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French Starter Fuel: 10 Commonly Used French Verbs to Launch You into the Language /blog/french/commonly-used-french-verbs/

Michael Cristiano

Learning French from scratch can be an exhilarating experience.

Exhilarating, but also daunting.

It can be both exciting and terrifying to master your ABCs in a totally different language and to practice the weird French u sound.

As you advance and continue to immerse yourself, you’ll run into other surprises, like the intricacies of formal French versus the curveballs of informal French .

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

While we’re on the topic of fun, basic French, we should cover perhaps the most important part of the language for beginners: verbs.

Not excited? Well, get excited!

Common verbs aren’t only awesome to know, but they’re super useful because they’re (you guessed it) super common in everyday conversation.

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

Why Learn Common French Verbs?
According to the book “A Frequency Dictionary of French,” there are certain words that are used in French way more frequently than others. This dictionary contains
adjectives and nouns and adverbs, but most importantly, it lists the most common verbs.

But why should you care? Verbs, shmerbs, right? Wrong. Verbs are an integral part of sentences. In fact, I would even say that verbs are a vital part of sentences.
Furthermore, because of the fact that these verbs are so common, they’ll be incredibly useful to a French learner who’s just starting out.

Besides that, the list below includes verbs that follow regular verb formation rules (regular verbs) as well as irregular forms ( irregular verbs). Learn how to conjugate the
verbs on this list, and you’ll be primed and ready for all the challenges of verb tenses in French.


once you have it memorized. Être (to be) Behold: the undisputed most common verb in the French language. Furthermore.) Vous êtes professeurs.) Ils sont étudiants. it can also be used as a support verb for compound verb tenses. (They are students. what are we waiting for? Check out the 10 most common verbs and start using them in your French! 1. (You are a woman. it’s infinitely useful. Check out these examples in the present tense: Je suis un homme. (We are students.Action Pack: The 10 Most Commonly Used French Verbs. (You are professors.) Il est professeur.) Elles sont étudiantes.) Tu es une femme. (She is a professor.) Nous sommes étudiants. And even though être is irregular. (They are students. (I am a man. even though this verb means “to be” by itself. And are you surprised? Take note of how often you use the verb “to be” and its conjugations (am.) 2/7 . is) in English. (He is a professor. are. All in One Place So. and you’ll see why être is so common in French.) Elle est professeure.

) Ils/elles peuvent manger.) Il/elle veut des crayons. As with être.) Vous avez des crayons. But for now. (He/she wants some pencils.) Vous faites une tasse de café. (We can go. Faire is the French verb meaning “to do” or “to make. aller can be used in compound verbs. avoir (to have). Vouloir (to want) In a lot of ways. (You’re doing the laundry. (You have some pencils. (They have some books.) Tu peux parler anglais. (He/she is going to my place.) Vous voulez un chien.” and like the others on this list. and it’s commonly used in the conditional form in order to make requests and ask for things in restaurants.) Il/elle peut lire.) Vous pouvez demander. (We’re going to the university. On to conjugation: J‘ai un chat. (He/she can read. it’s a plane! No. (I can speak French. the conjugation of vouloir is much like the conjugation of pouvoir. (You want a dog. I guess. Check out this verb in action: Je veux un livre. (We’re making cookies. It’s a very common verb.) Nous voulons un chat. and once again.) Tu veux un stylo. let’s not worry about that.) Ils/elles vont à la banque. (He/she makes a cake. (You’re going to school. (They’re going to the bank.) Nous avons des stylos. this verb is used to make compound verb tenses.) 3. this verb is also irregular.” Like être and avoir. most notably in the future tense.) Il/elle fait un gâteau.) 6. (I want a book.2. Avoir (to have) The second most common French verb. (You can speak English.) Tu vas à l’école.) Vous allez à la discothèque. pouvoir carries the same meaning as “can” in English. is also irregular. (We want a cat. it’s another irregular verb. (He/she has a book.) 4.) Nous faisons des biscuits.) Ils/elles veulent un café. I’m beginning to see a trend among all these common verbs… In any case. (You’re going to the dance club. Aller (to go) It’s a bird. Check out its conjugation: Je peux parler français. aller is an extremely useful verb to know. Faire (to do) What we would do without the verb “to do”? Not much. Check out these examples: Je vais au magasin. (I’m doing my homework.) 5. (You want a pen. it can be used in imperative or command phrases such as Faites vos devoirs ! (Do your homework!). (I have a cat.) Il/elle va chez moi.) Il/elle a un livre.) Tu fais la lessive. this verb is used to make requests and ask for things when it’s conjugated into the conditional tense. It means “to want” in English. And you guessed it. and it means “to go. Check it out: Je fais mes devoirs.) Nous pouvons aller.) 3/7 . (We have some pens. (They want a coffee. For example. at hotels and in stores. (You have a dog. Pouvoir (to be able to) While also an irregular verb. (They can eat. it’s common not only in vocabulary but also in its grammatical function.) Tu as un chien. (I’m going to the store.) Nous allons à l’université. (You’re making a cup of coffee.) Ils/elles ont des livres. (You can ask.

In any case.) Nous demandons un café et un thé.) Il/elle vient à midi.) 10. (They know.) Nous parlons hollandais.) Want more common French verbs? Check out the next 15 most common verbs below: Dire means “to say.) Il/elle demande un stylo. (We ask for a coffee and a tea.) Vous demandez que le professor explique le test. Ils/elles font leur travail. though: Even though demander can be used to mean “to ask. and where would this list be without the final verb being an irregular one? Check out its conjugation. savoir (to know) has a friend also: connaître (to know).) Ils/elles demandent quelque chose à manger. (You speak English. savoir is irregular.” and is an irregular verb. let’s just say that savoir means “to know something” like a fact or a skill. 4/7 . (You know that I like languages. (I speak French. (They’re coming at midnight.) Tu sais que j’aime les langues. Savoir (to know) Ready for another situation where French and English translations don’t quite match? Well. Donner means “to give. so for now. Much in the same way there’s a distinction between demander (to ask) and poser (to ask [a question]). (You come from Toronto. which involves dropping the -er ending and adding other endings. Falloir means “to need to/to be necessary. (I know how to speak French. Demander (to ask) And what do we have here? Another regular verb! As with the verb parler. poser is also a regular -er verb. (I come from Paris.” and is an irregular verb. (We speak Dutch.” and is an irregular verb.” the fixed expression poser une question means “to ask a question. The distinction is complex.) Tu parles anglais.) Tu viens de Toronto. Parler (to speak) At long last: a regular verb! The verb parler (to speak) is a regular verb and it follows the regular -er ending conjugation pattern. as it’s often used to ask the question Parlez-vous français (Do you speak French?).) Nous savons tout.) 7. you can learn these endings and use them with other verbs that end in -er. Lucky you! Check out the conjugation for demander: Je demande de l’aide.” and is a regular -er verb.) 9. (They speak German. Devoir means “to have to/must. Trouver means “to find.) Il/elle sait parler anglais. Manger means “to eat.) D’où venez-vous ? (Where do you come from?) Ils/elles viennent à minuit.) Nous venons de Tokyo. (He/she is coming at noon. (We know everything. Venir (to come) Last but not least. (You ask the professor to explain the test.) Que savez-vous ? (What do you know?) Ils/elles savent. (You ask me why. (He/she speaks Spanish. look no further.” By the way. demander is a regular -er verb that means “to ask. Check it out: Je sais parler français.” Don’t get confused. (They’re doing their work. we have the verb venir (to come).) Tu me demandes pourquoi.) Il/elle parle espagnol.) Quelle langue parlez-vous ? (Which language do you speak?) Ils/elles parlent allemand.” and is a regular -er verb.” and is a regular -er verb. Je parle français. (We come from Tokyo. (I ask for help. (They ask for something to eat.) 8. And because it’s regular. (She knows how to speak English. (He/she asks for a pen. This verb is also very common in French. Je viens de Paris.

” and is a regular -er verb. Happy learning! Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. cartoons and inspiring talks. In fact. Sortir/partir are two verbs that mean “to leave. Tenir means “to hold. with bilingual subtitles and quizzes.” and is a regular -er verb. there’s more to French than just verbs. news broadcasts. One quick look will give you an idea of the diverse content found on FluentU: Love the thought of learning French with native materials but afraid you won’t understand what’s being said? FluentU brings authentic French videos within reach of any learner.” and is a regular -re verb. you’ll pick up on not just the spoken language but the written language as well. commercials. Click here to get a copy.” and is an irregular verb. (Download) And One More Thing… While learning French with FluentU. prepositions. Interactive captions will guide you along the way.000 of them! Want something more manageable? Try the famous “501 French Verbs. Since this video content is stuff that native French speakers actually watch on the regular. there are so many verbs in French. Still not enough? Remember. you’ll learn the most-used verbs right along with the rest of the language. Be sure to learn your adjectives.” and is an irregular verb (conjugated like prendre). though. Passer means “to pass. Don’t ignore other words.” and they’re both irregular verbs. However.” and is an irregular verb. Rester means “to stay. relative pronouns and more. Prendre means “to take. these are just the most common verbs. so you’ll never miss a word. you’ll get the opportunity to learn real French—the way it’s spoken in modern life. Mettre means “to put. Rendre means “to return/to give back. 5/7 . Comprendre means “to understand. FluentU lets you learn French from real-world content like music videos. you can get a guide to conjugating 12.” Remember.” and is an irregular verb.

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