Soyez - Third Group - First Sub-declension: Verbs With Seven Principal Parts

First Sub-declension: Verbs With Seven Principal Parts

Most irregular French verbs can be described with seven principal parts. In reality, few if any verbs have separate stems for all seven parts; instead, they tend to "inherit" the same stem as another part. Note that the endings for these verbs are basically the same as for regular -ir verbs; in fact, regular -ir verbs can be fit into this scheme by treating the -iss- variants as different principal parts.

Principal part How to get the stem "Inherited" (regular) value of stem
infinitive Remove ending -er, -ir, -oir, -re
First singular present indicative Remove ending -s, -e Infinitive stem
First plural present indicative Remove ending -ons Infinitive stem
Third plural present indicative Remove ending -ent First plural present stem
(First singular) future Remove ending -ai Full infinitive stem (minus any -e)
(Masculine singular) past participle Full word Infinitive stem, plus -i (plus -u if ends -re)
(First singular) simple past Remove ending -s, -ai Past participle (minus any -s or -t)

The following table shows how the paradigm of an irregular verb is constructed from its principal parts. Note that a few verbs construct the present indicative (especially the singular) differently.

Paradigm for most irregular verbs (7 principal parts)
Indicative Subjunctive Conditional Imperative
Present Simple past Imperfect Future Present Imperfect Present Present
je 1S+s PAST+s 1P+ais FUT+ai 3P+e PAST+sse FUT+ais
tu 1S+s PAST+s 1P+ais FUT+as 3P+es PAST+sses FUT+ais (same as pres. indic. 3rd. sg. if ends with vowel, else 2nd. sg.)
il 1S+t1 PAST+t 1P+ait FUT+a 3P+e PAST+ˆt FUT+ait
nous 1P+ons PAST+ˆmes 1P+ions FUT+ons 1P+ions PAST+ssions FUT+ions (same as pres. indic. 1st pl.)
vous 1P+ez PAST+ˆtes 1P+iez FUT+ez 1P+iez PAST+ssiez FUT+iez (same as pres. indic. 2nd pl.)
ils 3P+ent PAST+rent 1P+aient FUT+ont 3P+ent PAST+ssent FUT+aient

1 The -t is regularly dropped when directly following a d or t (e.g. il vend "he sells", not *il vendt).

Non-finite forms:

  • Infinitive: (full infinitive, with suffix)
  • Present participle: 1P-ant
  • Gerundive: en 1P-ant
  • Verbal adjective: 1P-ant(e)(s)
  • Past participle: PP(e)(s)

The following table gives principal parts for a number of irregular verbs. There are a number of fair-sized groups of verbs that are conjugated alike; these are listed first. There are some additional irregularities in the present indicative, which are listed below. Nearly all irregularities affect the singular, and are purely issues of spelling. (Stems that are irregular in the sense of being unpredictable by the above rules are given in boldface.)

Table of principal parts of irregular (and -ir) French verbs (7 principal parts)
INF: Infinitive Meaning FUT: Future Present Indicative PP: Past Participle PAST: Simple Past Notes Similar verbs
1S: 1st Sing (2nd Sing, 3rd Sing) 1P: 1st Plur (2nd Plur) 3P: 3rd Plur
chois-ir "to choose" choisir-ai choisi-s choisiss-ons choisiss-ent choisi choisi-s How a regular -ir verb would be represented by its principal parts About 300 verbs in -ir
ha-ïr "to hate" haïr-ai hai-s haïss-ons haïss-ent haï haï-s The same as a regular -ir verb but in Sing. pres. indic. the diaeresis drops out
vend-re "to sell" vendr-ai vend-s, vend-s, vend1 vend-ons vend-ent vendu vendi-s So-called "regular -re" verbs; all end in -dre, but not -indre attendre "wait", défendre "defend", descendre "go down", entendre "hear", étendre "extend", fondre "melt", pendre "hang", perdre "lose", prétendre "pretend", rendre "return, give back", répandre "spill", répondre "respond", etc.
craind-re "to fear" craindr-ai crain-s craign-ons craign-ent craint craign-is All verbs in -aindre, -eindre, -oindre, e.g. contraindre "compel", plaindre "complain"; atteindre "reach", ceindre "gird", empreindre "stamp", éteindre "turn off", étreindre "hug", feindre "pretend", geindre "whine", peindre "paint", restreindre "restrict", teindre "dye"; joindre "join", oindre "anoint", poindre "dawn", rejoindre "rejoin"
part-ir "to leave" partir-ai par-s part-ons part-ent parti parti-s Sing. pres. indic. stem drops last consonant of basic stem: je pars, dors, mens, sors, sens, sers /ʒ(ə) paʁ, dɔʁ, mɑ̃, sɔʁ, sɑ̃, sɛʁ/ dormir "sleep", s'endormir "fall asleep", mentir "lie (tell lies)", sentir "feel", consentir "agree", servir "serve", sortir "go out"
ouvr-ir "to open" ouvrir-ai ouvr-e, ouvr-es, ouvr-e ouvr-ons ouvr-ent ouvert ouvri-s Sing. pres. indic. uses endings -e -es -e, as with -er verbs couvrir "cover", offrir "offer", souffrir "suffer"
condui-re "to lead" conduir-ai condui-s conduis-ons conduis-ent conduit conduisi-s All verbs in -uire (except nuire), e.g. construire "build", cuire "cook", détruire "destroy", instruire "instruct", réduire "reduce", produire "produce", traduire "translate", etc.
recev-oir "to receive" recevr-ai reçoi-s recev-ons reçoiv-ent reçu reçu-s Other verbs in -cevoir, e.g. apercevoir "perceive", concevoir "conceive", décevoir "disappoint"
envoy-er "to send" enverr-ai envoi-e2 envoy-ons2 envoi-ent2 envoyé envoy-ai
voir "to see" verr-ai voi-s voy-ons voi-ent2 vu vi-s revoir "see again"
dev-oir "to owe, must" devr-ai doi-s dev-ons doiv-ent du-s Very similar to recevoir, but adds a circumflex to du to distinguish it from the partitive article du - due, dus and dues remain unchanged
mouv-oir "to move" mouvr-ai meu-s mouv-ons meuv-ent mu-s Adds a circumflex to mu to distinguish it from the greek letter mu (μ) - mue, mus and mues remain unchanged
émouv-oir "to move, affect" émouvr-ai émeu-s émouv-ons émeuv-ent ému ému-s promouvoir "promote"
pleuv-oir "to rain" pleuvr-a pleu-t (stem pleuv-) (stem pleuv-) plu plu-t Impersonal (3rd-singular only)
asseoir "to sit" assiér-ai; assoir-ai assied-s, assied-s, assied;1 assoi-s assey-ons; assoy-ons assey-ent; assoi-ent assis assi-s Notice that there are two sets of conjugations.
cueill-ir /kœjiʁ/ "to gather" cueiller-ai cueill-e, cueill-es, cueill-e cueill-ons cueill-ent cueilli cueilli-s Like ouvrir except the future; sing. pres. indic. uses endings -e -es -e, as with -er verbs
ven-ir "to come" viendr-ai vien-s ven-ons vienn-ent venu vin-s Note simple past plural vînmes, vîntes, vinrent /vɛ̃m, vɛ̃t, vɛ̃ʁ/ revenir "return", devenir "become", se souvenir "remember", parvenir "reach", prévenir "tell beforehand"; tenir "hold", retenir "memorize", contretenir "talk", soutenir "sustain", maintenir "maintain", appartenir "belong", etc.
mour-ir "to die" mourr-ai meur-s mour-ons meur-ent mort mouru-s
cour-ir "to run" courr-ai cour-s cour-ons cour-ent couru couru-s
di-re "to say, tell" dir-ai di-s dis-ons, dites dis-ent dit di-s Note the 2nd pl. dites contredire "contradict", interdire "forbid"
li-re "to read" lir-ai li-s lis-ons lis-ent lu lu-s
écri-re "to write" écrir-ai écri-s écriv-ons écriv-ent écrit écrivi-s décrire "describe", inscrire "inscribe"
ri-re "to laugh" rir-ai ri-s ri-ons ri-ent ri ri-s sourire "smile"
suffi-re "to suffice" suffir-ai suffi-s suffis-ons suffis-ent suffit suffi-s confire "pickle", circoncire "circumcise", frire "fry"
boi-re "to drink" boir-ai boi-s buv-ons boiv-ent bu bu-s
croi-re "to believe" croir-ai croi-s croy-ons2 croi-ent2 cru cru-s
conclu-re "to conclude" conclur-ai conclu-s conclu-ons conclu-ent conclu conclu-s Other verbs in -clure
plai-re "to please" plair-ai plai-s, plai-s, plaît plais-ons plais-ent plu plu-s Note the 3rd sg. plaît
clo-re "to close" clor-ai clo-s, clo-s, clôt clos-ons clos-ent clos (missing) Also missing the imperfect; note the 3rd sg. clôt
prend-re "to take" prendr-ai prend-s, prend-s, prend1 pren-ons prenn-ent pris pri-s comprendre "understand", apprendre "study", reprendre "take again", etc.
viv-re "to live" vivr-ai vi-s viv-ons viv-ent vécu vécu-s revivre "come alive again", survivre "survive"
suiv-re "to follow" suivr-ai sui-s suiv-ons suiv-ent suivi suivi-s poursuivre "pursue"
naît-re "to be born" naîtr-ai nai-s, nai-s, naît naiss-ons naiss-ent naqui-s Note the 3rd sg. naît
connaît-re "to know" connaîtr-ai connai-s, connai-s, connaît connaiss-ons connaiss-ent connu connu-s Note the 3rd sg. connaît reconnaître "recognize", paraître "seem", apparaître "appear", reparaître "reappear", disparaître "disappear"
mett-re "to put" mettr-ai met-s, met-s, met1 mett-ons mett-ent mis mi-s promettre "promise", permettre "permit", compromettre "compromise, damage", soumettre "submit, subdue", transmettre "transmit"
batt-re "to beat" battr-ai bat-s, bat-s, bat1 batt-ons batt-ent battu batti-s Close to vendre
romp-re "to break" rompr-ai romp-s romp-ons romp-ent rompu rompi-s Very close to vendre
vainc-re "to conquer" vaincr-ai vainc-s, vainc-s, vainc vainqu-ons vainqu-ent vaincu vainqui-s Essentially same as vendre, except for c/qu variation
coud-re "to sew" coudr-ai coud-s, coud-s, coud1 cous-ons cous-ent cousu cousu-s
moud-re "to grind, mill" moudr-ai moud-s, moud-s, moud1 moul-ons moul-ent moulu moulu-s
absoud-re "to absolve" absoudr-ai absou-s absolv-ons absolv-ent absous (missing)

1 The ending -t is regularly dropped when directly following a d or t (e.g. il vend "he sells", not *il vendt).

2 Alternation of -oi- before consonant or unstressed e, -oy- before other vowels is automatic in all verbs.

The following table shows an example paradigm of one of these verbs, recevoir "to receive".

Recevoir "to receive"
Indicative Subjunctive Conditional Imperative
Present Simple Past Imperfect Future Present Imperfect Present Present
je reçoi-s
tu reçoi-s
il reçoi-t
nous recev-ons
vous recev-ez
ils reçoiv-ent

Non-finite forms:

  • Infinitive: recevoir
  • Present participle: recevant
  • Gerundive: en recevant
  • Verbal adjective: recevant(e)(s)
  • Past participle: reçu(e)(s)

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