French Grammar Explained /

Irregular verbs IR, OIR, RE

The French language has a pretty wide variety of verbs, some are regular (meaning they follow the same pattern)...
Yes, like parler.
Oui, exactement. And some verbs are irregular (meaning they do not follow the same pattern). Can you think of an example?
Maybe vouloir?
Super !
Put in a chart, it would look like this:
Regular verbs
Irregular verbs
Ending in -ER (manger, se lever, parler...)
Ending in -RE (vendre, cuire, mettre...)
Ending in -IR (finir, grandir, choisir...)
Ending in -IR (partir, offrir, accueillir...)
Ending in -OIR (vouloir, pouvoir, voir...)
Uh... It looks like there are more irregular than regular verbs!
Actually... The regular -ER verbs are the most common in the French language. And just a few of the irregular ones are really necessary.
Good to know!
Let's look at some examples for the regular verbs:
Je parle français.
I speak French.
Je finis ma soupe.
I finish my soup.
Do you remember the endings for those verbs?
Oui, bien sûr.
-ER regular
-IR regular
Excellent !
So, what about the other verbs, the irregular ones?
Well... For most of them you will have to learn the conjugations step by step. Fortunately, there are some regularities in the irregular verbs and you'll find that their conjugations are not that complicated.
I hope you're right.
Let's have a look at some examples:
Ils vendent des téléphones. (vendre)
They sell phones.
Nous partons en Suisse pour les affaires. (partir)
We go to Switzerland for business.
Vous dormez à l'hôtel en voyage ? (dormir)
Do you sleep at a hotel when traveling?
Elles ouvrent les lettres de tous leurs collègues. (ouvrir)
They open the letters of all their colleagues.
Tu reçois des cadeaux à Noël. (recevoir)
You receive gifts on Christmas.
Many irregular verbs will have the same conjugation. You can then learn the conjugation and apply it to other verbs.
For instance: → vendre, prendre, apprendre, comprendre, attendre, entendre...
→ mettre, permettre, remettre, promettre...
→ ouvrir, offrir, souffrir...
→ partir, sortir, servir, dormir...