French Verb Être Conjugation
Être Conjugation, Usage, and Examples
- Pronunciation & Conversation
- Resources For Teachers
- Formal vs. Modern Pronunciation of Être
Compound past indicative, imperfect indicative, simple future indicative, near future indicative, conditional, present subjunctive, present participle/gerund.
The French irregular verb être, "to be," is one of the most important verbs in the French language. In this article, you can find the conjugations of être in the present, compound past, imperfect, simple future, near future indicative, the conditional, the present subjunctive, as well as the imperative and the gerund .
Être is not only common because it means "to be", but also because many verbs use être as an auxiliary verb to form compound tenses such as passé composé. In those cases we sometimes have to translate it as "have."
The verb êt re is used in many different ways and in countless French expressions , such as c'est la vie (that's life), and n'est-ce pas ? (isn't that right?).
Formal vs. Modern Pronunciation of Être
Be careful with the pronunciation of this verb. In more formal French, various forms of être involve liaisons, such as:
- Je suis -Z-américain: I am American.
- Ils sont-T-arrivés: They have arrived.
In informal modern French, however, there are glidings (elisions):
- Je suis becomes Shui , with no liaison: Shui américain.
- Tu es is pronounced Tay, with no liaison.
- Il sera is pronounced Il sra , and this continues in the future and the conditional.
The passé composé is a past tense that can be translated as the simple past or the present perfect. For the verb être , it is formed with the auxiliary verb avoir and the past participle été.
The imperfect tense is another form of the past tense, but it is used to talk about ongoing or repeated actions in the past. It can be translated to English as "was being" or "used to be", although it can sometimes also be translated as the simple "was", depending on the context.
Notice that the conjugations of the future tense are irregular, as the stem is ser-.
Another form of the future tense is the near future, which is the equivalent to the English "going to + verb". In French the near future is formed with the present tense conjugation of the verb aller (to go) + the infinitive ( être ).
The conditional mood in French is the equivalent to the English "would + verb." Notice that it uses the same irregular stem as the future tense.
The subjunctive mood conjugation of être is also highly irregular.
The imperative mood is used to give commands, both positive and negative. They have the same verb form, but the negative commands include ne...pas around the verb.
One of the uses of the present participle is to form the gerund (usually preceded by the preposition en ). The gerund can be used to talk about simultaneous actions.
Present Participle/Gerund of Être: étant
Je me suis marié en étant étudiant. -> I got married while being a student.
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Être Conjugation: How To Conjugate The Verb To Be In French
How to conjugate the French verb être
Être is one of the single most important and common French verbs in the entire language. The meaning of être is “to be”. The conjugation of être in the present tense is: Je suis (I am), Tu es (you are, familiar), Il, elle, on est (He, she, one is), Nous sommes (We are), Vous êtes (You are) and Ils, elles sont (They are).
Être is an irregular verb . This means that when conjugated, its endings are different from regular verbs in the -re group. In addition, être is used as an auxiliary verb in addition to avoir in the passé composé for intransitive and reflexive verbs .
Further down this page, we’ve listed the verb conjugation charts for être in the following tenses. Keep reading as we’ve provided lots of example sentences for each tense.
- present tense ( le présent de l’indicatif )
- compound past ( le passé composé )
- simple past ( le passé simple )
- imperfect ( l’imparfait )
- pluperfect ( plus-que-parfait )
- near future ( le futur proche )
- simple future ( le futur simple )
- past future ( le futur antérieur )
- conditional mood ( le présent du conditionnel )
- present subjunctive ( le subjonctif )
- imperative ( l’impératif )
- gerund ( le géronif ).
How to use Être
State of being.
The first usage of être is to express states of being. To form these sentences use the following grammatical construction: Je suis + adjective .
Here are some examples:
- Je suis heureux / heureuse. I am happy.
- Je suis fatigué(e). I am tired.
The second most common usage of être is to describe location.
- Je suis en France. I’m in France.
- Je suis en Angleterre. I’m in England.
- Je suis aux États-Unis. I’m in the United States.
- Il est dans le salon. He’s in the living room.
- Nous sommes dans la cuisine. We’re in the kitchen.
- Elle est dans la salle de bains. She’s in the bathroom.
This page covers geographical prepositions for places and countries , which can be confusing.
The verb être is also used in the idiomatic expression être d’accord avec , which means to agree.
- Je suis d’accord avec vous. I agree with you.
- Je ne suis pas d’accord avec vous. I don’t agree with you.
- Êtes-vous d’accord avec moi? Do you agree with me?
Auxiliary verb for passé composé
Être is used as an auxiliary verb used in the passé composé for verbs of movement as well as pronominal (reflexive) verbs.
- Je suis allé en France. I went to France.
- Nous sommes restés à la maison. We stayed home.
- Elle s’est levée à 8h00. She got up at eight o’clock.
Present progressive indicative ( en train de )
The grammatical construction être en train de + infinitive is used to describe being in the middle of doing something.
- Je suis en train de travailler. I am working.
- Je suis en train d’étudier ces verbes. I’m learning these verbs.
- Je suis en train de laver la voiture. I’m washing the car.
To describe ownership or possession of an object you can use the following: être à + name of person or stress pronoun (moi, toi, lui, elle etc).
- Le stylo est à moi. The pen is mine or belongs to me.
- La voiture est à elle. The car is hers or belongs to her.
- La maison est à eux. The house is theirs.
Being on time, early or late. You can also use être to describe punctuality. This lesson covers how to tell time in French .
- Je suis à l’heure. I’m on time.
- Je suis en avance. I’m early.
- Je suis en retard. I’m late.
Être conjugation charts
The following section contains the conjugation tables of être in all the major tenses with example sentences.
Present tense (present indicative)
The following table shows the verb être conjugated in the present tense ( le présent de l’indicatif ).
Compound past (passé composé)
The passé composé is a past tense that’s used to describe past actions which occurred at a specific moment in time.
The French passé composé equates to the simple past or the present perfect in English.
Être is formed in the passé composé by combing avoir in the present tense with the past participle été . Hence, “J’ai été” translates to “I was” or “I had been”.
Passive voice with the past participle of être
The past participle of être, “été” is also used to form a past tense of the French passive voice . Here are some example sentences:
- Le bâtiment a été construit en 1981. The building was built in 1981.
- L’histoire a été écrite par un grand écrivain. The story was written by a great author.
Simple past (passé simple)
The passé simple is a literary past tense that equates grammatically to the passé composé.
While not necessary to memorize perfectly, it is a good idea to recognize the third-person singular and plural forms: Il/elle fut translates to “He/she was” and Ils/elles furent translates to “they were”.
Imperfect indicative ( imparfait )
The imperfect indicative ( imparfait ) tense is to describe past events who do not have a precise start and stop time.
For the verb être, the imperfect is formed by adding the appropriate ending to the stem “ét”. Thus, “J’étais” translates to both “I was” and “I used to be”.
Pluperfect ( plus-que-parfait )
The French pluperfect ( plus-que-parfait ) is a tense that’s used to express anteriority (one event occurring before another).
For the verb être, it is formed by combining avoir in the imperfect with the past participle été . Hence. “J’avais été” translates to “I had been”.
Near future ( futur proche )
The near future tense ( futur proche ) is used to describe future events which suggest a high level of certainty.
For the verb être, the future tense is formed by combining the present tense of aller (to go) with the infinitive. Hence, “Je vais être” means “I’m going to be”.
Simple future ( futur simple )
The futur simple , also simply called the “ French future tense “, is used to describe future events. The events this tense describes are usually a bit less certain that those of the previous near future tense.
To form the futur simple for the verb être, add the appropriate ending to the stem, “-ser”. Hence, “Je serai” means “I will be”.
Past future ( futur antérieur )
The past future tense ( futur antérieur ) is used to describe events that will have occurred in the future.
For the verb être , this tense is formed by combining the simple future of avoir (to have) as an auxiliary verb with the past participle of être . Hence, “J’aurai été” translates to “I will have been”.
Conditional mood ( présent du conditionnel )
The French conditional tense is used to describe hypothetical situations. This the “would” tense.
For the verb être, it is formed by attaching the appropriate ending to the stem “-ser”. Hence, “Je serais” translates to “I would be”.
Present subjunctive ( subjonctif )
The French subjunctive mood ( le subjonctif ) is used to express wishes, emotions and doubts. In the first-person singular form “que je sois” translates to “that I be”.
Imperative ( impératif )
The imperative mood ( impératif ) is used to express both positive and negative commands. For the negation , ne…pas gets wrapped around the verb.
The French gerund is a combination of the preposition “en” and the present participle. The present participle of être is “ étant “.
The gerund of être is “en étant” , which translates to “while being”.
- J’ai trouvé mon premier boulet en étant un étudiant en Asie. I found my first job while being a student in Asia.
The present participle “étant” as a second usage. When placed before the past participle of one of the verbs which uses être as an auxiliary verb in the passé composé, it means “having”. For example:
- Étant arrivé à l’heure, j’ai pu diner avec la famille. Having arrived on time, I was able to have dinner with the family.
Auxiliary verb in passé composé for intransitive and reflexive verbs
The verb être is used as an auxiliary (helping) verb to for the passé composé for both intransitive verbs (verbs where the subject and object are the same) and reflexive verbs.
Pronounce the forms of “être” like an expert! In addition to mastering the basic conjugations, it’s of vital importance to know know how to pronounce the various forms of être and how to use them in “real” modern conversation. This is were Camille at Frenchtoday.com comes in. In this post on être , Camille covers the pronunciation “être” in great detail, offering 450 audio samples in all the main tenses.
- Parler (to speak) conjugation charts
- manger (to eat) conjugation charts
- Aller (to go) conjugation charts
- Faire (to make, do) conjugation charts
- Avoir (to have) conjugation charts
- Direct and indirect object pronouns
- Pouvoir (can, to be able to) conjugation charts
- Aimer (to like, to love) conjugation charts
- Savoir (to know)
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David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site, FrenchLearner.com, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.
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'être' conjugation table in French
Past participle, present perfect, conditional, past historic, future perfect, past anterior, conditional perfect, subjunctive.
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How to conjugate the verb être in French with all tenses & moods
To be or not to be… Telle est la question. “Be” is probably one of the most, if not the most, important verb in many languages. Knowing its proper conjugation will allow you to:
- Say how you feel in French
- Describe your personality in French
- Use French adjectives
- Explain where you are
- Mention your job
- Use the passive voice
- Talk about existentialism
- And many more!
Below, we have compiled a comprehensive guide to French “to be” conjugation . Ok, you might not need to use all these tenses — especially the fancy/vintage plusperfect subjunctive — but you’ll certainly take your French skills to the next level. And you’ll be able to read old French books!
The verb être
Être and avoir
“Être” and “Avoir” are the two most important French verbs. Unfortunately, these are irregular verbs, so you’re going to have to learn their conjugation. The good news is, once you do, you’ll be able to use them in a wide variety of contexts!
Main uses of “être”
“Être” means “to be”. As in English, it’s used to express a sense of being, whether temporary or permanent. It’s also used in the passive voice as an auxiliary verb.
Additionally, you’ll find “être” in these four grammatical expressions:
- c'est – this is, that is.
- est-ce que – to be used in a question .
- être en train de – to express something progressive.
- n'est-ce pas – to ask for confirmation of information or a statement.
Differences with English
While there are many similarities between “être” and “to be”, watch out for the following differences:
1. Age: In French, you’re not an age, you have it.
“J’ai trente ans” and NOT “Je suis trente ans” .
2. Weather: To comment on the weather in French , use “faire.”
“Il fait chaud” and NOT “Il est chaud” .
3. Basic needs
If you’re thirsty, hungry, hot or cold, use “avoir” in French. “J’ai soif” and NOT “Je suis soif”.
French verb to be complete conjugation charts
We want to make learning French as clear as possible for you, so you'll find complete French chart tables below for conjugating to be in French, in all tenses and all moods. It could be a good idea to print these all out for a nifty French verb grammar guide for the most popular verb: être . Or alternatively, bookmark this page, and come back to it for whenever you need a straightforward grammar check.
The present tense is usually the first tense you’ll learn in a foreign language.
Even if you don’t master other tenses yet, you can get around and be understood using the present tense.
A great motivation to learn the table below, right?
And while you’re at it, make sure to learn the French pronouns .
The imperfect tense is the easiest past tense in French, with few irregular conjugations.
So forget about perfection and learn the French imperfect for “être” !
Another staple of French grammar, the future tense is key to speaking about… well… the future.
That reminds me, did you read our article on possessive pronouns in French ?
Ok, I’m getting off topic, back to the future !
The French conditionnel can be used as a mood and a tense. How cool is that?
The subjunctive is widely used in French and other Latin languages . This mood is used to indicate uncertainty, subjectivity or unreality.
And here is another subjunctive for you! It's used in formal and written French from literature to history and journalism.
The “passé composé” is very handy if you haven’t mastered the “imperfect” tense yet. It’s way easier to learn and easier to use in a conversation!
Past perfect follows the structure of the “passé composé ”. Pretty easy!
Ok, we’re entering advanced French territory… But hey, even if you don’t get to use the tenses and moods below, they might still help you to read books in French !
Yep, another advanced one… you can use the past conditional in French to talk about something that would, could, or should have, but didn't happen.
And another… you can use the past subjunctive in French to express emotion, doubts, and uncertainty.
If you’re capable of learning and using the extremely rare, extremely formal French verb form pluperfect subjunctive of être in a conversation with Francophones , you deserve a prize. Up to the challenge?
Even though you won’t hear this one very often in everyday conversations, it’s a very useful tense to know if you want to speak French properly.
Try to use this one to impress your French-speaking friends!
The imperative mood is used to give orders/commands. The lack of a subject pronoun identifies this mood. To find the French conjugation for “être” in the imperative mood, just use the present indicative.
In this article, we covered the most important things to know about French to be conjugation.
By now, you should be a true “spelling be” in French.
But if you’re still struggling with “être ,” don’t let it be. Check out our French learning blog or our French lessons !
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French Verb Être: Conjugation and Usage (+ FREE Audio)
BY Frederic Bibard
Last Updated: June 6, 2023
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The French verb être is one of the most important verbs you could learn in French. Être means “to be” and this highly irregular French verb can be found everywhere – in simple daily conversations, idiomatic expressions, written language, and elsewhere – making it a must-learn for anyone who is starting to learn French.
Here in this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about this verb: how to use être and être conjugation tables.
This article comes with free MP3 files that you can use to practice your listening and pronunciation skills. The audio also doubles as drills for you to familiarize yourself with the conjugation of the verb être, using an effective repetition method.
The audio is included in the fully-packed French Learning Package which you can access for FREE when you signup to join our mailing list.
I. How to use être
3 main ways the french verb être (to be) is used.
- Être is used with nouns, adjectives, and adverbs to describe the permanent or temporary state of being. Example: Je suis une amoureuse des animaux. (I am an animal lover.)
- It is also used to indicate possession. Example: C’est mon chien . (It’s my dog.)
- Also to talk about someone’s job or profession. Example: Je suis étudiant. (I am a student.)
Être as an auxiliary verb
- Compound tenses. Être is an auxiliary verb which is used with the past participle of several French verbs to form compound tenses such as the perfect or the past perfect. Example: Je suis allé en France l'année dernière. (I went to France last year.)
- Passive voice. To form the passive tenses in French, être is used, followed by the past participle.
- Present Passive: present tense of être + past participle
- Passé composé passif (perfect passive): perfect tense of être + past participle
- Futur passif (future passive): future tense of être + past participle
- Passé conditionnel passif (past conditional passive): past conditional tense of être + past participle
See also : 200 Most Common French Verbs
II. Être Conjugation
Since être is a highly irregular French verb, the conjugation can be quite tricky. It's something that you must master usually by memorizing, or with the help of audio drills.
In this part, let's review the conjugation tables for the French verb être.
Être Conjugated in the Indicative Mood (INDICATIF)
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How to conjugate être in the present tense (Présent)
How to conjugate être in the imparfait, how to conjugate être in passé composé, how to conjugate être in passé simple, être in plus-que-parfait, être in passé antérieur, être in futur antérieur, être in the subjunctive mood (subjonctif).
Être in the Conditional Mood (CONDITIONNEL)
Passé (1ère forme)
Passé (2ème forme)
- masc.sg.: été
- masc.pl.: été
- fém.sg.: été
- fém.pl.: été
PARTICIPE PASSÉ COMPOSÉ
Être Conjugated in the Imperative Mood (IMPÉRATIF)
- (nous) soyons
- (vous) soyez
- (tu) aie été
- (nous) ayons été
- (vous) ayez été
Être in the Infinitive Mood (INFINITIF)
Iii. quick exercise: fill in the blanks.
1. Je ____ Français (I am French)
Click to reveal the answer
Je suis Français.
2. Tu ____gentil (You are nice)
Tu es gentil.
3. Elle ____ jolie (She is cute)
Elle est jolie.
4. Il _____ sérieux (He is serious)
Il est sérieux.
5. Nous ____ étudiants (We are students)
Nous sommes étudiants.
See also: French Verbs Conjugation Quiz
This etre conjugation tables will surely make mastering the French verb être easier!
Être is a super-charged, widely-used French verb that you should spend time getting to know along with other most commonly used verbs such as a voir, dire, être, faire, finir, manger, pouvoir, savoir,venir, voir, and vouloir.
But would you believe me if I say that you can master the different conjugations of these verbs without any rote memorization? All you need is a handy pack of audio drills to listen to and practice everyday.
Do you still find these etre conjugations difficult? Check out the French Verb Conjugation Course and see how you can learn French verb tenses naturally.
Here are some FAQs about French Verb Être
How do you use être in french.
Être is a verb meaning “to be” in English. Just like the verb “to be,” être is also an extremely versatile and irregular verb. The most basic usage of être is to attribute a trait or describe the state of the subject:
Je suis heureux/heureuse ! (I am happy!) Nancy est petite. (Nancy is small.) Nous sommes à la maison. (We are at home.)
Être is also commonly used to indicate possession, or to talk about one’s profession:
C’est ton chat, non? (That’s your cat, isn’t it?) Elle est médecin. (She’s a doctor.)
What is the présent conjugation for être ?
The present tense conjugation for être is as follows:
Je suis (I am) Tu es (you are) Il/elle/on est (he/she/it is) Nous sommes (we are) Vous êtes (you [plural or formal] are) Ils/elles sont (they are)
What verbs do you use être with?
The article has managed to discuss all conjugations for the French verb être . However, être and avoir are both very odd verbs, and can often switch places. In fact, être takes the place of avoir as the auxiliary verb when conjugating certain verbs to the passé composé .
“Dr Mrs P. Vandertramp” is a very popular tool for French language learners to memorise irregularly conjugated verbs in the past participle, or the passé composé . This is an acronym, so each letter represents a verb. It is known as the “House of Être ” because all of these verbs use être as their auxiliary. However, please note that not all verbs using être are included in this abbreviation.
Here is the list of Dr Mrs P. Vandertramp verbs:
Devenir (to become): devenu Revenir (to come back): revenu
Monter (to climb): monté Rester (to stay): resté Sortir (to leave): sorti
Passer (to pass): passé
Venir (to come): venu Aller (to go): allé Naître (to be born): né
Descendre (to descend): descendu Entrer (to enter): entré Rentrer (to re-enter): rentré
Tomber (to fall): tombé Retourner (to turn around): retourné Arriver (to arrive/come): arrivé Mourir (to die): mort Partir (to leave): parti
Now here are some examples of conjugated verbs from Dr Mrs P. Vandertramp in the past participle. Remember subject-verb agreements – an extra -e for females, and an -s for multiple subjects.
subject + être ( présent ) + Dr Mrs P Vandertramp verb ( passé composé )
Je suis allé (I went) Elle est tombée (She fell) Vous êtes venu (You came) Nous sommes entrés (We entered) Ils sont revenus (They came back)
About the author
Frederic Bibard is the founder of Talk in French, a company that helps french learners to practice and improve their french. Macaron addict. Jacques Audiard fan. You can contact him on Instagram
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Conjugation of the French verb être
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Être (to be) conjugation in French: Chart and examples
The verb “être” is one of the most important verbs in the French language. It means “to be” and is used to express a variety of meanings, including identity, location, and existence. In this lesson, we will learn about the conjugation of “être” in French, including its chart and some examples.
Chart of “être” Conjugation:
- Je suis étudiant. (I am a student.)
- Tu es à la maison. (You are at home.)
- Il est content. (He is happy.)
- Elle est française. (She is French.)
- Nous sommes ensemble. (We are together.)
- Vous êtes les bienvenus. (You are welcome.)
- Ils sont amis. (They are friends.)
It’s important to note that “être” is an irregular verb and its conjugation does not follow the typical pattern for conjugating verbs in French. Additionally, “être” has a unique conjugation for the pronoun “on”, which is used to refer to a general or indefinite third person.
In conclusion, “être” is a very important verb in French, used to express a variety of meanings, including identity, location, and existence. Its conjugation is irregular and does not follow the typical pattern for conjugating verbs in French. Practice using the chart and examples above, and you will soon be comfortable using “être” in your conversations in French.
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Être Conjugation - Conjugate Être in French
Être is a French irregular verb meaning to be . Être appears on the 100 Most Used French Verbs Poster as the #1 most used irregular verb.
Être Conjugation: Present Tense
*Irregular forms in bold .
Être Passé Composé
The passé composé of Être is formed by combining the auxiliary verb avoir with the past participle été .
Être Participe Présent
The participe présent of Être is étant .
Regular vs. Irregular Verbs
A verb is called a regular verb when its conjugation follows a typical pattern. A verb which does not follow these patterns exactly is called an irregular verb . In French, the 3 regular patterns are for verbs ending in er, re, and ir.
Looking for more verbs like Être? Check out our French Conjugation Chart , the 100 Most Used French Verbs Poster!
Go Back to All French Verbs
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Conjugate être in the present tense in French (Le Présent)
The verb être (to be) is irregular (it doesn't conjugate the same way as most verbs ending in -re ).
Learn how to conjugate ÊTRE (to be) in Le Présent (Indicatif) in French
Have a listen to these examples:
Je suis en retard. I am late.
Tu es jolie. You are pretty.
Il est grand. He is tall.
Elle est gentille. She is nice.
Nous sommes frères. We are brothers.
Vous êtes soeurs jumelles. You are twin sisters.
Ils sont irlandais. They are Irish (men).
Elles sont françaises. They are French (women).
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Learn more about these related French grammar topics
- Le Présent (Indicatif)
Examples and resources
Understanding French Conjugation for Être
While there are thousands of verbs you can use in a sentence, a few of them carry a much higher importance. Certain verbs, like “to do” or “to be” are used more often in any language, which makes understanding verb conjugation crucial. This is especially true with the French verb conjugation of être.
However, any type of French verb conjugation can get a little messy because you have to consider the tense, mood, and voice that are being used in a sentence. While there are many verbs that follow regular rules, there are also many that don’t. The word être is one of the irregular forms, but also one of the most commonly used verbs in French.
Conjugating the verb être, or “to be,” is one of the most important ways to improve your French and get one step closer to fluency. To help you better understand how to do this, this article will go over various tenses and their corresponding conjugation of être in French.
How to Conjugate Être in French
Conjugating être in French can be confusing, as there are several different ways it can be done. Each conjugation and subsequent forms of être depend on the sentence structure, the tense being used, and the overall mood. This can be overwhelming to new learners, especially because it’s one of the most important French verbs to learn, but with a little memorization and practice, être will become part of your vocabulary in no time. To help you get started, we’ve included tables of French être conjugation in some of the most commonly used verb tenses below.
French Être Conjugation in the Present
Present tense is the most commonly used tense in French verb conjugation . It’s used to describe the present moment, but also to describe your current state of being. To make more robust sentences, simply add some French adjectives. This could include your location, profession, or even physical state/emotion. The same is applied to être conjugation in French. You can see the different present tense être conjugations in the table below.
Some examples of using present tense être conjugation in a sentence include:
- Je suis professeur — I’m a teacher
- Nous sommes heureux — We are happy
Compound Past Être Conjugation
The compound past, or in French passé composé is used to talk about events that happened in the past. These are usually confined to singular events that happened once and then were over. The compound past needs to be combined with the auxiliary verb avoir (to have) and the past participle of être, which is été . You can see this defined in the table below.
Knowing the French alphabet is important for pronunciation of étre conjugations. Some examples of using the compound past tense with être conjugation in a sentence include:
- J’ai été impressionné — I’m was impressed
- Nous sommes bouleversé — We were devastated
Imperfect Être Conjugation in French
Another commonly used form of French être conjugation is the imperfect tense. The imperfect tense is used to talk about continuous events that happened in the past. This is similar to the English equivalent of “used to” or “was/were.” With so many different ways to talk about events in the past, present, and future, things can get a little complicated. Download Tandem to match with a native speaker and help strengthen your distinction between all of the different ways to conjugate être in French. When working with the être conjugation in the imperfect tense, more regular rules apply. As you can see in the table below, the roof of the word (ét) remains consistent throughout.
Some examples of using imperfect tense être conjugation in a sentence include:
- J’étais professeur — I used to be a teacher
- Nous étions heureux — We were happy
Être Conjugation for Simple Future Use
Conjugating être in French for future use is also an important part of working towards fluency, as it lets you discuss events that will be occurring later on. However, this is one of the most irregular forms of être conjugation, so memorization is key. The endings are regular, but the stem of être changes to ser-. You can see how this alters each form in the table below.
Some examples of using simple perfect tense être conjugation in a sentence include:
- Je serai professeur — I will be a teacher
- Nous serons heureux — We will be happy
Near Future Être Conjugation in French
If you want to talk about things that are going to happen soon, you can use the near future French être conjugation. This is similar to using “going to” in the English counterpart. You will need to partner the infinitive form of the verb être with aller conjugation to use this tense. You can see how this is done in the table below.
Some examples of using near perfect tense être conjugation in a sentence include:
- Je vais être professeur — I am going to be a teacher
- Nous allons être heureux — We are going to be happy
Conditional French Conjugation of Être
If you want to say something “would” be, you need to use the conditional form of être conjugation in French. This is often paired with the word “if” in a sentence, or si in French. Conditional usage is therefore a type of hypothetical tense, or a way of saying you would do something under certain circumstances. You can see how être changes in the following table.
Some examples of using the condition tense of être conjugation in a sentence include:
Present Subjunctive French Être Conjugation
Finally, the subjunctive form of être conjugation is used to express some type of doubt or possibility in French. It’s how you communicate about uncertain events or even requests. In most instances, the être conjugation will follow the conjunction “que” in order to complete the sentence. You can see this in the table below.
Some examples of using the present subjunctive form of être conjugation include:
- Je veux que tu sois heureux — I want you to be happy
- Quelle surprise que nous soyons ici — What a surprise that we are here
Other Applications of Être Conjugation
Être is considered an auxiliary verb, which means it can be used to help other verbs express tense, mood, or even voice. In this situation, être can transform other verbs into compound tenses. This is particularly important when working with avoir conjugations. Être can also be used with reflexive verbs in French.
Another way to use être conjugation is as a command. These forms are the same as using être conjugated in the subjunctive form. Some examples are as follows:
- sois gentil — be nice!
- soyez responsables — be responsible!
Other verbs that are similar in usage are the faire conjugation in French and venir conjugation.
Learning the être conjugation in French may take a little work, but with some memorization of the tables above and plenty of practice, you’ll have it down in no time. To help you solidify your understanding of this verb, and others, download Tandem today. Tandem is a unique learning language that can help you practice using core sentences with être conjugation in the past, present, and future.
Tandem offers a personalized language learning experience for members around the world looking to practice and exchange language. All you need to do is download the app, match with a native French speaker, and work on your conversation skills together. Unlike other language apps, Tandem focuses on helping members in our community create long-lasting friendships while strengthening their fluency. To join our community and practice your French, sign up for Tandem today.
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How to Conjugate ÊTRE – TO BE in French
| Published on: Nov 7, 2018 | Categories: LANGUAGE |
As part of my new shorter & simpler HOW TO videos, 2 weeks ago we conjugated one of the 2 most important French verbs: AVOIR = TO HAVE. Today, let’s focus on that 2nd very important verb: ÊTRE = TO BE.
Why is ÊTRE essential?
Not only is it a crucial verb that we constantly use but it’s also the base of a past tense called passé composé, which you could not conjugate at all without knowing the verb être in the present tense. It’s called un verbe auxiliaire, an auxiliary verb, l’auxiliaire être. Let’s conjugate it in the present tense with every single subject pronoun, and then, I’ll put it in a short sentence to give you context and more vocab at the same time. C’est parti!
Let’s conjugate ÊTRE
To be = Être
That’s called the infinitive, l’infinitif, which means it is not conjugated. Now let’s conjugate it, in the present tense.
I am = Je suis I am a woman = Je suis une femme
You are = Tu es (casual) You are so friendly = Tu es si gentil
She is = Elle est She is an excellent writer = Elle est une excellente écrivaine
He is = Il est He is always on time = Il est toujours à l’heure
We are = on est We are six people in this group = On est six personnes dans ce groupe*
On is the singular subject pronoun for we. Is it strange to think of we as singular? Think of a unit, think of a family. A family is made up of several people so it’s plural yet you say “my family IS” so it’s also singular. On is more used in spoken French, it’s the more casual way to say we.
We are = nous sommes We are six people in this group = Nous sommes six personnes dans ce groupe*
Nous is the plural subject pronoun for we. It’s less used in spoken French than on, which we just saw, and it’s the more formal, the more proper way to say we.
*Just to be sure you understand, the above 2 sentences mean the exact same thing and that is “We are six people in this group” The only difference is that “on” is more casual and “nous” is more “formal”
Same sentence as the one above, same meaning, only this time we sound more formal
On est six personnes dans ce groupe = Nous sommes six personnes dans ce groupe
You are = vous êtes (formal or you all) You are American? = Vous êtes Américain?
They are = Elles sont (for an exclusively feminine group) They are strong = Elles sont fortes
They are = Ils sont (for a masculine or a mixed group) They are 30 minutes away from here = Ils sont à 30 minutes d’ici
One more time!
ÊTRE = TO BE
je suis = I am
tu es = you are (casual)
elle est = she is
il est = he is
on est = we are (singular + casual)
nous sommes = we are (plural + formal)
vous êtes = you are (formal or you all)
elles sont = they are (feminine)
ils sont = they are (masculine or mixed)
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Salut Virginie, j’espère que vous allez enregistrer votre présentation et la partager avec ceux d’entre nous qui ne peuvent pas être là:) C’est un sujet qui m’intéresse beaucoup. J’ai récemment écouté des discussions sur ce sujet par Alain de Botton et Esther Perel, les deux étaient très bons!
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Je suis content. Vous etes gentil Vous etes tres gentil Virginie et une personne heureuse
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- French Verbs
Être Conjugation in the Present Tense [+11 Examples]
- Sam Denishin
- May 2, 2020
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In this French grammar lesson, you will learn about être conjugation in the present tense .
In this lesson you will learn about:
- how être is conjugated in French
- how être is used in French
- how être is pronounced in French
- how être is used in sentences in French
- how you can quiz yourself on être conjugation in the present tense
- how to practice with flashcards for être conjugation
- how and why you should use the courses of Language Atlas to learn French
Please refer to the French A1 Curriculum to get a better overview of French grammar, if you are curious about this fits in French A1 .
By the end of the lesson you will know all about être conjugation in the present tense!
Table of Contents
Être conjugation in the present tense, usage of être.
This section on être conjugation in the present tense will show you how être is used in French.
Être which means “to be” and is an irregular verb.
There are 4 general usages for the verb être in French.
- To present oneself
J e suis Mme Martin I am Miss Martin
This is similar to how you use it in English.
- To state one’s nationality
Il est américain He is American
Please note that nationalities in French are not capitalized unless they are used as a proper noun.
- To talk about your job/profession
Je suis avocat I am a lawyer
In French, when you talk about your profession you don’t use an article before your profession.
- Describe a person or a thing
Vous êtes heureuse Mme Martin? Are you happy Miss Martin?
Note that when we are in a formal situation or are speaking to someone that is older than us we generally use “ vous “
Tu es triste Paul? Are you sad Paul?
When we are in an informal situation or when we are speaking to someone our own age we generally use “ tu “.
Pronunciation of Être
In this section on être conjugation in the present tense we will focus on pronunciation.
There are 2 important rules to take into account when we want to pronounce an être conjugation in the present tense.
- You do not pronounce the last -e in the subject pronoun “ elle “. It is just the “ ell ” part that gets pronounced.
Ell e est She is
After the letter “ l ” you will go straight to the “ e “.
You don’t pronounce the letter in red .
- If the first letter of the verb is a vowel or a silent “ h “, then you must perform a liaison. This happens in the vous form. This means that the final “ s ” of vous will have a “z” sound.
Please note how the final “ s ” of vous sounds like a “z”.
Example Sentences with an Être Conjugation in the Present Tense
The final section of this lesson on être conjugation in the present tense is about seeing être in action.
This is valuable because you can improve your understanding of être conjugation in the present tense through examples.
Je suis canadien . I am Canadian .
J e suis Mme Martin. I am Miss Martin.
Je suis M Dubois . I am Mr Dubois.
Tu es jeune . You are young.
Il est blond. He is blond.
Il est américain . He is American.
Nous sommes bibliothécaires. We are librarians.
Vous êtes belle . You are beautiful.
Ils sont pharmaciens . They are pharmacists.
Quiz Yourself on Avoir Conjugation in the Present Tense
At the end of every lesson you can do a small quiz.
You will see the sentences of the previous chapter. It is up to you to give the correct answer.
You will either need to fill in the blanks, choose the correct multiple choice option, or both.
Once you are done the correct answer will be shown.
You can redo the quiz as many times as you want!
Je canadien. I am Canadian.
Tu triste Paul? Are you sad Paul?
Ils pharmaciens. They are pharmacists.
Time is Up!
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- Conjugation être
- Exercise être
Conjugation French verb être
Translation être, indicatif (indicative), présent (present), passé composé (present perfect), imparfait (imperfect), plus-que-parfait (pluperfect), passé simple (simple past), passé antérieur (past perfect), futur simple (future), futur antérieur (past future), conditionnel (conditional), passé (perfect), subjonctif (subjunctive), passé (past), impératif (imperative), infinitif (infinitive), participe (participle), gérondif (gerund), synonyms for the verb être.
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French Verb Être: How to Use, Conjugation & Examples
Être is a commonly used verb in French that means “to be”, the verb Être indicates the action or state of being, for example “ Je suis bon” – I am good, or “ Nous sommes ici” – We are here, “Le chat est grand” – The cat is big”. A verb in general, is a word that expresses an action, an act, a movement, or a state. According to Larousse , they refer to the activities done or experienced by people, animals, or things and their states of being.
Here are some examples of different types of verbs:
- Action: Karla eats eggs. – Karla is doing the action of eating. Verb: To eat.
- Movement: Camille runs to the beach. – Camille is moving towards the beach. Verb: To run.
- Experience: The baby is being fed. – The baby is experiencing the action of being fed. Verb: To feed.
- State: Nicolas is happy. – Nicolas is in a state of happiness. Verb: To be
Conjugation of Être in the present tense
examples or sentences .
Être in imperfect tense (l’imparfait)
The imparfait tense is a commonly used verb tense in French that describes past actions without a defined ending. As it is used frequently, it is an important tense to learn.
How and when to use être.
Être is a versatile verb that serves various purposes. It can be used to form attributive sentences (where a quality is express), as an auxiliary verb for verbs of movement , and also as an auxiliary verb for reflexive verbs (those that reflect in the subject itself).
In attributive sentences
An attributive sentence is a sentence that is used to describe or attribute a characteristic.
Être as an auxiliary of verbs of movement
Verbs of movement ( les verbes du mouvement) express displacement from one place to another, they are sixteen verbs and some are: To go, to arrive, to leave, to run, etc.
An auxiliary verb is a complementary verb, which is used to accompany another main verb.
As an auxiliary verb of reflexive verbs
Reflexive verbs reflect the action back to the subject, like “I dress myself”.
Now do the following test or exercises to practice what you learned.
Fill in the blank boxes with the corresponding translation
From now on, fill in the boxes with Past perfect conjugation (I’imparfait)
1. Write 8 or more sentences containing the verb Être in the present simple , one for each subject pronoun (Je, tu, il, elle, nous, vous, ils and elles) 2. Write 8 or more sentences containing the verb Être in the past perfect conjugation (I’imparfait) one for each subject pronoun.
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The Verb Être: Conjugation, Meaning, and Use
The French verb être is the equivalent of the English verb to be . Être is one of the most important verbs to learn, since it is used all the time in spoken and written French.
In this post we’ll start with a basic overview of the verb être , touching on its meaning and on its use as an auxiliary verb . Then we’ll dive into être conjugation in order to provide a full reference for this important verb.
Since it’s a post on être conjugation, we’ll include être conjugation tables for all the tenses. We’ll go through past, present, and future tenses as well as more complicated tenses such as the conditional, subjunctive, and every other tense in between.
Être: To be
The verb être is used in the same way as the verb to be in English. It describes a temporary or permanent state of being. Used on its own, its meaning is the same as in English whether used in infinitive, as in the following examples, or with the different conjugations of être, as we’ll see in subsequent sections.
- Veux-tu vraiment être avec moi ? – Do you really want to be with me?
- Le patron semble être à l’aise ce matin. – The boss seems to be relaxed this morning.
- Il pleut. Le concert va être annulé. – It’s raining. The concert will be cancelled.
Être: Auxiliary verb
The verb être is also frequently used as an auxiliary verb in French, playing a support role to other verbs when conjugated in compound tenses . When used as an auxiliary verb, être is strictly a support verb and no longer means to be .
In English, the equivalent is the verb to have , which works with other verbs’ participles to form other tenses. French also uses to have – avoir as an auxiliary verb with most verbs, in addition to être . Even when we conjugate être in compound tenses, for example, its auxiliary verb is avoir !
Two main families of French verbs use être as the auxiliary verb: reflexive verbs, and verbs of movement. Since the focus of this post isn’t on going deep into these details, we’ll just finish up this section by providing a few examples of être acting as an auxiliary verb . These first examples are with reflexive verbs:
- Je me suis brûlé sur le tuyau d’échappement. – I burned myself on the exhaust pipe. – I have burnt myself on the exhaust pipe.
- Tu t’ es blessé le genou. – You hurt your knee. – You have hurt your knee.
- Mon frère s’ est rasé la tête. – My brother shaved his head. – My brother has shaven his head.
Note that we’ve chosen the most common French past tense here, the passé composé , to demonstrate the use of être as an auxiliary verb. Its English equivalent is usually the simple past tense, so there’s no auxiliary verb. We’ve also included alternative English translations that use the auxiliary verb to have with a past participle.
These next examples are using French verbs of movement:
- Nous sommes allés au parc. – We went to the park. – We have gone to the park.
- Vous êtes arrivés trop tôt. – You arrived too early. – You have arrived too early.
- Elles sont parties sans dire au revoir. – They left without saying goodbye. – They have left without saying goodbye.
Être conjugation: Introduction
Now that we’ve gone over the basic meaning of être , as well as its role as an auxiliary verb, we’re ready to start introducing the various être conjugation charts.
Être is one of the most irregular French verbs , so many of its conjugations are unrecognizable from one tense to another. Its importance in the French language can’t be underestimated though, so you’ll just need to memorize each tense’s conjugations one by one.
We include all the tenses here, so if you’re looking for one in particular you can just scroll down and find whichever être conjugation table you need. Now let’s dive in!
Être conjugation: Present tense
The simple present tense is the most important in the language, so it’s vital to have this one down as soon as you start learning French. We include all the English translations in this table, since the simple present conjugation of to be is nearly as irregular in English!
Many English speakers use this il/elle conjugation in a common phrase adopted from French: c’est la vie . We see this phrase in pop culture, for example, in so many songs that reference C’est La Vie . Likewise, we see it in other common French constructions, such as the standard formulation for asking questions, est-ce que , the add-on phrase to turn a statement into a question, n’est-ce pas? , and the neutral intros for describing weather and telling time in French.
Être Conjugation: Past tenses
In this section we present être conjugation tables in five different past tenses. The first three are common verb tenses: passé composé , imparfait , and plus-que-parfait . The last two are literary tenses seen mostly in classic texts, that we’re including here for completeness: passé simple and passé antérieur .
Plus-que-parfait, passé simple, passé antérieur, être conjugation: future tenses.
The futur simple tense of être in French is equivalent to the English will be . The futur antérieur is used to express a future action that will be completed before another future action, so for the verb être, the futur antérieur explains what will have been .
The futur simple is quite common in everyday speech, whereas the futur antérieur is more complex and only really gets used when explaining events across a more-convoluted timeframe.
Futur antérieur, être conjugation: conditional tenses.
When we conjugate être in the conditional tenses, we’re expressing would be or would have been in French.
Conditionnel passé, être conjugation: subjunctive.
The subjunctive isn’t very prominent in English, and doesn’t stand out much even where it exists. It’s quite common in French though, particularly the subjonctif présent tense. Similarly to the other past tenses we saw above, the subjonctif imparfait and the subjonctif plus-que-parfait tenses are essentially only seen in literature.
In French the subjunctive is generally used with certain expressions, mostly in dependent clauses, to express uncertainty by the speaker. Expressions of judgment, possibility, necessity, as well as desire and doubt often require use of the subjunctive. In most instances, the verb in subjunctive is preceded by the word que .
To give an idea of its use in both languages, check out this example with the simple présent, the conditionnel présent, and the subjonctif présent:
- Le criminel est libre. Il serait préférable qu’il soit incarcéré. – The criminal is free. It would be preferable that he be incarcerated.
Subjonctif passé, subjonctif imparfait, subjonctif plus-que-parfait, être conjugation: imperative.
The imperative tense is used to give commands.
- Sois prudent. – Be prudent.
- Soyons à l’heure. – Let’s be on time.
The present participle of être is generally translated as being .
- Étant en retard, le garçon est entré en classe timidement. – Being late, the boy entered the class timidly.
The past participle of être in English is been , though the French passé composé is often translated into English as the simple past (without a participle). We’ve already seen this past participle in the compound tenses throughout this post.
- Tu as été un vrai gentleman toute la soirée. Merci. – You were a real gentleman all evening. Thank you. – You have been a real gentleman all evening. Thank you.
The perfect participle of être is translated as having been .
- Ayant été intéressée à l’art toute sa vie, elle a trouvé un emploi au Louvre. – Having been interested in art all her life, she found a job at the Louvre.
Être: Past infinitive
The past infinitive of être is to have been .
- J’aurais aimé avoir été en France avec toi. – I would have liked to have been in France with you.
Être is such a fundamental verb in the French language that it’s important to learn its many different conjugations. Since it’s such an irregular verb , many forms of être may even be difficult to recognize. However, since it’s so commonly used in French, if you spend much time with the language you’ll observe its variations often enough to start integrating them into your own conversations.
We hope you appreciated this post on être conjugation , and that its various tenses will make their way into your spoken and written French!
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Conjugaison du verbe ÊTRE
- Posted in French grammar , French verbs
- by A Cup of French®
- ‧ 2 Comments
How to conjugate the French verb "être" (to be)?
Le verbe ÊTRE est un verbe très important à connaître car il est très souvent employé et il est utilisé pour conjuguer certains verbes au passé composé. C’est un verbe irrégulier .
The verb ÊTRE (to be) is very important to know because it is very often used and you need it to conjugate some verbs in passé composé . It’s an irregular verb.
Faites une phrase avec le verbe ÊTRE dans les commentaires 🙂
Write a sentence with the verb ÊTRE in the comments 🙂
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Tags: Beginner , Conjugation , Intermediate , Verbs
j’ai vraiment aimai c’st grope suis tre contant avec vous mon nom c’est ; Josue augusto bonifacio aparti de l’angola
Bonjour Josue et bienvenue sur A Cup of French 🙂
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