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    How to Use the French Present Tense – Complete Guide

    Learning French present tense made easier with a fun guide. Make and use sentences with confidence. Know the tense inside out and use it like a native.

    How to Use the French Present Tense – Complete Guide
    By Michelle
    4 months ago
    An Easy Guide to French Present Tense

    French Grammar French Lessons

    How to Use the French Present Tense – Complete Guide

It will take you just a few weeks to learn the present tense conjugation of most French verbs, efficiently. All you need to do is have a key understanding of the common conjugation patterns.

Just go through the article and learn French present tense easily and quickly.

For further acquaintance and help, you may connect to our French tutors.

Common usage of French Present Tense

Unlike English, the French present tense is more frequently used.

Some of the common usage of French present tense include:

  1. What is happening and How you’re feeling
  2. Talking about habits and facts
  3. Talking about the occurrence of an event in the near future.
Use of Present  Tense Description Examples
1. What’s happening +
Feeling
While speaking French, you can use the French present tense
to talk about what is happening.For example, use it to convey that you are cooking spaghetti or tell the other person anything that is happening as you speak.In this way it is similar to the English present tense or the present progressive, which uses the ‘be + ing’ form.
Qu’est-ce que tu écris? j’écris une lettre

What are you writing? I am writing a letter

2. Habits and facts Whenever you are talking about habits, facts and universal truths,you must use the French Present Tense. Quel genre de livres lis-tu?

What kind of books you read?

J’aime beaucoup la fiction scientifique

I really like scientific fiction

3.Occurrence of events You can also use the French present tense to talk about any event that
is going to happen in an hour, days or maybe weeks. You must however add a time
describing word likedemain (tomorrow), “lundi” (Monday) or “la semaine prochaine
(next week) for making a sentence.
je vais au collège à partir de demain

I’m joining college from tomorrow

Types of French verbs

To conjugate  verbs in the French present tense you need to know the right ending first. There are two types of verbs in French: (1) regular verbs & (2) Irregular verbs.

1. Regular verbs:  These are easy to learn verbs as they follow a definite pattern. There are three different kinds of regular verbs endings that you must learn on a priority basis

Types of French regular verbs endings:

-er
-ir
-re

Here is the patterns that these verbs follow:

Regular verbs with an ‘-er’ ending

About 90% of French verbs have an er ending.

Learning conjugating verbs with er ending will enable you to conjugate almost all the French verbs. The rule of thumb for conjugating verbs with –er ending is easy. You must drop the –er ending and instead use endings like -e, -es, -e, -ons, -ez, -ent.

For example:
Parler (tu speak)

je parle                                   nous parlons
tu parles                               vous parlez
il/elle/on parle                     ils/elles parlment

Regular verbs with an –IR ending

They count of approximately 5% of French verbs. They too follow a pattern except a few which are irregular verbs.

The thumb rule is to drop the –ir ending and replace it with -is, -is, -it, -issons, -issez, -issent endings.

je finis nous finissons
tu finis vous finissez
il/elle/on finit       ils/elles finissent

Regular verbs with a RE ending

Regular verbs with RE ending follow the below mentioned pattern:

Again just like er & -ir ending drop the –re ending and use -s, nothing, -ons, -ez, -ent, instead.

je vends nous vendons
tu vends vous vendez
il/elle/on vend      ils/elles vendent

Attending the complicated French irregular verbs

2. Irregular French verbs enjoy special treatment and thus you need to individually attend each one of them. This nowhere means that you must go after all the French irregular words in the dictionary, but learning the most common ones will do.

Here are some of the most common French irregular verbs that you must learn:

avoid être aller faire
j’ai je suis je vais je fais
tu as tu es tu vas tu fais
il/elle/on a il/elle/on est il/elle/on va il/elle/on fait
nous avons nous sommes nous allons nous faisons
vous avez vous êtes vous allez vous faites
ils/elles ont        ils/elles sont          ils/elles vont            ils/elles font     

Tricks to remember

You must remember that if you want to use French has a language, you must learn the French present tense, essentially. However, it does not mean that you only need to focus all your strength in reciting the table of verb all day long.

We are happy to help you with some of the tips to learn the French present tense conjugations. Here it goes:

  1. Stay focused on learning the regular patterns of -er, -ir and –re verb.
  2. The common irregular verbs listed on this page are more than enough to learn.
  3. Seek exposure of the French language whenever possible. The more you are practically exposed to the language, the better you learn it and use it more efficiently.

Quiz: Test your knowledge of French Present Tense!

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French Present Tense

1 / 9

How do you say “You are selling your car.” ?

2 / 9

Pick the best translation for: "The cats ask for food."

3 / 9

Pick the best translation for: "Jérémie loves flowers”

4 / 9

“Ils sont ensembles depuis trois mois.” means :

5 / 9

“Vous habitez à Lyon depuis plus de six ans.” means :

6 / 9

“Elle se repose maintenant.” means

7 / 9

What does "Je vais chez ma tante demain." mean ?

8 / 9

«Nous allons visiter le Louvres aujourd’hui» means :

9 / 9

"Il ne pratique plus de sport depuis 2009." means :

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