Verb Tenses

Verb tenses studies in the French B SL course, taken by Ava Maleki


Formula: remove the ending, keep the root of the verb, and add the new ending

Let’s elaborate on third group verbs:

  • Most verbs from the 3rd group: -s -s -t -ons -ez -ent

  • In -dre like vendre, perdre, coudre: -ds -ds -d -ons -ez -ent

  • Except the verbs in -aindre, -eindre, -oindre, -soudre like craindre, peindre, joindre, résoudre: -s -s -t -ons -ez –ent

  • Pouvoir, vouloir, valoir: -x -x -t -ons -ez -ent

  • Ouvrir, cueillir: -e -es -e -ons -ez -ent

These are some important IRREGULAR verbs to know: 

  • Avoir (to have)

  • Etre (to be)

  • Pouvoir

  • Vouloir

  • Devoir

  • Voir

  • Boire

  • Croire 

  • Faire

  • Prendre

  • Dire

  • Finir

  • S’appeler

  • Dormir

  • Savoir 

  • Ecrire

  • Connaitre

  • Partir

  • Etudier


Formula:  SUBJECT (je, tu, …) + AUXILIARY VERB (etre or avoir) + PAST PARTICIPLE


The auxiliary verb is conjugated in the present according to the subject

Almost all verbs have AVOIR as their auxiliary, except for the following which have ETRE. You can use the mnemonic DR and MRS VANDERTRAMP to remember:

  • Devenir

  • Revenir

  • Monter

  • Retourner

  • Sortir

  • Venir

  • Arriver

  • Naitre

  • Descendre

  • Entrer

  • Rentrer

  • Tomber

  • Revenir

  • Aller

  • Mourir

  • Partir 


Change the endings according to the following chart

Again, the endings for the irregular verbs may be different. Refer to the irregular verbs in the PRÉSENT section above.


Consider the “nous” form of the verb in the present tense. Then remove the “-ons” ending and add the following endings instead, according to the subject.


Manger → mangeons → je mangeais

The exceptions are etre and avoir.


It is used to give a command or an order. It is only used with “tu” “vous” and “nous”. Remove the subject, and adjust endings in the following way.

There are IRREGULAR verbs that are listed here.


Formula: SUBJECT + ALLER conjugated in the present + VERB in the INFINITIVE form

“Aller” conjugated in the present: