50 Commonly Used French Verbs to Launch You into the Language
Learning French from scratch can be an exhilarating experience.
Exhilarating, but also daunting.
But with a solid understanding of common verbs, perhaps the most important part of the language for beginners, you won’t feel so daunted.
You will have found the key to understanding a lot more everyday conversation.
- Why Learn Common French Verbs?
- Action Pack: The 50 Most Commonly Used French Verbs, All in One Place
- 1. Être (to be)
- 2. Avoir (to have)
- 3. Aller (to go)
- 4. Pouvoir (to be able to)
- 5. Vouloir (to want)
- 6. Faire (to do)
- 7. Parler (to speak)
- 8. Demander (to ask)
- 9. Savoir (to know)
- 10. Venir (to come)
- 11. Dire (to say)
- 12. Devoir (to have to)
- 13. Donner (to give)
- 14. Falloir (to need/to be necessary)
- 15. Trouver (to find)
- 16. Manger (to eat)
- 17. Rendre (to return/give back)
- 18. Mettre (to put)
- 19. Rester (to stay)
- 20. Tenir (to hold/keep)
- 21. Prendre (to take)
- 22. Passer (to pass)
- 23. Comprendre (to understand)
- 24. Sortir (to go out/leave)
- 25. Partir (to leave)
- 26. Voir (to see)
- 27. Porter (to wear/carry)
- 28. Montrer (to show)
- 29. Penser (to think)
- 30. Suivre (to follow)
- 31. Connaître (to know)
- 32. Croire (to believe)
- 33. Entendre (to hear)
- 34. Attendre (to wait)
- 35. Commencer (to start/begin)
- 36. Devenir (to become)
- 37. Appeler (to call)
- 38. Décider (to decide)
- 39. Arriver (to arrive)
- 40. Servir (to serve)
- 41. Finir (to finish)
- 42. Revenir (to come back)
- 43. Recevoir (to receive)
- 44. Répondre (to respond)
- 45. Vivre (to live)
- 46. Agir (to act)
- 47. Jouer (to play)
- 48. Aimer (to love/to like)
- 49. Choisir (to choose)
- 50. Ouvrir (to open)
Why Learn Common French Verbs?
According to the book “A Frequency Dictionary of French,” there are certain words that are used in French way more frequently than others. This dictionary contains adjectives and nouns and adverbs, but most importantly, it lists the most common verbs.
But why should you care? Verbs, shmerbs, right?
Verbs are an integral part of complete French sentences. Furthermore, because of the fact that these verbs are so common, they’ll be incredibly useful to a French learner who’s just starting out.
The list below includes verbs that follow regular verb formation rules (regular verbs) as well as irregular forms (irregular verbs). Learn how to conjugate the verbs on this list, and you’ll be primed and ready for all the challenges of verb tenses in French.
You can do this through traditional study methods like using flashcards, but to make the process more effective it could be worth looking into FluentU. This language learning program teaches through authentic videos, so it’s a great way to learn verb conjugation: in context. By seeing how verbs are used by natives, you’ll understand their different contextual uses and even cultural nuances.
Simply search for one of these verbs and the video dictionary will show you a ton of engaging videos with the verb used in different contexts, as well as related words and phrases. As you watch, you’ll find detailed information about any verb or other term just by tapping the interactive subtitles—including contextual definitions, pronunciation and related images and videos.
You can add verbs (and other new words you come across) to your own vocabulary list to review as multimedia flashcards, and even take personalized quizzes to track your progress. These tools make learning much more seamless than trying to learn through authentic content on your own.
Action Pack: The 50 Most Commonly Used French Verbs, All in One Place
So, what are we waiting for? Check out the 50 most common verbs and start using them in your French!
1. Être (to be)
Behold: the undisputed most common verb in the French language.
And are you surprised?
Take note of how often you use the verb “to be” and its conjugations (am, are, is) in English, and you’ll see why être is so common in French. Furthermore, even though this verb means “to be” by itself, it can also be used as a support verb for compound verb tenses.
And even though être is irregular, once you have it memorized, it’s infinitely useful.
Check out these examples in the present tense:
- Je suis un homme. (I am a man.)
- Tu es une femme. (You are a woman.)
- Il est professeur. (He is a teacher.)
- Elle est professeure. (She is a teacher.)
- Nous sommes étudiants. (We are students.)
- Vous êtes professeurs. (You are teachers.)
- Ils sont étudiants. (They are students.)
- Elles sont étudiantes. (They are students.)
2. Avoir (to have)
The second most common French verb, avoir (to have), is also irregular. As with être, this verb is used to make compound verb tenses. But for now, let’s not worry about that.
On to conjugation:
- J‘ai un chat. (I have a cat.)
- Tu as un chien. (You have a dog.)
- Il/elle a un livre. (He/she has a book.)
- Nous avons des stylos. (We have some pens.)
- Vous avez des crayons. (You have some pencils.)
- Ils/elles ont des livres. (They have some books.)
3. Aller (to go)
It’s a bird, it’s a plane! No, it’s another irregular verb. I’m beginning to see a trend among all these common verbs…
In any case, aller is an extremely useful verb to know, and it means “to go.” Like être and avoir, aller can be used in compound verbs, most notably in the future tense.
Check out these examples:
- Je vais au magasin. (I’m going to the store.)
- Tu vas à l’école. (You’re going to school.)
- Il/elle va chez moi. (He/she’s going to my place.)
- Nous allons à l’université. (We’re going to the university.)
- Vous allez à la discothèque. (You’re going to the dance club.)
- Ils/elles vont à la banque. (They’re going to the bank.)
4. Pouvoir (to be able to)
While also an irregular verb, pouvoir carries the same meaning as “can” in English. It’s a very common verb, and it’s commonly used in the conditional form in order to make requests and ask for things in restaurants, at hotels and in stores.
Check out its conjugation:
- Je peux parler français. (I can speak French.)
- Tu peux parler anglais. (You can speak English.)
- Il/elle peut lire. (He/she can read.)
- Nous pouvons aller. (We can go.)
- Vous pouvez demander. (You can ask.)
- Ils/elles peuvent manger. (They can eat.)
5. Vouloir (to want)
In a lot of ways, the conjugation of vouloir is much like the conjugation of pouvoir. It means “to want” in English, and once again, this verb is used to make requests and ask for things when it’s conjugated into the conditional tense.
Check out this verb in action:
- Je veux un livre. (I want a book.)
- Tu veux un stylo. (You want a pen.)
- Il/elle veut des crayons. (He/she wants some pencils.)
- Nous voulons un chat. (We want a cat.)
- Vous voulez un chien. (You want a dog.)
- Ils/elles veulent un café. (They want a coffee.)
6. Faire (to do)
What would we do without the verb “to do”?
Not much, I guess.
Faire is the French verb meaning “to do” or “to make,” and like the others on this list, it’s common not only in vocabulary but also in its grammatical function. For example, it can be used in imperative or command phrases such as Faites vos devoirs ! (Do your homework!). And you guessed it, this verb is also irregular.
Check it out:
- Je fais mes devoirs. (I’m doing my homework.)
- Tu fais la lessive. (You’re doing the laundry.)
- Il/elle fait un gâteau. (He/she makes a cake.)
- Nous faisons des biscuits. (We’re making cookies.)
- Vous faites une tasse de café. (You’re making a cup of coffee.)
- Ils/elles font leur travail. (They’re doing their work.)
7. Parler (to speak)
At last: a regular verb! The verb parler (to speak) is a regular verb and it follows the regular -er ending conjugation pattern, which involves dropping the -er ending and adding other endings. This verb is also very common in French, as it’s often used to ask the question Parlez-vous français (Do you speak French?).
And because it’s regular, you can learn these endings and use them with other verbs that end in -er.
In fact, verbs that have the “-er” ending are by far the most useful regular verbs in the French language. That’s because some 90% of all French verbs have it. So if you master this group of verbs and the associated tenses, you should be well on your way to French verb mastery!
Now, let’s look at its conjugations:
- Je parle français. (I speak French.)
- Tu parles anglais. (You speak English.)
- Il/elle parle espagnol. (He/she speaks Spanish.)
- Nous parlons hollandais. (We speak Dutch.)
- Quelle langue parlez-vous ? (Which language do you speak?)
- Ils/elles parlent allemand. (They speak German.)
8. Demander (to ask)
And what do we have here?
Another regular verb!
As with the verb parler, demander is a regular -er verb that means “to ask.” Don’t get confused, though: Even though demander can be used to mean “to ask,” the fixed expression poser une question means “to ask a question.”
By the way, poser is also a regular -er verb. Lucky you!
Check out the conjugation for demander:
- Je demande de l’aide. (I ask for help.)
- Tu me demandes pourquoi. (You ask me why.)
- Il/elle demande un stylo. (He/she asks for a pen.)
- Nous demandons un café et un thé. (We ask for a coffee and a tea.)
- Vous demandez le patron. (You ask the boss.)
- Ils/elles demandent quelque chose à manger. (They ask for something to eat.)
9. Savoir (to know)
Ready for another situation where French and English translations don’t quite match?
Well, look no further.
Much in the same way there’s a distinction between demander (to ask) and poser (to ask [a question]), savoir (to know) has a friend also: connaître (to know). The distinction is complex, so for now, let’s just say that savoir means “to know something” like a fact or a skill.
In any case, savoir is irregular. Check it out:
- Je sais parler français. (I know how to speak French.)
- Tu sais que j’aime les langues. (You know that I like languages.)
- Il/elle sait parler anglais. (She knows how to speak English.)
- Nous savons tout. (We know everything.)
- Que savez-vous ? (What do you know?)
- Ils/elles savent. (They know.)
10. Venir (to come)
Next, we have the verb venir (to come). This verb is an irregular one, but there are other verbs that follow venir‘s irregular pattern. See if you can spot the other verbs moving forward.
Check out its conjugation.
- Je viens de Paris. (I come from Paris.)
- Tu viens de Toronto. (You come from Toronto.)
- Il/elle vient à midi. (He/she’s coming at noon.)
- Nous venons de Tokyo. (We come from Tokyo.)
- D’où venez-vous ? (Where do you come from?)
- Ils/elles viennent à minuit. (They’re coming at midnight.)
11. Dire (to say)
What did you say?
Oh, the verb “say.”
In French, that verb is dire, and you guessed it! Judging by the ending, it’s irregular. While not many verbs conjugate similar to dire, it’s a very useful verb when you have something to say.
Okay, I’ll stop now. Here’s how you conjugate dire.
- Je dis la vérité. (I say the truth.)
- Tu dis quelque chose à ta mère. (You say something to your mom.)
- Il/elle ne dit rien. (He/she isn’t saying anything.)
- Nous disons qu’il est drôle. (We say that he is funny.)
- Vous dites toujours les mensonges. (You always say lies.)
- Ils/elles disent que nous devons partir. (They’re saying that we have to leave.)
12. Devoir (to have to)
This next verb may look familiar, but it’s quite irregular and doesn’t really follow any pattern that we know. However, this verb is commonly grouped in with pouvoir, vouloir and savoir.
Not only do they have the same ending in the infinitive form, but they also kind of follow a similar conjugation pattern.
Let’s see just how similar it’s to these verbs.
- Je dois aller à l’école. (I have to go to school.)
- Tu dois finir tes travaux. (You have to finish your work.)
- Il/elle doit trouver les toilettes. (He/she has to find the bathroom.)
- Nous ne devons pas faire l’activité. (We don’t have to do the activity.)
- Vous devez dire la vérité. (You have to say the truth.)
- Ils/elles doivent aider leurs parents. (They have to help their parents.)
13. Donner (to give)
It’s been a while since we’ve done a regular verb that follows a known pattern. Lucky for us, donner is a regular -er that follows the same conjugation pattern as demander and parler.
Give it a look!
- Je donne un cadeau à mon père. (I’m giving a gift to my dad.)
- Est-ce que tu me donnes un crayon ? (Are you giving me a pencil?)
- Il/elle donne une pomme au professeur. (He/she gives an apple to the teacher.)
- Nous donnons des fleurs aux filles. (We’re giving flowers to the girls.)
- Vous nous donnez le livre. (You’re giving us the book.)
- Ils/elles donnent leur adresse. (They’re giving their address.)
14. Falloir (to need/to be necessary)
Falloir is a little bit of a strange verb on our list. Even though it’s used rather frequently, it doesn’t follow the same conjugation pattern as other verbs. Not only is it irregular, but it only has one conjugation.
Falloir only conjugates with one subject pronoun. To be used properly, falloir only conjugates with il. In this way, it’s an impersonal conjugation. Il does not mean “he” in this conjugation; rather, it means “it.” Check it out below.
- Il faut revenir chez nous à 11h30. (It’s necessary to return to our place at 11:30 am.)
15. Trouver (to find)
After the irregularity of our last verb, let’s get back to something a little more predictable. Trouver is as predictable as they come! Trouver is an -er verb, and it follows the exact same pattern as other -er verbs. Whew!
- Je trouve mon sac à dos. (I’m finding my backpack.)
- Tu y trouves un parc. (You find a park there.)
- Il/elle trouve cinq euros dans la rue. (He/she finds five euros in the road.)
- Nous trouvons que la musique n’est pas belle. (We find that the music isn’t beautiful.)
- Vous trouvez l’homme coupable. (You find the man guilty.)
- Ils/elles trouvent une solution. (They’re finding a solution.)
16. Manger (to eat)
A language like French has a rich culinary culture and tradition, so learning how to use the verb “to eat” is essential.
Manger is a regular -er verb with a kick. It follows the regular -er verb conjugation pattern for the most part, but an extra e is added to the nous form so that the g keeps its sound. Check it out.
- Je ne mange pas de viande. (I don’t eat meat.)
- Tu manges au restaurant. (You eat at a restaurant.)
- Il/elle mange le petit-déjeuner. (He/she eats breakfast.)
- Nous mangeons dans la cuisine. (We eat in the kitchen.)
- Vous mangez à 8h. (You eat at 8:00 am.)
- Ils/elles mangent les légumes et les fruits. (They eat vegetables and fruits.)
17. Rendre (to return/give back)
So far, we have looked at irregular verbs as well as regular verbs that have -er endings. The verb rendre is also a regular verb, but it’s part of a different group of regular verbs that end in -re.
There aren’t that many verbs in this group, but once the pattern is learned, all of them can be conjugated.
- Je rends le livre. (I return the book.)
- Tu me rends le jouet. (You give me back the toy.)
- Il/elle me rend la clé. (He/she gives me back the key.)
- Nous rendons les testes aux étudiants. (We return the tests to the students.)
- Vous rendez les stylos. (You return the pens.)
- Ils/elles te rendent les photos. (They give you back the photos.)
18. Mettre (to put)
This next verb ends in -re, but it’s not quite a verb that follows the regular conjugation pattern for other -re verbs. In fact, it’s similar to other -re verbs except that it drops the second t in its je, tu and il/elle forms. Once that small change is memorized, this verb is infinitely useful.
- Je mets le livre sur la table. (I put the book on the table.)
- Tu mets les pâtes dans l’eau. (You put the pasta in the water.)
- Il/elle me met dans une situation difficile. (He/she put me in a difficult situation.)
- Nous mettons les affiches sur les murs. (We put the posters on the wall.)
- Vous mettez le beurre sur le pain. (You put the butter on the bread.)
- Ils/elles mettent des vêtements. (They put on clothes.)
19. Rester (to stay)
After a slew of regular and slightly-irregular -re verbs, we return to regular -er verbs. While this verb looks like it should mean “to rest,” it actually means “to stay.” Let’s see this verb in action.
- Je reste chez moi ce soir. (I’m staying at home this evening.)
- Tu ne restes pas ici. (You’re not staying here.)
- Il/elle reste au bureau. (He/she stays at the office.)
- Nous restons au Canada. (We’re staying in Canada.)
- Vous restez dans la même ville. (You all stay in the same city.)
- Ils/elles restent dans la forêt. (They’re staying in the forest.)
20. Tenir (to hold/keep)
Do you remember when we conjugated the verb venir a while back?
Well, let me introduce you to its sister: tenir. It’s conjugated almost exactly the same way. In fact, the only difference in the conjugations are the first letters. Check out what I mean.
- Je tiens le bouquet. (I’m holding the bouquet.)
- Tu tiens ma main. (You’re holding my hand.)
- Il/elle tient le bras de l’enfant. (He/she holds the child’s arm.)
- Nous tenons les clés. (We’re keeping the keys.)
- Vous tenez la lampe de poche. (You hold the flashlight.)
- Ils/elles tiennent la porte pour l’homme. (They’re holding the door for the man.)
21. Prendre (to take)
Like other -re verbs on this list, this one is irregular.
Yes, I know: we talked about the regular -re conjugation pattern, and then we only really used it once. But that’s okay. Prendre is a very important verb, and it’ll be used all the time.
- Je prends le crayon. (I’m taking the pencil.)
- Tu prends la cahier sur le pupitre. (You take the notebook on the desk.)
- Il/elle prend toutes mes idées. (He/she’s taking all my ideas.)
- Nous ne prenons pas l’argent. (We’re not taking the money.)
- Vous prenez le train. (You take the train.)
- Ils/elles prennent un cours d’histoire française. (They’re taking a French history course.)
22. Passer (to pass)
Passer is another regular -er verb that follows the regular pattern. It means “to pass” as in “to pass by something or someone” but it can also have the meaning of “to visit” as in “to pass by.” Further, it can also talk about the passing of time.
Such a versatile verb.
- Je passe le magasin. (I pass the store.)
- Tu passes la femme dans la rue. (You pass the woman in the road.)
- Il/elle passe chez moi après l’école. (He/she’s passing by my place after school.)
- Nous passons derrière toi. (We’re passing behind you.)
- Vous passez vos grands-parents. (You’re passing by your grandparents’ place.)
- Ils/elles ne passent pas chez moi. (They’re not visiting my place.)
23. Comprendre (to understand)
This verb may seem familiar, and that’s because it is: we’ve practically seen it before.
Comprendre means “to understand,” but inside of it is the verb prendre. We know the conjugation pattern for prendre, and comprendre is conjugated the exact same way, just with the letters com- at the beginning.
- Je comprends l’anglais. (I understand English.)
- Tu comprends l’activité de mathématiques. (You understand the math activity.)
- Il/elle ne comprend pas la musique rock. (He/she doesn’t understand rock music.)
- Nous comprenons le problème. (We understand the problem.)
- Vous ne comprenez pas la vie. (You don’t understand life.)
- Ils/elles comprennent l’espagnol. (They understand Spanish.)
24. Sortir (to go out/leave)
We haven’t encountered regular -ir verbs, and we won’t be encountering one with this verb.
Sortir is an irregular verb that follows a conjugation pattern similar to other irregular verbs such as mettre and our next verb partir. Let’s check it out.
- Je sors les soirs. (I go out in the evenings.)
- Tu sors de la salle. (You go out of the room.)
- Il/elle sort respirer d’air frais. (He/she’s going out for fresh air.)
- Nous ne sortons pas vendredi. (We’re not going out on Friday.)
- Vous sortez du bureau. (You leave the office.)
- Ils/elles sortent de prison. (They get out of prison.)
25. Partir (to leave)
Not only does partir follow a very similar conjugation pattern to sortir, but it also has a very similar meaning.
Partir also means “to leave,” but it has a more definite meaning. Rather than meaning specifically leaving a room, partir means that the leaving is permanent, and the person leaving does not intend to return. Let’s check it out!
- Je pars à 22h. (I leave at 10:00 pm.)
- Tu pars au Brésil. (You’re leaving for Brazil.)
- Il/elle ne part pas. (He/she isn’t leaving.)
- Nous partons samedi. (We leave on Saturday.)
- Vous partez dans cinq minutes. (You’re leaving in five minutes.)
- Ils/elles partent de chez moi la semaine prochaine. (They’re leaving my place next week.)
26. Voir (to see)
The next verb on our list is voir. As you’ve probably noticed with other verbs that end in -oir, this verb is also irregular. However, voir does have some similarities with other verbs with the same endings, even if it doesn’t appear so at a first glance.
- Je vois un chat. (I see a cat.)
- Tu ne vois pas le crayon ? (You don’t see the pencil?)
- Il/elle voit avec les lunettes. (He/she sees with glasses.)
- Nous voyons l’homme au supermarché. (We see the man at the supermarket.)
- Vous voyez bientôt le médecin. (You’re seeing the doctor soon.)
- Ils/elles voient ce que je veux dire. (They see what I mean.)
27. Porter (to wear/carry)
Porter is a regular -er verb that has two meanings.
Firstly, it means “to wear” as in “wearing clothes.”
Secondly, it means “to carry” as in the act of holding something in your hand or otherwise and taking it somewhere. As usual, this regular -er verb follows the regular conjugation pattern.
- Je porte un chandail. (I’m wearing a sweater.)
- Tu portes le sac à la voiture. (You’re carrying the bag to the car.)
- Il/elle porte des sandales. (He/she wears sandals.)
- Nous portons nos valises. (We carry our suitcases.)
- Vous portez une chemise bleue. (You’re wearing a blue shirt.)
- Ils/elles portent le frigo ensemble. (They’re carrying the fridge together.)
28. Montrer (to show)
The next verb on our list is also a regular -er verb. It has the meaning “to show” but can also mean “to indicate” or “to point out.” Let’s see it in action.
- Je montre mon travail au professeur. (I’m showing my work to the professor.)
- Tu montres ta nouvelle voiture à ta famille. (You show your new car to your family.)
- Est-ce qu’il/elle montre les films demain ? (Is he/she showing the movies tomorrow?)
- Nous montrons la route à Montréal. (We’re showing the way to Montreal.)
- Vous montrez beaucoup d’amour à vos enfants. (You show a lot of love to your kids.)
- Ils/elles montrent leur maison à l’agent immobilier. (They show their house to the real estate agent.)
29. Penser (to think)
Like porter and montrer, penser is also a regular -er verb that has two meanings. It has the pretty basic meaning of “to think.” It can also be used to ask about someone’s opinion of something. Here it is following the regular -er conjugation pattern.
- Je pense souvent à ma mère. (I often think about my mom.)
- Tu penses que le sac est noir ? (You think the bag is black?)
- Il/elle ne pense pas avant de parler. (He/she doesn’t think before speaking.)
- Nous pensons finir nos travaux. (We think we’re finishing our work.)
- Vous pensez que la chemise est belle. (You think the shirt is beautiful.)
- Ils/elles pensent de leur décision. (They’re thinking about their decision.)
30. Suivre (to follow)
Not only is suivre an irregular verb, but its conjugations for the je and tu form look a lot like the conjugation of être in the je form.
Don’t let it confuse you, though: in the wild, it all comes down to context. In that sense, it’ll always be easy to figure out what someone is saying.
- Je suis mon ami à la fête. (I’m following my friend to the party.)
- Tu suis la voiture rouge. (You follow the red car.)
- Il/elle suit la route à Toulouse. (He/she’s following the way to Toulouse.)
- Nous suivons le directeur au bureau. (We’re following the director to his office.)
- Vous ne suivez pas les instructions. (You’re not following the instructions.)
- Ils/elles suivent le cours. (They’re taking the course.)
31. Connaître (to know)
Remember how I said that savoir (to know something) had a friend?
Well, I now present to you connaître.
This verb also means “to know,” but rather than an emphasis on a concrete skill or fact, connaître means “to know someone” or “to be acquainted with someone.” It can also mean “to recognize” or “to be familiar with” when talking about an inanimate object or abstract concept.
Like savoir, this verb is irregular. Check it out!
- Je connais la fille. (I know the girl.)
- Tu connais bien les professeurs. (You know the teachers well.)
- Il/elle connaît un bon médecin. (He/she knows a good doctor.)
- Nous ne connaissons pas cette voiture. (We don’t recognize this car.)
- Vous connaissez bien l’espagnol. (You are well familiar with Spanish.)
- Ils/elles connaissent le serveur au restaurant. (They know the server at the restaurant.)
32. Croire (to believe)
With a verb like croire, it’s hard not to believe that your French is improving with this list!
All puns aside, croire is a useful verb that means “to believe.” It can talk about beliefs generally, but it can also be used to express an opinion. Croire is also an irregular verb that follows a pattern similar to voir.
- Je ne crois pas ce mensonge. (I don’t believe this lie.)
- Tu crois que la note est juste ? (You believe that the mark is fair?)
- Il/elle croit que la maladie est fatale. (He/she believes that the sickness is fatal.)
- Nous croyons pouvoir finir le travail. (We believe we can finish the work.)
- Vous croyez encore au Père Noël. (You still believe in Santa Claus.)
- Ils/elles croient en moi. (They believe in me.)
33. Entendre (to hear)
Finally, we have another regular verb that ends in -re.
Whew, I thought this day would never come.
It follows the expected pattern, and it has a pretty simple meaning: “to hear.”
- J’entends les oiseaux. (I hear the birds.)
- Tu entends les bruits de ton voisin. (You’re hearing your neighbor’s noise.)
- Il/elle entend que le professeur est pénible. (He/she hears that the professor is difficult.)
- Nous entendons bien. (We hear well.)
- Vous entendez ce que je dis ? (Are you hearing what I’m saying?)
- Ils/elles entendent la musique. (They hear the music.)
34. Attendre (to wait)
What is this? Two regular -re verbs in a row? What a surprise!
Attendre means to wait, but it also has the meaning “to wait for.” Be careful, though, English speakers. While it may seem natural to put the word pour (for) after the verb, don’t do it!
The verb attendre means “to wait for” in its entirety. No need for pour at all. Additionally, this verb can also mean “to expect.”
- J’attends le bus. (I’m waiting for the bus.)
- Tu attends Jean et Francine. (You’re waiting for Jean and Francine.)
- Il/elle attend l’avion. (He/she’s waiting for the plane.)
- Nous attendons le professeur. (We’re waiting for the professor.)
- Vous attendez le bon temps. (You’re waiting for good weather.)
- Ils/elles attendent tout le jour. (They’re waiting all day.)
35. Commencer (to start/begin)
The next verb on our list looks familiar, and that’s because the English word “commence” comes from this French verb.
As such, this verbs means “to start” or “to begin,” and it’s a regular -er verb. There’s one catch, however: the c that comes after the -er changes to a ç in the nous form to maintain its sound.
This verb also takes the preposition à after it so that it gets the meaning “to start to” or “to begin to.”
- Je commence mes devoirs. (I’m starting my homework.)
- Tu commences à manger le déjeuner. (You’re starting to eat the lunch.)
- Il/elle commence demain. (He/she’s starting tomorrow.)
- Nous commençons à étudier le français. (We begin to study French.)
- Vous ne commencez pas le projet ? (You’re not starting the project?)
- Ils/elles commencent à 12h. (They start at 12:00 pm.)
36. Devenir (to become)
Devenir means “to become” and if you’re wondering if you’ve seen this verb before on this list, the answer is “yes.”
That is because devenir is pretty much the verb venir with an added de- at the beginning.
While their meanings are similar (both have “come” in them), their conjugations are almost identical, making this irregular verb quite easy to conjugate and memorize.
- Je deviens plus heureux quand je te vois. (I become happier when I see you.)
- Tu deviens connu avec ce groupe. (You’re becoming known with this group.)
- Il/elle devient fou à cause du travail. (He/she’s becoming crazy because of the work.)
- Nous devenons des médecins. (We’re becoming doctors.)
- Vous devenez amis avec les garçons. (You’re becoming friends with the boys.)
- Ils/elles ne deviennent pas membres de la classe. (They’re not becoming members of the class.)
37. Appeler (to call)
This verb is a regular -er verb at first glance, but there’s a slight variation in its conjugation pattern. Namely, the letter l gets doubled in all subjects except for nous and vous.
Furthermore, it can mean “to call” as in someone’s name as well as “to get someone’s attention,” but it can also mean “to call” by telephone. In that way, appeler is a synonym with the verb téléphoner (to call by telephone).
- J’appelle mon enfant “Henri.” (I call my child “Henri.”)
- Comment t’appelles-tu ? (What do you call yourself?/What is your name?)
- Il/elle appelle la police. (He/she’s calling the police.)
- Nous appelons nos amis pour le dîner. (We call our friends for dinner.)
- Vous n’appelez pas votre mère. (You’re not calling your mom)
- Ils/elles appellent un taxi. (They’re calling a taxi.)
38. Décider (to decide)
Décider is a regular -er verb through and through. There are no particularities that make it slightly different from the rest in its conjugation group, so just apply the endings for each subject as expected.
To make things even easier, décider is a cognate with English. It means “to decide.” Simple!
- Je décide de regarder le film. (I’m deciding to watch the movie.)
- Tu décides la réponse ? (Are you deciding the answer?)
- Il/elle décide de changer les vêtements. (He/she decides to change clothes.)
- Nous ne décidons pas qui gagne. (We don’t decide who wins.)
- Vous décidez le résultat du tournament. (You’re deciding the result of the tournament.)
- Ils/elles décident de manger. (They’re deciding to eat.)
39. Arriver (to arrive)
Like our previous verb, arriver follows the regular -er conjugation pattern and it’s a cognate with English. It means “to arrive.” Check it out.
- J’arrive à 11h. (I’m arriving at 11:00 am.)
- Tu arrives demain matin. (You’re arriving tomorrow morning.)
- Il/elle arrive au Canada. (He/she arrives in Canada.)
- Nous arrivons au restaurant. (We arrive at the restaurant.)
- Vous arrivez pendant la classe. (You’re arriving during class.)
- Ils/elles arrivent chaque matin. (They arrive each morning.)
40. Servir (to serve)
Our streak of regular verbs has come to an end with servir.
This verb means “to serve,” and it follows a conjugation pattern that is quite its own. While it looks similar to mettre, this one will need to be completely memorized to be learned correctly. In addition to “serve,” this verb can also mean “to be used for.”
- Je sers le déjeuner. (I’m serving lunch.)
- Tu sers les clients de la table 4. (You’re serving the clients at table 4.)
- Il/elle sert la boisson à la femme. (He/she serves the drink to the woman.)
- Nous servons au restaurant indien. (We’re serving at the Indian restaurant.)
- Vous servez la nourriture aux hommes. (You’re serving food to the men.)
- Ils/elles servent les enfants. (They’re serving the children.)
41. Finir (to finish)
I can’t believe that we’ve already seen 40 verbs, but we’ve yet to see a regular -ir verb.
Well, here it is!
Finir means “to finish” and it follows the regular -ir verb pattern. That means that other regular verbs ending in -ir can follow this conjugation pattern as well.
- Je finis les devoirs. (I’m finishing homework.)
- Tu finis de manger. (You finish eating.)
- Il/elle ne finit pas la tâche. (He/she isn’t finishing the task.)
- Nous finissons la nuit ensemble ? (We’re finishing the night together?)
- Vous finissez le cours en juin. (You’re finishing the course in June.)
- Ils/elles finissent à 16h. (They finish at 4:00 pm.)
42. Revenir (to come back)
Well, the regular -ir verbs were great while they lasted. Revenir isn’t a regular -ir verb. On the plus side, it’s conjugated like other verbs that we’ve seen: venir, tenir and devenir.
- Je reviens toujours à ce restaurant. (I always come back to this restaurant.)
- Tu reviens à 2h. (You’re coming back at 2:00 am.)
- Il/elle revient de Paris. (He/she’s coming back from Paris.)
- Nous revenons chaque mercredi. (We come back each Wednesday.)
- Vous ne revenez pas avec les chiens. (You’re not coming back with the dogs.)
- Ils/elles reviennent à la classe. (They’re coming back to class.)
43. Recevoir (to receive)
Recevoir is a verb with a lot going on.
First of all, it means “to receive,” but it can also mean “to collect” as well as “to host someone.”
Secondly, it has a myriad of irregularities. It’s conjugated similar to voir, but it also takes a ç in some forms to maintain the sound of the word.
- Je reçois de l’argent. (I’m receiving money.)
- Tu reçois les invités. (You host guests.)
- Il/elle ne reçoit pas beaucoup d’eau. (He/she isn’t collecting a lot of water.)
- Nous recevons les lettres ? (Are we receiving letters?)
- Vous recevez toujours les amis. (You’re always hosting friends.)
- Ils/elles reçoivent les livres. (They receive the books.)
44. Répondre (to respond)
In the midst of irregularities, répondre is a verb that’s both very regular and similar to English. It means “to respond” and it follows the regular -re conjugation pattern. Let’s see it in real usage.
- Je ne réponds pas. (I’m not responding.)
- Tu réponds à la question. (You’re responding to the question.)
- Il/elle répond à mes lettres. (He/she responds to my letters.)
- Nous ne répondons jamais au téléphone. (We never respond to the telephone.)
- Vous répondez à n’importe quelle heure. (You respond at any hour.)
- Ils/elles répondent aux appels à démissionner. (They’re responding to calls to resign.)
45. Vivre (to live)
Our next verb is an irregular -re verb. That means its pattern must be memorized separately. It means “to live” as in “to be alive,” and it also means “to inhabit” as in a house or a city. Check it out!
- Je vis encore. (I’m still alive.)
- Tu vis à la campagne. (You live in the countryside.)
- Il/elle ne vit pas à Marseille. (He/she doesn’t live in Marseille.)
- Nous vivons une vie magnifique. (We live a magnificent life.)
- Vous vivez à la ville. (You live in the city.)
- Ils/elles vivent longtemps. (They live a long time.)
46. Agir (to act)
It turns out that agir is a rare verb—on this list, that is.
It’s only the second verb to follow the regular -ir conjugation pattern. It means “to act” but it can also mean “to impact” or “to affect” when followed by the preposition sur (on). Let’s see it in action.
- J’agis maintenant. (I’m acting now.)
- Tu agis toujours mal. (You always act badly.)
- Il/elle agit sur les plantes. (He/she doesn’t affect the plants.)
- Nous n’agissons pas comme les adultes. (We aren’t acting like adults.)
- Vous agissez souvent bien. (You often act well.)
- Ils/elles agissent dans une bonne intention. (They act with good intentions.)
47. Jouer (to play)
We’ll keep the regularity going with our next verb. It’s a regular -er verb and it means “to play.” Simple as that. Check it out!
- Je joue avec le jouet. (I’m playing with the toy.)
- Tu joues toujours. (You always play.)
- Il/elle ne joue jamais avec ses amis. (He/she never plays with his/her friends.)
- Nous jouons un jeu ensemble. (We’re playing a game together.)
- Vous jouez en finale du tournoi. (You’re playing in the final game of the tournament.)
- Ils/elles jouent aux échecs. (They play chess.)
48. Aimer (to love/to like)
Where is the world without a little bit of love?
This verb means “to love” or “to like,” and it’s a regular -er verb. What’s not to love about that?
- J’aime ma mère. (I love my mom.)
- Tu n’aimes pas jouer au basket. (You don’t like playing basketball.)
- Il/elle aime lire. (He/she likes to read.)
- Nous aimons nos enfants. (We love our kids.)
- Vous aimez danser toute la nuit. (You like dancing all night.)
- Ils/elles aiment manger la viande. (They love eating meat.)
49. Choisir (to choose)
The next verb on our list is also a regular verb. This one follows the regular -ir verb conjugation pattern, and it means “to choose.” Check it out!
- Je choisis de lire ce livre. (I’m choosing to read this book.)
- Tu choisis le jouet brun. (You choose the brown toy.)
- Il/elle choisit cette jupe. (He/she’s choosing this skirt.)
- Nous choisissons le restaurant. (We’re choosing the restaurant.)
- Vous choisissez la série. (You choose the TV show.)
- Ils/elles choisissent de finir les travaux. (They’re choosing to finish the works.)
50. Ouvrir (to open)
Here we are at the end of our list, and it’s only fair that we end it with an irregular verb.
But this isn’t just any irregular verb: it’s one that ends in -ir but conjugates like a regular -er verb. Go figure!
It means “to open.” Let’s see it in all its weird glory!
- J’ouvre la porte. (I’m opening the door.)
- Tu ouvres la fenêtre. (You open the window.)
- Il/elle ouvre ton e-mail à 11h. (He/she’s opening your email at 11:00 am.)
- Nous ouvrons les bouteilles de champagne. (We’re opening the bottles of champagne.)
- Vous ouvrez bientôt le magasin. (You’re opening the store soon.)
- Ils/elles ouvrent les livres. (They’re opening the books.)
Still not enough?
Remember, these are just the most common verbs.
In fact, there are so many verbs in French, you can get a guide to conjugating 12,000 of them!
Want something more manageable? Try the famous “501 French Verbs.”
You can also use language learning programs that show you how verbs work in context. One that we mentioned earlier is FluentU, which is based on learning in context with authentic French videos. Each clip has interactive captions which help you understand verb conjugations and dissect phrases word-for-word. The personalized quizzes use SRS (spaced repetition system), and even let you practice speaking with their speaking questions.
While you can always wade through YouTube to find authentic videos, just beware that there is a huge amount of content—and not all of it is appropriate for language learners. You also need to ensure that whatever dictionary you use accounts for different contexts, as definitions can vary greatly depending on the situation.
Using expertly curated and subtitled videos with extra learning aids, FluentU makes for seamless—and effective—contextual learning.
Remember, though, there’s more to French than just verbs. Don’t ignore other words. Be sure to learn your adjectives, prepositions, relative pronouns and more.
Listen to or read French phrases and carefully analyze how verbs work alongside everything else. You can do this with plenty of resources besides books. For example, you can check out French music, novels, movies and TV shows.
With constant practice, you’ll breeze through common French verbs and steadily move on to more advanced ones. Soon enough, your phrases will become more impressive and sophisticated as well.