• French GrammarFrench Lessons

    Know French Verb Etre and it’s Conjugation in Tenses

    French verb etre is one complicated verb to deal with. Follow our guide to use French verb etre and enjoy talking in French. Learn etre verb use.

    Know French Verb Etre and it’s Conjugation in Tenses
    By Michelle
    3 months ago
    How to Conjugate & Use French Verb: Être

    French Grammar French Lessons

    Know French Verb Etre and it’s Conjugation in Tenses

être is among the most important verbs that one will ever learn. The verb means ‘to be’ and one may find in mostly appearing in use this French verb être (to be).

être can be used to tell more about a temporary or permanent state of being along with adverbs, our daily conversations, written language, as well as idiomatic expressions. Hence it’s essential to learn and understand this verb to enhance your French conversation and writing skills.

Here we will provide you with a guide on how to effectively use être as a French verb. Also, you can take the help of our French tutors for any other guidance and support.

How one can use être efficiently

It can be used in the following ways:

  • Adjectives and nouns. For example; je suis un gardien de zoo (I am a zoo keeper.)
  • The French verb être can as well be used to show ownership or possession. An example; c’est ma maison (it’s my house).
  • être can also be used to describe someone’s profession or job. One may say; je suis un medecin (I’m a doctor).

être being used as an auxiliary verb

There two main ways where the French verb être can be used as an auxiliary verbs, namely;

1. How être can be used in compound sentences.

Since être is an auxiliary verb, it can be used to form compound sentences along with the past participle of other French verbs. See how it can be used in a sentence; j’ai consulté un dentiste il y a deux semaines. (I visited a dentist two weeks ago).

2. How to use être in passive voice.

être can be placed before a past participle when forming passive tenses in French. There are several approaches to formulate this;

a) The perfect passive. Passé composé passif; this is done by putting the perfect tense of être followed by a past participle.

b) Present passive. Here the present tense of être is put first followed by a past participle.

c) The future passive. Futur passif; this is the future tense of être followed by a past participle.

d) The past conditional passive. Passé conditionnel passif; this is formed by placing the past conditional passive of être followed by a past participle.

How to conjugate être

The conjugation of être can be a bit challenging since it’s an irregular verb. This requires one to internalize the concepts that are encountered in learning how to conjugate être.

Now learn the être conjugation for the french verbs

être Conjugated: Indicative Mood/INDICATIF

être conjugation – Simple present tense

je suisI am
tu esyou are
il/elle esthe/ she is
nous sommeswe are
vous êtesyou are
ils/elles sontthey are

être conjugation – Imperfect/Imparfait tense

j’étaisI was being
tu étaisyou were being
il/elle étaithe/ she was being
nous étionswe were being
vous étiezyou all were being
ils/elles étaientthey were being

être conjugation – Future/Futur tense

je seraiI will be
tu serasyou will be
il/elle serahe/ she will be
nous seronswe will be
vous serezyou will be
ils/elles serontthey will be

être conjugation – Perfect tense/Passé compose

j’ai étéI was
tu as étéyou were
il/elle a étéhe/ she has been
nous avons étéwe have been
vous avez étéyou have been
ils/elles ont ététhey have been

être conjugation – Simple past/Passé simple

je fusI was
tu fusyou were
il/elle futhe/ she was
nous fûmeswe were
vous fûtesyou were
ils/elles furentthey were

être conjugation – More than perfect/Plus-que-parfait

j’avais étéI had been
tu avais étéYou had been
il/elle avait étéhe/ she had been
nous avions étéwe had been
vous aviez étéyou had been
ils/elles avaient étéThey had been

être conjugation – past perfect/Passé antérieur

j’eus étéI had been
tu eus étéYou had been
il/elle eut étéhe/ she had been
nous eûmes étéwe had been
vous eûtes étéyou had been
ils/elles eurent étéThey had been

être conjugation – Future perfect/Futur antérieur

j’aurai étéI will have been
tu auras étéyou will have been
il/elle aura étéhe/ she will have been
nous aurons étéwe will have been
vous aurez étéyou will have been
ils/elles auront ététhey will have been

être Conjugated: Subjunctive Mood/SUBJONCTIF

Présent tense

que je soisthat I am
que tu soisthat you are
qu’il/elle soitthat he/ she is
que nous soyonsthat we are
que vous soyezthat you are
qu’ils/elles soientthat they are


que je fussethat I would be
que tu fussesthat you would be
qu’il/elle/on fûtthat he/she would be
que nous fussionsthat we would be
que vous fussiezthat  you would be
qu’ils/elles fussentthat they would be


que j’aie ététhat I have been
que tu aies ététhat you have been
qu’il/elle ait ététhat he/she have been
que nous ayons ététhat we have been
que vous ayez ététhat you have been
qu’ils/elles aient ététhat they have been

More than perfect

que j’eusse ététhat I would have been
que tu eusses ététhat you would have been
qu’il/elle eût ététhat he/she would have been
que nous eussions ététhat we would have been
que vous eussiez ététhat you all would have been
qu’ils/elles eussent ététhat they would have been

être Conjugated- Conditional Mood/CONDITIONNEL

Present Tense

je seraisI would be
tu seraisYou  would be
il/elle seraithe/she would be
nous serionswe would be
vous seriezyou would be
ils/elles seraientthey would be

Past (1st form)

j’aurais étéI would have been
tu aurais étéYou would have been
il/elle aurait étéhe/she would have been
nous aurions étéwe would have been
vous auriez étéyou would have been
ils/elles auraient ététhey would have been

Past (2nd form)

j’eusse étéI would have been
tu eusses étéYou would have been
il/elle eût étéhe/she would have been
nous eussions étéwe would have been
vous eussiez étéyou would have been
ils/elles eussent ététhey would have been

Below is a small exercise to help you understand the use of être.

1. Elle ____ italienne. (She is Italian)

The correct answer is; elle est italienne.

2. Vous ____ merveilleux. (You are wonderful)

The correct answer is; Vous êtes merveilleux.

3. Il____ adorable. (He is adorable)

The correct answer is; Il est adorable.

4. Ils____ determines. (They are determined)

The correct answer is; Ils sont déterminés.

5. Nous_____ tous des employés. (We are all employees)

The correct answer is; Nous sommes tous des employés.


It’s necessary to keep in mind that one should invest more time and energy towards comprehending this widely used French verb, être. One can as well learn more about other French verbs similar to être like; faire, avoir, manger, dire, voir, pouvoir and many others. It’s not a must for one to memorize these verbs in order to use in sentences efficiently. It will only require an individual to keep reading content in French, doing practice through constructing French sentences while conversing with each other. Listening to audio drills in French can as well enhance your French communicating skills.

Related Articles

Please fill the required fields