mardi 12 avril 2011

Lesson 6: Verb Conjugations, Present Tense

Have you ever heard the term "verb conjugations?" Do you know what it means?

Don't feel bad if you don't -- it's something that we hardly pay attention to in English. We pretty much only conjugate verbs in the 3rd person. (I eat, you eat, we eat, but he eats.)

The French, however, are a bit more picky about their subject-verb agreements. They have a different conjugation for every one of their pronouns.

Conjugating regular verbs is actually quite simple. You take the infinitive form of a regular verb (see lesson 5) and remove the -er ending.

Marcher (to walk) becomes March- This is called the root of the verb.

Then you add an ending depending on the subject. The conjugation pattern for regular verbs is:

Vous ...........-ez
Ils/elles .......-ent

So the formula is: Subject + Root + Ending

Say you want to say I walk. In this case your subject is "I." By looking at your pronoun list you can see that the the subject "I" goes with the ending "-e."

Je + march- + -e, right?

Je marche. I walk.

In case you want to see what a present-tense conjugated verb looks like:

Marcher (to walk)

Je marche (I walk)
Tu marches (you walk, informal)
Il / elle / on marche (he/she/one walks)
Nous marchons (we walk)
Vous marchez (you walk, plural, formal)
Ils / elles marchent (they walk, m/f)

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