grammar points

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  • Created by: Lauren
  • Created on: 13-06-13 09:15

The imperfect tense

  • to say what used to happen 
  • what used to happen/what you used to do regularly in the past
  • to describe what things were like and how people felt in the past

with -er verbs

  • to form the imperfect tense with -er verbs you use the same stem of the verb as for the present tense. Then add the correct ending. 

je - ais

tu - ais

il/elle/on - ait

nous - ions 

vous - iez 

ils/elles - aient 

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The imperfect tense

with -Ir verbs 

  • to form the imperfect tense of -ir verbs, you use the same stem of the verb as for the present tense. Then you add the correct ending. 

je - issais

tu - issais

il/elle/on - issait 

nous - issions 

vous - issiez

ils/elles - issaient 

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The imperfect tense

with -re verbs

  • To form the imperfect tense of -re verbs you use the same stem of the verb for the present tense. Then you add the correct endings. 

Je - ais

tu - ais

il/elle/on - ait

nous - ions

vous - iez

ils/elles - aient 

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irregular verbs with the imperfect

Irregular verbs in the imperfect tense 

J'étais

tu étais

il/elle/on était

nous étions

vous étiez

ils/elles étaient 

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The future tense

Used to talk about something that will happen or will be true in the future 

To form the future tense in French, you use:

  • the infinitve of -er or -ir verbs, for example, donner, finir
  • the infinitive without the final e or re verbs e.g. attendr-
  • Then add teh correct ending to the stem. 

Je - ai

tu - as

elle/ils/on - a

nous - ons

vous - ez

ils/elles - ont 

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Irregular verbs with the future tense

There are some verbs that do not use their infinitves as the stem for the future tense, invluding avoir, etre, faire and aller 

other irregular verbs include:

devoir - stem = devr

puvoir - stem = pourr

savoir - stem = saur

tenir - stem = tiendr

venir - stem = viendr

voir - stem = verr

vouloir - stem = voudr

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Irregular verbs with the future tense

future tense of avoir:

j'aurai

tu auras

il/elle/on aura

nous aurons

vous aurez

ils/elles auront 

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Irregular verbs with the future tense

This is the future tense of etre 

je serai

tu seras

il/elle/on sera

nous serons

vous serez

ils/elles seront 

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Irregular verbs with the future tense

This is the future tense of faire 

je ferai

tu feras

il/elle/on fera

nous ferons

vous ferez

ils/elles feront 

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The conditional

To form the conditional in french, you have to use:

  • the infinitive of -er and -ir verbs e.g. donner- finir-
  • the infinitive without the final -e or -re verbs e.g. attendr-
  • then add the correct ending 
  • the endings are the same as the -er and -re endings for the imperfect tense but the stem is the same as the future tense. 

je -ais, tu -ais, il/elle/on -ait, nous -ions, vous -iez, ils/elles -aient

e.g. je donnerais, tu donnerais, il/elle/on donnerait, nous donnerions, vous donneriez, ils/elles donneraient 

make sure not to mix up the future tense and the conditional:

future - donnerai, finirai, attendrai

conditional - donnerais, finirais, attendrais 

irregular conditionals - to form the conditional of an irregular verb use stem of future tense e.g. aur-

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The perfect tense

The perfect is one of the verb tenses used to talk about the past, especially about actions that took place and were completed in the past. 

The perfect tense has two parts to it:

  • the present tense of the verb avoir or etre
  • a part of the main verb called the past participle, like given, finished, and done in English

to form the past participle:

  • you use the infinitive of the verb
  • for -er verbs you replace the end of the infinitive with é e.g. donné
  • for -ir verbs, you replace the -ir at the end of the infinitive with -i e.g. fini
  • for -re verbs you replace the -re at the end of the infinitive with -u e.g. attendu 

most verbs form their perfect tense with avoir, for example donner:

j'ai donné, tu as donné, il/elle/on a donné, nous avons donné, vous avez donné, ils/elles ont donné

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The perfect tense

When a verb takes etre, the past participle always agrees with the subject of the verb, the endings change in the masculine, feminine and plural forms.

masculin singular = - 

feminine singular = -e

plural masculine = -s

plural feminine = -es

je suis tombé, tu es tombé, il/elle/on est tombé(e)(s), on est tombé, nous sommes tombé(e)s, vous etes tombé(e)(s)ils/elles sont tombé(e)s

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Irregular verbs in the perfect tense

Some past participles are irregular:

avoir - eudevoir - dire - ditêtre - étéfaire - fait, mettre - mis, pouvoir - puprendre - prissavoir - su, tenir - tenu, venir - venu, voir - vu, vouloir - voulu 

il pleut becomes il a  plu

il faut becomes il a fallu 

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The pluperfect

The pluperfect is a verb tense which describes something that had happened or had been true at at a point in the past, for example i'd forgotten to finish my homework. 

Like the perfect tense, the pluperfect tense in French has two parts to it:

  • the imperfect tense of the verb avoir or etre
  • the past participle

verbs taking avoir - j'avais donné, tu avais donné, il/elle on avait donné, nous avions donné, vous aviez donné, ils/elles avaient donné

  • the pluperfect tense of -ir verbs like finir is formed in the same way except for the past participle: j'avais fini, tu avais fini and so on
  • the pluperfect tense of -re verbs like attendre is formed in the same way, except for the past participle: j'avais attendu, tu avais attendu 
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The pluperfect

verbs taking être

j'étais tombé, tu étais tombé, il/elle/on était tombé, nous étions tombé, vous étiez tombé, ils/elles étaient tombé

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The passive

The passive is a form of the verb that is used when the subject of the verb is the person or thing that is affected by the action, for example, I was given, we were told, it had been made. 

In English we use the verb to be with the past participle (was hit, was given) to form the passive. In French the passive is formed in exactly the same way, using être and the past participle. The past participle agrees with the subject of the passive verb; that is, the endings change in the feminine and plural forms.

elle est encouragée par ses parents = she is encouraged by her parents

vous êtes tous bien payés = you are well paid

les portes ont été fermées = the doors have been closed

the present tense of aimer in its passive form: je suis aimé(e), tu es aimé(e), il/elle/on est aimé(e)(s), nous sommes aimé(e)(s), vous êtes aimé(e)(s), ils sont aimés, elles sont aimées.

  • passive or -ir formed in same way except past participle is different e.g. elle est templie
  • passive of -re verbs formed in same way except past participle is different e.g. il est dé
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The passive

You can form other tenses of the passive by changing the tense of the verb être 

imperfect: j'étais aimé(e) = i was loved

future: tu seras aimé(e) = you will be loved

perfect: il a été aimé = he has been loved 

  • irregular past participles are the same as for the perfect tense 
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The present participle

The present participle is a verb form ending in -ing which is used in English to form verb tenses, and which may be used as an adjective and a noun e.g. what are you doing? the setting sun, swimming is easy!

forming the present participle 

To form the present participle of regular -er, -ir and -re verbs, you use the nous form of the present tense and replace the -ons ending with -ant. 

donnons - donn - donnant 

lançons - lanç - lançant

mangeons - mange - mangeant

finissons - finiss - finissant

partons - part - partant

attendons - attend - attendant

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The present participle

Irregular verbs

Three verbs have an irregular present participle:

avoir - ayant

être - étant

savoir - sachant 

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The subjunctive

The subjunctive is a verb form that is used in certain circumstabces to express some sort of feeling, or to show there is doubt about whether something will happen or whether something is true. 

you may see the subjunctive after certain verbs that you use when you areL

  • wishing something: vouloir que, désirer que, aimer que, aimer mieux que, préférer que
  • fearing something: avoir peur que
  • giving your opinion:croire que 
  • saying how you feel: regretter que, être content que, être surpris que
  • after certain verbal expressions starting with il e.g. il faut que, il vaut mieux que
  • bien que

the present subjunctive of -er verbs

for -er verbs the endings are the same as for the ordinary present tense, apart from the nous and vous forms which have an extra i, as in the imperfect tense 

je = -e = je donne, tu = -es = tu donnes, il/elle/on = -e = il/elle/on donne, nous = -ions = nous donnions, vous = -iez = vous donniez, ils/elles = -ent = ils donnent

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The subjunctive

Forming the present subjunctive of -ir verbs

To form the stem of the present subjunctive you take the infinitve and chop off -ir, just as for the present tense. Then you add the correct ending, depending on whether you are referring to je, tu, il, elle, on, nous, vous, ils, elles 

Je = -isse = je finisse

Tu = -isses = tu finisses 

il/elle/ on = -isse = il/elle/on finisse

nous = -issions = nous finissons 

vous = -issiez = vous finissiez

ils elles = -issent = ils/elles finissent 

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The subjunctive

Forming the present subjunctive of -re verb

To form the stem of the present subjunctive you take the infinitive and chop off the -re. Then you add the correct ending, depending on whether you are referring to je, tu, il, elle, on, nous, vous, ils, or elles. 

je = -e = j'attende

tu = -es = tu attendes

il/elle/on = -e = il/elle/ on attende

nous = -ions = nous attendions

vous = -iez = vous attendiez

ils/elles = -ent = ils/elles attendent 

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The subjunctive irregulars

aller - j'aille, tu ailles, il/elle/on aille, nous allions, vous alliez, ils/elles aillent

avoir - j'aie, tu aies, il/elle/on ait, nous ayons, vous ayez, ils/elles aient

devoir - je doive, tu doives, il/elle/on doive, nous devions, vous deviez, ils/elles doivent

dire - je dise, tu dises, il/elle/on dise, nous disions, vous disiez, ils/elles disent

être - je sois, tu sois, il/elle/ on soit, nous soyons, vous soyez, ils/elles siuebt

faire - je fasse, tu fasses, il/elle/on fasse, nous fassions, vous fassiez, ils/elles fassent

pouvoir - je puisse, tu puisses, il/elle/on puisse, nous puissions, puissiez, puissnet

prendre - je prenne, tu prennes, il/elle/on prenne, nous prenions, vous preniez, ils/elles prennent  (apprendre and comprendre the same e.g. j'apprenne, tu apprenes

savoir - je sache, tu saches, il/elle/on sache, nous sachions, vous sachiez, ils/elles sachent 

venir - je vienne, tu viennes, il/elle/on vienne, nous venions, vous veniez, ils/elles viennent

vouloir - je veuille, tu veuilles, il/elle/on veuille, nous voulions, vous vouliez, ils/elles veuillent 

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