4.2 Formation of the present tense

4.2.0 Pronouns and verb classification

First of all we need the French personal pronouns, most of them you have already seen in the previous chapters, here you find them all at a glance.

French personal pronouns
je I 1st person singular
  tu you 2nd person singular
  il he 3rd person singular masculine
  elle she 3rd person singular feminine
  nous we 1st person plural
  vous you 2nd person plural
  ils they (masculine) 3rd person plural masculine
  elles they (feminine) 3rd person plural feminine

When discussing the conjugation of French verbs we first have to have a look at the classification of verbs, there are regular verbs (verbes réguliers), that follow a certain pattern and irregular verbs (verbes irréguliers), that do not follow this pattern. Of course, most of the verbs are regular. And even within the irregulars there are certain patterns. For the irregular ones there are verb tables that are quite useful and we recommend to get one of these, that will help enormously in the future. There are about 2000 verbs and 80 patterns, so there are not too many of them.

Now the big question: How to recognise a verb? Well, usually they have certain endings. There are three different typical verb endings in French: -er, -ir, -re.

Verbs ending in - er
acheter = to buy
aller = to go
manger = to eat
cacher = to hide

Verbs ending in -re
boire = to drink
écrire = to write
lire =to read
conduire = to drive

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