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How to learn the verb conjugations in French

In French, tackling the conjugations of the verb can be quite a task. If you are looking for a solution to face this dreading and tedious process then you are in the right place.

Verb conjugations get a little complex with varying tenses as you upgrade to different levels. At some point, we all have skipped a few pages to avoid those complications.

Sooner or later we realize that the conjugations we come across in the grammar lessons are essential to frame sentences and understand the language.

So, here we are to break down the effective ways to make our French verb conjugations simpler.

French verbs

Before we enter into the concept of conjugating, we need to understand the concept of verbs. As we all know the verbs in a sentence indicate an action. They are classified into regular and irregular verbs. All the verbs in French fall into three categories in correlation with their endings.

  1.  er verbs(regular verbs) : parler– to speak, aimer– to like, chanter- to sing
  2. ir verbs(regular verbs) : finir– to finish, choisir– to choose
  3. re/ir/oir verbs(irregular verbs) : entendre– to hear, sortir-to leave, voir-to see

Now, you might wonder what is the difference between regular and irregular verbs? Regular verbs are comparatively easier to conjugate because they follow a similar pattern and are easy to remember. Irregular verbs do not have a certain pattern, each verb has its unique variations that need to be memorized.

How to learn French conjugations efficiently

Firstly, what is conjugation in French? The process of altering the verbs in the infinitive form is called conjugation. The whole form of the verb or the non-conjugated part is called the infinitive form of the verb.

Let’s take a look at the simple ways to learn the conjugations efficiently

Understanding the inseparable trio

The conjugation pattern depends entirely on the following three things: Subject pronoun, group of the verb, and verb tenses.

Subject pronoun: It is always important to learn your conjugations with the subject pronouns (Je, Tu, Il/Elle, Nous, Vous, Ils/Elles) because the endings of the verb are conjugated differently for each subject.

Further, it will help your pronunciation as there are a lot of liaisons and silent words when you link your subject and conjugated verbs.

Verb groups: Another important aspect is to figure out the group of the verb you are conjugating. As discussed earlier the infinitive form of verbs usually end in er, ir, or re. The conjugation process is easier when you identify and distinguish the regular and irregular verbs.

There might be few confusions arising with the “ir” regular and irregular verbs. Unfortunately, there are no tricks to distinguish them. Eventually, you will learn it up with time.

The good news is that most of the verbs in French fall into the first category (er – regular verbs). Therefore if you understand the pattern of conjugating the er verbs, you have covered a large portion of verbs in your grammar lessons.

Although irregular verbs are a headache to be dealt with for various reasons, they include some of the most used and common verbs in spoken French.

Knowingly or unknowingly, our French journey started with the two most popular irregular verbs, Être and Avoir. We didn’t find that very difficult, did we? So maybe the other verbs are still manageable with a lot of practice.

Verb tenses: We have over 18 different tenses which play a significant role in conjugating. It is important to understand the verb tenses to add the right ending to the stem of the verb.

To be more elaborate, we need to have a clear understanding of the usage of different tenses. For example, when we talk about our past there is a clash between passé composé and imparfait. We have to utilize the right tense at the right place to provide the correct meaning to a sentence.

The confusions tend to grow as we discover new tenses and stop us from conjugating efficiently. It is advisable to take one tense at a time and get familiar with it.

There isn’t any specific order in terms of importance. All these 3 factors complement one another to conjugate a verb successfully.

Useful apps to learn conjugations

It is impossible to remember the conjugations of all the verbs. In order to help you recollect the conjugation of old verbs and learn new ones here are some useful apps to practice and play along with.

1. Vatefaireconjuguer

This app provides the conjugation of almost any word in all the tenses. It serves the best for people who want to learn the conjugated verb endings for each tense as it highlights all the endings in green.

It also provides the group of the verb and has a list of the most commonly used verbs on their home page. In case you don’t know where to start you can pick up a verb from the list that they provide. Moreover, this app is available offline and can be used almost anywhere.

2. Conjuguemos

If you want to practice your French conjugations with fun games and quiz then you should try Conjuguemos. You can choose the tenses you want to work with and play games like crosswords, word search, and more.

It checks your memory and assesses your level in French. It also provides the right answers in the end for you to cross-check with your original answers. You can learn and enjoy at the same time with this app.

3. Verb2verbe

Verb2verbe is another app useful for learning conjugations of verbs in the entire A-Z list. It provides all the available lists of verbs in alphabetical order. In addition, it also provides the translation of the verbs.

Therefore if you find any new verbs you can immediately learn the meaning and the conjugation. You can also test your knowledge of the particular verb you choose and rate your level.

Aren’t you convinced enough to learn your conjugations?

With a little bit of effort and practice, we can face all the lessons that we skipped in the past. Learning the conjugations helps us to speak French in the right way and also enables us to understand how other languages work. So, whenever you skip a portion of your grammar lessons next time think again!

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