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.
20 November 2019
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 suis||I am|
|tu es||you are|
|il/elle est||he/ she is|
|nous sommes||we are|
|vous êtes||you are|
|ils/elles sont||they are|
être conjugation – Imperfect/Imparfait tense
|j’étais||I was being|
|tu étais||you were being|
|il/elle était||he/ she was being|
|nous étions||we were being|
|vous étiez||you all were being|
|ils/elles étaient||they were being|
être conjugation – Future/Futur tense
|je serai||I will be|
|tu seras||you will be|
|il/elle sera||he/ she will be|
|nous serons||we will be|
|vous serez||you will be|
|ils/elles seront||they will be|
être conjugation – Perfect tense/Passé compose
|j’ai été||I was|
|tu as été||you were|
|il/elle a été||he/ she has been|
|nous avons été||we have been|
|vous avez été||you have been|
|ils/elles ont été||they have been|
être conjugation – Simple past/Passé simple
|je fus||I was|
|tu fus||you were|
|il/elle fut||he/ she was|
|nous fûmes||we were|
|vous fûtes||you were|
|ils/elles furent||they were|
être conjugation – More than perfect/Plus-que-parfait
|j’avais été||I had been|
|tu avais été||You had been|
|il/elle avait été||he/ she had been|
|nous avions été||we had been|
|vous aviez été||you had been|
|ils/elles avaient été||They had been|
être conjugation – past perfect/Passé antérieur
|j’eus été||I had been|
|tu eus été||You had been|
|il/elle eut été||he/ she had been|
|nous eûmes été||we had been|
|vous eûtes été||you had been|
|ils/elles eurent été||They had been|
être conjugation – Future perfect/Futur antérieur
|j’aurai été||I will have been|
|tu auras été||you will have been|
|il/elle aura été||he/ she will have been|
|nous aurons été||we will have been|
|vous aurez été||you will have been|
|ils/elles auront été||they will have been|
être Conjugated: Subjunctive Mood/SUBJONCTIF
|que je sois||that I am|
|que tu sois||that you are|
|qu’il/elle soit||that he/ she is|
|que nous soyons||that we are|
|que vous soyez||that you are|
|qu’ils/elles soient||that they are|
|que je fusse||that I would be|
|que tu fusses||that you would be|
|qu’il/elle/on fût||that he/she would be|
|que nous fussions||that we would be|
|que vous fussiez||that you would be|
|qu’ils/elles fussent||that they would be|
|que j’aie été||that I have been|
|que tu aies été||that you have been|
|qu’il/elle ait été||that he/she have been|
|que nous ayons été||that we have been|
|que vous ayez été||that you have been|
|qu’ils/elles aient été||that they have been|
More than perfect
|que j’eusse été||that I would have been|
|que tu eusses été||that you would have been|
|qu’il/elle eût été||that he/she would have been|
|que nous eussions été||that we would have been|
|que vous eussiez été||that you all would have been|
|qu’ils/elles eussent été||that they would have been|
être Conjugated- Conditional Mood/CONDITIONNEL
|je serais||I would be|
|tu serais||You would be|
|il/elle serait||he/she would be|
|nous serions||we would be|
|vous seriez||you would be|
|ils/elles seraient||they would be|
Past (1st form)
|j’aurais été||I would have been|
|tu aurais été||You would have been|
|il/elle aurait été||he/she would have been|
|nous aurions été||we would have been|
|vous auriez été||you would have been|
|ils/elles auraient été||they would have been|
Past (2nd form)
|j’eusse été||I would have been|
|tu eusses été||You would have been|
|il/elle eût été||he/she would have been|
|nous eussions été||we would have been|
|vous eussiez été||you would have been|
|ils/elles eussent été||they 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.