbs also use ‘être’.
If you find it difficult to remember the verbs, here’s a mnemonics for you (Dr and Mrs Vandertramp):

    Devenir
    Revenir
    &
    Monter
    Rester
    Sortir

    Venir
    Aller
    Naître
    Descendre
    Entrer
    Rentrer
    Tomber
    Retourner
    Arriver
    Mourir
    Partir

Though it includes some derivatives, the mnemonics is rather helpful, I think. (If you know a better one – please, share 🙂
And, of course, all pronominal verbs use être (+ ‘s’ in the end (for Pl))
To check your grip on être verbs click here.
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Another tricky question is where to put pronoun in a sentence with imperative form of pronominal verbs (verbs with ‘se’), such as se laver (wash oneself)
At first recall the conjugation of such verbs:
je me lave nous nous lavons
tu te lave vous vous lavez
il se lave ils se lavent
Je ne me lave pas.
And here are imperative forms:
And here is the list of mostly used pronominal verbs.

It’s difficult for me to remember that some adverbs in French go before the predicative. But they do.. So I should keep these adverbs in mind:

bien (already) J’ai bien entendu.
mal (bad(ly), poorly) J’ai mal préparé.
beaucoup (a lot) Il’a beaucoup changé.
assez (enough) Elle a assez vu.
peu (little) Ils ont peu fait.
trop (too much) J’ai trop mangé.
rien (nothing) Il n’a rien dit.
jamais (never) Je ne l’ai jamais vu.
encore (as well) Je ai encore visité le Louvre.
déjà (already) J’ai déjà acheté ce journal.

En

If in the question the noun is used with an indefinite article we can use adverbial pronoun ‘en’ before the predicate in the answer.

As tu un frère?

Je n’en ai pas.
J’en ai un.
‘En’ = ‘some’, ‘any’ or ‘one’.
‘En’ is used instead of partitive article + noun or de+indefinite article+ noun.
Y-a-t-il beaucoup de pommes?

Il y en a beaucoup.
Avez-vous des allunettes?
J’en ai.
Faut-il acter des pommes?
Achetez-en!
NB! Partitive article in French has four forms and = ‘some’, ‘any’.
  • du masculine Sg
  • de la feminine Sg
  • de l’ m or f in front of a vowel or silent h
  • des m or f Pl

Several months of not practicing French and I can’t recall how to say “you do” 🙂 So, this table helps me a lot.
(The most stubborn forms that refuse to be kept in my head are marked pink. Probably, you’ve got problems with them, too..)
In French there are three verbs with unusual forms for the second person- they end on ‘s. These three guys are être, faire and dire. The forms for ‘you V’ are êtes, faites and dites.

Verbs Conjugator

When you’ve got access to the Internet this site is the quickest way to check a verb conjugation.

And here is a deconjugator 🙂