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French Irregular -RE Verbs

Learn the conjugation patterns for irregular French -re verbs


Irregular verbs are so named because they do not follow any of the regular conjugation patterns. But that doesn't mean that every irregular French verb is unique; many of them share a conjugation pattern with at least one other verb. By learning how to conjugate one verb in a group and memorizing the list of similar verbs, you'll be able to conjugate all the verbs in that group.

French has five irregular -RE verb patterns - see examples at the bottom of the page:

1. The first group includes prendre and all of its derivations (comprendre, etc). These verbs drop the d in all three plural forms and also double the n in the third person plural.

2. The second group includes battre and all of its derivations (débattre, etc). These verbs drop the stem's final t in the singular forms.

3. The third group includes mettre and all of its derivations (promettre, etc). These verbs are conjugated just like battre verbs in the present tense, but I consider them a separate group because they are conjugated differently in the passé simple, imperfect subjunctive, and past participle.

(As you can see in the table below, the first three groups take the same present tense verb endings.)

4. The fourth group of irregular -RE verbs includes rompre and its derivations (corrompre, etc). These verbs are conjugated exactly like regular -RE verbs with the single exception of the third person singular present tense, which adds a t after the stem.

5. The fifth group of irregular -RE verbs includes all verbs that end in -aindre (e.g., craindre), -eindre (like peindre), and -oindre (such as joindre). These verbs drop the d in the root in all forms, and add a g in front of the n in the plural forms.

The rest of the irregular -RE verbs have unique or unwieldy conjugations, so you have to memorize each one separately. Try working on one verb a day until you've mastered them all: absoudre, boire, clore, conclure, conduire, confire, connaître, coudre, croire, dire, écrire, faire, inscrire, lire, moudre, naître, plaire, rire, suivre, vivre.

Click any verb for the complete table of conjugations in all of the simple tenses and moods:

    Group 1   Group 2   Group 3
Pronoun Endings   prendre > pren(d)-     battre > bat(t)     mettre > met(t)
je -s   prends   bats   mets
tu -s   prends   bats   mets
il -   prend   bat   met
nous   -ons   prenons   battons   mettons
vous -ez   prenez   battez   mettez
ils -ent   prennent   battent   mettent
      Group 4   Group 5    
Pronoun Endings   rompre > romp-   craindre > crain-/craign-
je -s   romps   crains    
tu -s   romps   crains    
il -t   rompt   craint    
nous   -ons   rompons   craignons    
vous -ez   rompez   craignez    
ils -ent   rompent   craignent    
Test on irregular -RE verbs
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