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20/10/2021
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The groups of the French verbs
First of all, before starting to learn the French tenses, you have to understand the groups of the verbs. These groups are the basis of the French conjugation.

All French verbs are categorized in 3 groups:

  • 1st group: all verbs ending by "er" (except ALLER)

    • Examples: aimer (to like), apprécier (to enjoy), chanter (to sing), pleurer (to cry), ...

  • 2nd group: most of the verbs ending by "ir" (present participle ending by "issant")

    • Examples: finir [finissant] (to finish), établir [établissant] (to establish), punir [punissant] (to punish), réussir [réussissant] (to succeed), ...

  • 3rd group: all other verbs (irregular verbs) categorized in subgroups:

    • verbs ending by "ir" and not being part of the 2nd group

      • Examples: mourir [mourant] (to die), tenir [tenant] (to hold), dormir [dormant] (to sleep), courir [courant] (to run), venir [venant] (to come), ...

    • verbs ending by "re"

      • Examples: prendre (to take), rendre (to give back), peindre (to paint), joindre (to join), croire (to believe), ...

    • verbs ending by "oir"

      • Examples: pleuvoir (to rain), concevoir (to design), recevoir (to receive), voir (to see), ...

    • the verb ALLER (to go)

  • The verbs ÊTRE (to be) and AVOIR (to have) are not in any groups.

Most of the verbs are regular (1st and 2nd groups). The number of irregular verbs is limited.

Afterwards, if you learn the conjugation for only one verb of each group + être and avoir (which means only 8 verbs), you are already well armed to manage to conjugate any verb of the French language. We are very far from the long list of English irregular verbs!

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