French verb groups – Grammar and exercises

You can go directly to the exercises If you are already familiar with the grammar.


This is the largest group. The group mainly contains what are called regular verbs, which means they are conjugated in the same way.

Conjugation may sound difficult, but it is, in fact, quite simple .

Let us go through the process together:

We start by removing “ER” from the end, which will give us the stems.

Parler – Parl.

Demander – Demand.

Manger – Mang.

Regarder – Regard.

Now we can add the endings (suffixes) to the stems.

The endings are as follows (it is a good idea to memorize them.) 

  1. E
  2. ES
  3. E
  4. ONS
  5. EZ
  6. ENT


We can add these endings to any of the 4 stems in step 1.

Let’s pick ”Parler”.


  1. Je parle – I speak
  2. Tu parles – You speak
  3. Il/elle/on parle – He/she/we speak
  4. Nous parlons – We speak (formal)
  5. Vous parlez – You speak
  6. Ils/elles parlent – They speak

You can now perform the same procedure with almost any verb in this group.

However, as you may already know, there are always exceptions in French . There is a minority of verbs that needs extra attention in the ER-group.

Let us focus on them later in this article.


This group contains verbs ending in IR.

  • Réussir: To succeed.
  • Finir: To finish.
  • Accomplir: To accomplish.

Let us remove the end (IR) just like we did before:

Réussir  Réuss
Finir Fin
Accomplir Accompl

Now we can look at the endings.

Please note that the endings differ from the ER group.

  • IS
  • IS
  • IT

Let’s add them to ”fin”.

Je finis I finish
Tu finis You finish
Il/elle/on finit He/she/we finish
Nous finissons We finish
Vous finissez You finish (formal)
Ils finissent They finish

Good news There are basically no exceptions within this group. IR is thus always conjugated in the same way.

RE, OIR and irregular verbs


Unfortunately, this group is a bit messy. In the classroom, they usually teach us RE-verbs. For instance:

  • Attendre: To wait
  • Entendre: To hear 

Let’s conjugate one of these verbs together (attendre).

We’ll begin by removing re from the end (attendre), which gives us attend. 

This is our stem. These are the endings for the RE-group:

  • s
  • s
  • – (nothing)
  • ons
  • ez
  • ent

Let’s add these endings to attend:


I wait

Tu attends

You wait

Il/elle/on attend

He/she/it waits

Nous attendons

We wait

Vous attendez

You wait

Ils/elles attendent

They wait


Let’s move on.

There are also many irregular verbs in this group.

Let us go through some of them together.

  • Savoir: To know.
  • Venir: To come.
  • Mettre: To put.


  • Je sais – I know
  • Tu sais – You know
  • Il/elle/on sait – He/she/we knows
  • Nous savons – We know
  • Vous savez – You know (formal)
  • Ils/Elles savent – They know


  • Je viens – I come
  • Tu viens – You come
  • Il/elle/on vient – He/she/it comes
  • Nous venons – We come
  • Vous venez – You come (formal)
  • Ils/elles viennent – They come


  • Je mets – I put
  • Tu mets – You put
  • Il/elle/on met – He/she/we put
  • Nous mettons – We put
  • Vous mettez – You put (formal)
  • Ils/elles mettent – They put


Are you familiar with reflexive verbs? I’ve written a similar article on the subject. 

I’ve also written an article on irregular French verbs.

Avoir and Être – the backbone of the French language

We have already talked about many verbs, but we have yet to speak about ”Avoir” and ”Être”.

You could say that they represent the backbone of the French language. Why?

They are used numerous times per day by native speakers. They are also used to speak about the past and the future.

So why have I not mentioned them before?

They are highly irregular and can represent an obstacle when you want to learn the basic conjugation rules.

I have already mentioned that you should learn some conjugations by heart. This is very much the case for ”avoir” and ”être”.

They can help you to express yourself even if you have a basic understanding of the language.

Let us go through the conjugations together

Être – To be

  • Je suis- I am
  • Tu es – You are
  • Il/elle/on est – He/she/we are
  • Nous sommes- We are
  • Vous êtes – You are (formal)
  • Ils/elles sont – They are

Avoir – To have

  • J’ai – I have
  • Tu as – You have
  • Il/elle/on a – He/she/we have
  • Nous avons – We have
  • Vous avez – You have (formal)
  • Ils/elles ont – They have

You can now use these verbs to speak about yourself.

  • Je suis americain et j’ai 32 ans. J’ai un frère et deux soeurs. Nous sommes une famille soudée. Je suis toujours hereux.
  • I am an American, and I am 32 years old. I have a brother and two sisters. We are a tight-knit family. I am always happy.

I advise you to create a couple of sentences about yourself. This will help you remember the verbs.

It is honestly quite taxing to learn verb conjugations without a proper context. In my opinion, the best context is to talk about yourself or something that you like doing.

I have learned a lot by using this simple method. You should always try to be creative when learning grammar. It is not just about learning rules and words.

Aller – To go

”Aller” is another irregular verb that can be used in numerous situations. You can also use ”Aller” to speak about the future.

Let us go through the basic conjugation.

  • Je vais – I go
  • Tu vas- You go
  • Il/elle/on va – He/she/we go
  • Nous allons – We go
  • Vous allez – You go (formal)
  • Ils/elles vont – They go

These conjugations will help you to speak about your day and what you will do in the near future.

  • Je vais manger quelque chose, puis je vais voir mon ami. Nous allons visiter un parc.
  • I am going to eat something. Then I will visit my friend. We are going to the parc.

In fact, this is an easy way to speak about the near future because it works in the same way as in English.

It always comes in handy to translate a word or a phrase directly from your mother tongue. You could say that it is a basic instinct to translate a phrase directly in your head. I wish this was possible with every French verb .

It should also be mentioned that ”aller” can be used in many expressions. For instance: ”Ça va?” roughly translates to ”How’s it going?”.

”Ça va” is used on a daily basis. It’s quite funny that you can answer with the same phrase, “Ça va”. You just need to change the intonation a bit to make it sound like an answer.

You can also use ”aller” to form a more specific way of asking how someone is doing. For instance:

  • Comment vas-tu? – How are you doing?

Have you ever watched a French sports game? In this case, you’ve probably heard ”Allez”,  which means ”Let’s go”.

These are just a few examples, but I think you are now quite convinced of the importance of this verb. 


Faire is another highly useful verb that is used in many expressions. It means ”To do/make”, and it is conjugated in the following way:

  • Je fais – I do
  • Tu fais – You do
  • Il/elle/on fait – He/she/we do
  • Nous faisons – We do
  • Vous faites – You do (formal)
  • Ils/elles font – They do

It is quite easy to learn the different forms by heart. You can put the conjugations in some of the common expressions that we will go through now.

  • Faire la grasse matinée – J’ai fais la grasse matinée – To sleep in/ I slept in.

Two examples in the past tense:

  • Faire le ménage – Nous avons fait le ménage – To clean/ We cleaned the house.
  • Faire du shopping – Ils ont fait du shopping – To go shopping / They went shopping.

There are also expressions where ”Faire” is used in the same way as in English.

  • Faire peur à quelqu’un – Elle m’a fait peur – Make someone scared/ She made me scared.
  • Faire ses devoirs – Je faisais mes devoirs – To do your homework/ I was doing my homework.

These are just some examples. You can probably see why it is good to focus on some specific verbs in the beginning.

They can help you to make progress in your studies. And yes, learning a language is a long process, and you will not become fluent overnight.

However, learning things in the right order will help you to maintain your motivation.


I have tried to explain the verb groups without putting too much focus on the grammar. However, it is difficult to learn a language without a basic understanding of grammar.

The French language has many exceptions. In this article, I have tried to avoid speaking about these exceptions. I believe that they could make you confused if you are not familiar with the basic grammar.

You are more than welcome to leave a comment if you have any questions. I will gladly help you as answering questions also gives me a better understanding of the language.

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