The French Present Tense: Talk About What’s Happening Now with Le Présent


Learning French is a little like a young child’s journey in discovering how to stroll, run, avoid, and scale walls. Mastering today tense in French belongs to taking your really initial steps.

From presenting yourself to requesting the time, today tense is a vital part of communicating in French from the first day. Listed below, we’ll take a thorough take a look at how you can quickly and successfully utilize today tense in French, together with how to conjugate the most typical kinds of verbs.

Rosetta Stone’s immersive lessons can assist you master French rapidly and successfully– without the laborious memorization. Plus, TruAccent can assist you sound incredible from your really first lesson!

What is today tense in French?

The present tense explains the method we conjugate verbs to show things that are presently taking place or are normally real. You might see it called today a sign state of mind; in either case it’s simply the name for things that are present or accurate truth, instead of theoretical scenarios or commands.

When to utilize today tense?

The French present tense is comparable in numerous methods to today tense in English. It can be utilized to reveal:

  • actions that are presently taking place

Je vais au supermarché. = I am going to the shop.

  • states of being that are presently real

Mon copain est en slow down. = My buddy is late.

  • declarations that are normally real

En été, il fait chaud. = It’s hot in the summer season.

Je vais au supermarché le dimanche. = I go to the supermarket on Sundays.

Elle étudie le français depuis cinq ans. = She has actually been studying French for 5 years.

( You can just utilize today tense if the regular action continues to hold true. if you’re speaking about something you did routinely as a kid however do not do any longer, you will not utilize today tense.)

  • actions that will take place

Il apporte le gâteau à la soirée. = He is bringing the cake to the celebration.

  • You will likewise see it utilized to inform historic stories. While English-language books might speak about the storming of the Bastille as what took place, French texts normally provide it as what is taking place at that minute in history.

One remarkable function of French is that there’s truly just one present tense to discover. In English, to totally reveal today tense you require to be able to state:

  • something take place s
  • something does take place and
  • something is taking place

In French, all of that is communicated withone present tense verb conjugation Je parle can be equated as “I talk,” “I am talking,” or “I do talk.” As an English speaker, it is necessary to keep in mind that French truly does not utilize assisting verbs for today tense.

How to conjugate today tense in French (routine verbs)

Conjugating verbs in French includes patterns, so let’s speak about the parts of a verb and what patterns you can be on the lookout for.

An infinitive verb has no markers to reveal what tense it’s in or who is doing the action. The comparable in English is “to talk,” “to be,” or “to desire.” We can include an ending and set it with a pronoun to consider that details. “ She talk s” Now we understand who is talking which it’s taking place now, not in the previous or the future. Since their endings assist us recognize what patterns to utilize for conjugation in French verb tenses, French infinitive verbs are beneficial. All verbs have a root or stem at the start, and an ending that’s normally the last 2 letters. The most foreseeable patterns are for verbs ending in -ER, -IR, or -RE. The verb

parlerconjugate a French verb in the present tense “to talk”: the root is most common parl

and the ending is


, revealing you this is an -ER verb. If a verb is routine, now that you understand it’s an -ER verb, you likewise understand what ending to include for any kind of today tense. If you’ve studied other languages, you might understand that the verb endings suggest who is doing the action. This is likewise real in French; there is a particular ending to utilize for each topic. Numerous of those endings are noticable the very same method, so you can’t hear the various endings when speaking. Much like in English, you should consist of a subject pronoun together with your verb. To

, you will normally drop the last 2 letters from the infinitive and include the ending that is proper for the topic. Let’s have a look at the kinds of French verbs and see how they are conjugated.

– RE verbs– RE verbs are normally routine in today tense, so they are a fantastic location to start discovering present tense conjugations. For any routine verb, begin by dropping the last 2 letters of the infinitive verb. Include the verb ending that matches the proper topic. Note that for some verbs, the il, elle, on kind in fact does not have a brand-new ending; simply drop the last 2 letters of the infinitive and you’re done. répondre — to react, to address je répond
s I response nous répond ons we response tu répond
s you response vous répond ez you response (official, plural)

il/elle/on répond

  • he/she/it responses
  • ils/elles répond ent
  • they response
  • Here are some other verbs conjugated the very same method: J’entends la chanson.
  • = I hear the tune. Est-ce que tu vends ta voiture?
  • = Are you offering your vehicle? Il perd toujours ses clés.

= He constantly loses his secrets. Vous rendez le livre à la bibliothèque. = You return the book to the library.

Nous répondons à la concern.

= We do address the concern.

Elles attendent le bus. = They are awaiting the bus.

Beware! Attendre just implies “to wait” in French. It never ever implies “to participate in.”– IR verbs Most -IR verbs are routine. To conjugate them in today tense, much like with -RE verbs, drop the last 2 letters of the verb and include the proper ending. As you can see, routine -IR verb endings are a bit longer than -RE endings. finir — to complete je fin
is I surface nous fin issons we surface tu fin
is you surface (casual) vous fin issez you surface (official, plural) il/elle/on fin


  • he/she/it surfaces
  • ils/elles fin issent
  • they surface
  • Here are some examples of -IR verbs in reality. Je choisis ce publication.
  • = I am picking this publication. Tu grandis beaucoup!
  • = You are truly maturing!/ You are getting a lot taller! Le chaton grossit tous les jours.

= The kittycat puts on weight every day.

Est-ce que les ours maigrissent en hiver?

= Do bears get thinner in the winter season? Elle agit couragement.

= She acts courageously. Vous réfléchissez avant de répondre. = You think/reflect before addressing.– ER verbs The most typical kind of verbs in French are -ER verbs. A lot of -ER verbs are routine, so let’s begin with those. parler — to speak, to talk je parl
e I talk nous parl ons we talk tu parl
es you talk (casual) vous parl ez you talk (official, or plural) il/elle/on parl


  • he/she/it talks
  • ils/elles parl ent
  • they talk
  • Here are some more examples of -ER verbs in today tense. Je mange un sandwich.
  • = I am consuming a sandwich. Tu regardes la télévision.
  • = You enjoy tv. Sandrine chante.

= Sandrine is singing.

Nous parlons anglais.

= We do speak English.

Est-ce que vous étudiez le français?

= Do you study French? Ils posent des concerns.

= They do ask concerns. Exceptions in -ER verbs There are a couple of kinds of -ER verbs that follow the routine ending patterns however have modifications in the stem in today tense. Usually, if a verb stem ends in a single consonant, the stem will alter in today tense to accommodate French grammar and pronunciation conventions. Accented -ER verbs The most typical irregular stem takes the addition of an accent tomb on the last “e” on the verb stem. Here is an example of a stem altering -ER verb: acheter — to purchase j’ achèt
e I buy nous achet ons we buy tu achèt
es you buy (casual) vous achet ez you buy (official, plural il/elle/on achèt


he/she/ it

  • purchases ils/elles achèt
  • ent they
  • buy Notice that the verb endings are precisely the like routine -ER verbs.
  • Here are some other verbs that have this stem modification: Je célèbre heap anniversaire.
  • = I am commemorating your birthday. Tu considères l’idée.
  • = You think about the concept. Est-ce qu’il préfère la plage?

= Does he choose the beach?

Elle lève la primary. = She raises her hand. Elle emmène sa sœur à la fête. = She brings her sis to the celebration. Ils amènent leur copain à l’aéroport. = They take their buddy to the airport. Doubling -ER verbs There are a handful of stem altering -ER verbs that double the last consonant in the verb stem rather of including an accent. The most typical of these verbs are appeler ( to call) and comparable verbs like rappeler

(to remember or to keep in mind), along with jeter

( to toss, to discard) and comparable verbs like rejeter (to turn down) and projeter (to job, to toss). appeler — to call j’ appell
e I call nous appel ons we call tu appell
es you call (casual) vous appel ez you call (official, plural) il/elle/on appell

e he/she/it calls ils/elles appell

ent they

call Appeler is a specifically beneficial verb for starting students since it’s utilized in intros. Je m’ appelle is normally equated as “My name is” however it actually implies “I call myself.” jeter — to toss je jett
e I toss nous jet ons we toss tu jett
es you toss (casual) vous jet ez you toss (official, plural) il/elle/on jett


  • he/she/it tosses
  • ils/elles jett ent
  • they toss
  • For example: Je m’ appelle Marie.
  • = My name is Marie. (Literally, “I call myself Marie.”) Tu t’ appelles comment?
  • = What is your name? (actually, “How do you call yourself?) Il rappelle ce livre.

= He keeps in mind that book.

Nous jetons les ordures. = We do discard the garbage. Vous rejetez cette tip. = You are turning down that tip. Les enfants projettent le ballon.

= The kids are tossing the ball. Verbs ending in -YER

The last group of stem altering -ER verbs end in -YER. These verbs alter their “y” to an “i” for all topics other than nous and vous envoyer — to send out j’ envoi
e I send out nous envoy ons we send out tu envoi
es you send out (casual) vous envoy ez you send out (official, plural) il/elle/on envoi


  • he/she/it tosses
  • ils/elles envoi ent
  • they send out
  • Here are some other verbs that follow this pattern. Je nettoie ma chambre.
  • = I am cleaning my space. L’école emploie des profs.

= The school utilizes instructors. Tu appuies le bouton. = You do press the button. Ils essaient d’étudier.= They are attempting to study. Est-ce qu’elle paie l’addition? = Is she footing the bill? * For -AYER verbs, the stem modification is thought about optional, so you can compose ils essaient


ils essayent


elle paie or

elle paye

Both are similarly proper. Irregular verbs Some verbs are entirely irregular; although you might see some resemblances in endings with routine verbs, the endings and the stems are not routine adequate to come from another group. There are numerous irregular verbs that French speakers utilize daily, so it’s crucial to master them and be simply as comfy utilizing them as routine verbs. Aller Aller implies “to go.” You might see this verb ends in “er,” however it is not conjugated like other -ER verbs. aller– to go je
vais I go nous allons we go tu
vas you go (casual) vous allez you go (official, plural) il/elle/on
  • va he/she/it
  • goes ils/elles
  • vont they
  • go Je vais au travail.
  • = I am going to work. Tu vas au cinéma.
  • = You are going to the films. Cette jupe va bien avec heap chemisier.

= That skirt complements your t-shirt.

Est-ce que nous allons ensemble? = Are we fitting? Vous allez au cinéma. = You are going to the films. Les enfants vont à l’école. = The kids go to school. Avoir Avoir

actually implies “to have,” however it is likewise utilized in numerous idiomatic expressions. In English we might state, “I am starving.” “I hesitate.” or “I am twenty years of ages.” In French you have appetite , have worry , and have twenty years Here is today tense conjugation. avoir — to have j’ ai I have nous allons we have tu as you

  • have (casual) vous
  • allez you
  • have (official, plural) il/elle/on
  • a he/she/it
  • have ils/elles
  • ont they


J’ai le livre. = I do have the book.

Est-ce que tu as peur des araignées? = Are you scared of spiders?

Elle a faim.= She is starving. (actually, “She has appetite.”) Nous avons beaucoup d’amis. = We have a great deal of buddies. Vous avez une salade. = You have a salad. Les frères ont vingt ans. = The siblings are 20 years old.
Faire Faire implies “to make” or “to do” so it’s utilized really regularly in French. In addition to the majority of the very same contexts as English, faire is typically utilized idiomatically, specifically to explain activities. faire — to make, to do je fai s I
do nous fais ons we do tu fai s you
  • do (casual) vous fait
  • es you
  • do (official, plural) il/elle/on fai
  • t he/she/it does
  • ils/elles f ont
  • they do

Je fais mon travail. = I do my work. Tu fais la food.

  • = You are cooking. Il fait chaud aujourd’ hui.
  • = It’s hot today. Nous faisons du vélo. = We are biking.
  • Est-ce que vous faites le dîner? = Are you making supper?

Elles typeface la lessive.

  • = They are doing laundry. Be mindful not to utilize faire to reveal focus. In English we might include “do” as an assistant verb to highlight that we remain in truth finishing a particular action, however in French, focus is shown by duplicating the topic of the sentence rather.

Nous aimons heap chapeau orange.

= We like your orange hat. Nous aimons heap chapeau orange, nous! = We do like your orange hat! conjugating it Je lis mes courriels.

= I read my e-mails./ I read my e-mails./ I do read my e-mails. (neutral)

Je lis mes courriels, moi! = I do read my e-mails! (emphatic) Être As the verb “to be,” être is a necessary French verb, however it is really irregular. Take note, specifically to the
vous kind to make certain you’re properly. être — to be je suis I
am nous sommes we are tu es you are (casual)
  • vous êtes
  • you are (official, plural)
  • il/elle/on est
  • he/she/it is
  • ils/elles sont
  • they


  • Je suis américaine. = I am American.
  • Tu es grand. = You are high.

Elle est actrice.

= She is a starlet. Nous sommes à l’heure. = We are on time. Vous êtes sympa. = You are good. Est-ce qu’ils sont tristes?

= Are they unfortunate? Like “do,” take care not to attempt to use “is” in the idiomatic methods you would in English. “Is” can be utilized as an assisting verb in English to reveal something that remains in the procedure of taking place, however French does not utilize assisting verbs in today tense. Elle se promène. = She strolls./ She is strolling. Je vais au parc. = I go to the park./ I am going to the park. Prendre Prendre

implies “to take.” It is mainly equated the very same method as English, however it remains in 2 typical idioms. In French, you take a choice

rather of deciding, and you take a meal rather of eating (like in English, you can likewise state you are consuming a meal.) Prendre is likewise the prototype for comparable verbs like apprendre (to discover), comprendre
(to comprehend), and surprendre (to surprise). prendre — to take je prend s I
take nous pren ons we take tu prend s
  • you take (casual)
  • vous pren ez
  • you take (plural, official)
  • il/elle/on prend he/she/it
  • takes ils/elles pren
  • nent they


Je prends le train. = I am taking the train. Est-ce que tu prends le petit déjeuner?

= Are you having breakfast? Il prend une décision.

= He is deciding. Nous apprenons le français. = We are discovering French. Vous comprenez bien. = You comprehend well. Elles surprennent leur copine. = They are unexpected their buddy. Irregular -IR verbs
Although the huge bulk of -IR verbs are routine, there are a couple of irregular ones. To conjugate these verbs with plural topics, drop the last 2 letters of the infinitive as normal. For particular topics, drop the last 3 letters before including the proper ending. partir — to leave je par s I
leave nous part ons we leave tu par s you

leave (casual)

  • vous part ez
  • you leave (official, plural)
  • il/elle/on par t
  • he/she/it leaves
  • ils/elles part ent
  • they leave

Some more examples:

Je sers le café. = I am serving the coffee. Tu sors ce soir. = You are heading out this evening. Le petit garçon dort avec boy nounours.

= The little young boy sleeps with his teddy bear. Nous sentons bien.

= We do feel excellent. Est-ce que vous mentez? = Are you lying? Elles courent tous les jours. = They run every day. – OIR verbs
Verbs ending in -OIR are typically organized together since they are conjugated. They have various radicals for the nous and vous types compared to the other topics, so take care that you’re utilizing the ideal verb stem along with the proper ending! Here are the 2 most beneficial -OIR verbs for starting students. pouvoir– to be able to, can je peu
x I can nous pouv ons we can tu peu

x you

can (casual) vous pouv ez you can (plural, official) il/elle/on peu t he/she/it
can ils/elles peuv ent they can vouloir– to desire je veu
x I send out nous voul ons we can tu veu
  • x you
  • send out (casual) vous voul
  • ez you
  • can (plural, official) il/elle/on veu
  • t he/she/it
  • tosses ils/elles veul


they can Je veux de la pizza. = I desire pizza. Tu peux parler anglais.

= You can speak English. Stories Il veut visiter Paris. TruAccent = He does wish to go to Paris.Audio Companion and Offline mode Nous pouvons partir maintenant.

= We can leave now.

Est-ce que vous voulez du café? (*)= Do you desire some coffee?(*) Elles peuvent finir demain. (*)= They are going to have the ability to complete tomorrow.(*) Master the French present tense with Rosetta Stone(*) To summarize: A French present tense verb can constantly be equated 3 methods: (*) I talk, I am talking, (*) or (*) I do talk(*) You can conjugate today tense by dropping the last 2 letters of the infinitive verb and including the proper ending. If a verb is routine, the infinitive ending will inform you what pattern to follow for your present tense conjugation. (*) We’ve revealed you numerous verb tables, which can be an important referral resource for inspecting a particular verb. The finest method to genuinely master French verb conjugation is by practicing in an immersive environment. With functions like (*) to assist you discover genuine, beneficial vocabulary, and (*) to feel comfy speaking and listening from your very first lesson, Rosetta Stone’s Dynamic Immersion system assists you get grammar naturally without rote memorization. You do not even require a web connection to discover with Rosetta Stone! The (*) let you download discussions and lessons through the app so you can deal with discovering French whenever and anywhere is practical for you. (*) Written by Denise Brown(*)


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