Irregular Verbs in French and How to Conjugate Them

Learn the usage and conjugation of the most commonly used French irregular verbs.

Start learning for free

I want to learn...

There are two types of verbs in French - regular and irregular verbs. Regular verbs follow a set, regular pattern. The patterns exist not only in the present tense but also in other tenses where the verb is used. Irregular verbs, on the other hand, do not follow a pattern. Their final letters do not determine what conjugated endings they’ll receive.

In this article, we will focus on French irregular verbs. These verbs need to be memorized because even though there are far more regular verbs than irregular ones, irregular verbs are some of the most important and common verbs in the French language.

Let’s dive into the world of irregular verbs and find some ways to learn them.

Expand your French language skills today!

french irregular verbs busuu

Master the use of irregular verbs with Busuu’s free online lessons and grammar reviews - so you can speak like a local in real-life situations. Whether it's for work, study, or pure enjoyment, Busuu has got you covered.

The most used irregular verbs in French

Did you know that there are four irregular French verbs that are used in daily life? These common irregular verbs are:

  1. être - to be
  2. aller - to go
  3. avoir - to have
  4. faire - to make, to do

french irregular verbs busuu

Let's learn how these verbs are conjugated.

être – to be

Singular Plural
Tu es Vous êtes
Je suis Nous sommes
il est ils sont
Elle est Elles sont

aller – to go

Singular Plural
Je vais Nous allons
Tu vas Vous allez
il va ils vont
Elle va Elles vont

avoir – to have

Singular Plural
J’ai Nous avons
Tu as Vous avez
il a Ils ont
Elle a Elles ont

faire – to make, to do

Singular Plural
Je fais Nous faisons
Tu fais Vous faites
il fait ils font
Elle fait Elles font

Let's learn how to conjugate irregular French verbs that follow certain patterns

Some irregular verbs follow patterns, so once you know these patterns, it’s easier to identify and conjugate irregular verbs.


Verbs ending in –prendre are all conjugated like prendre:

Pendre - to take

Singular Plural
Je prends Nous prenons
Tu prends Vous prenez
Il prend Ils prennent
Elle prend Elles prennent

Similar verbs that are conjugated like Prendre-

  • apprendre – to learn
  • comprendre – to understand
  • entreprendre – to undertake
  • méprendre – to mistake
  • prendre – to take
  • reprendre – to retake, to take again
  • surprendre – to surprise


Mettre and the verbs ending in –mettre all follow the same pattern of conjugation.

Mettre - to put

Singular Plural
Je mets Nous mettons
Tu mets Vous mettez
Il met Ils mettent
Elle met Elles mettent

Similar verbs that are conjugated like Mettre-

  • admettre – to admit
  • commettre – to commit
  • compromettre – to compromise
  • mettre – to put, to place
  • permettre – to permit
  • promettre – to promise
  • remettre – to turn in work, to postpone
  • soumettre – to submit
  • transmettre – to transmit


Venir and the verbs that end with -nir have their own pattern of conjugation, and in this case, the verb undergoes a stem change. The stem vien is used with je, tu, il, elle; the stem ven is used with nous and vous; the stem vien is used with ils and elles respectively.

Venir - to come

Singular Plural
Je viens Nous venons
Tu viens Vous venez
Il vient Ils viennent
Elle vient Elles viennent

Similar verbs that are conjugated like venir-

  • abstenir – to refrain, to abstain from
  • advenir – to happen
  • appartenir – to belong to
  • circonvenir – to circumvent
  • contenir – to contain
  • convenir – to suit, to be suitable
  • détenir – to detain
  • devenir – to become
  • entretenir – to look after, to support
  • intervenir – to intervene
  • maintenir – to maintain
  • obtenir – to obtain
  • parvenir – to reach, to achieve
  • prévenir – to warn
  • retenir – to retain
  • soutenir – to support
  • souvenir – to remember
  • subvenir – to provide for
  • survenir – to occur, to take place
  • tenir – to hold, to keep
  • venir – to come


Verbs ending in -ger have a spelling change in the nous form of the verb. An extra -e is added to keep the -g sound soft.

Manger - to eat

Singular Plural
Je mange Nous mangeons
Tu manges Vous mangez
Il mange Ils mangent
Elle mange Elles mangent

Similar verbs that are conjugated like Manger-

  • bouger – to move
  • changer – to change
  • corriger – to correct
  • décourager – to discourage
  • déménager – to move
  • déranger – to disturb
  • diriger – to direct
  • encourager – to encourage
  • engager – to bind
  • exiger – to demand
  • juger – to judge
  • loger – to lodge
  • manger – to eat
  • mélanger – to mix
  • nager – to swim
  • obliger – to oblige
  • partager – to share
  • rédiger – to write
  • voyager – to travel


Verbs like lancer that end in -cer also have a spelling change in the nous form. The -c is changed to a -ç to maintain a soft -c sound.

Lancer - to throw

Singular Plural
Je lance Nous lançons
Tu lances Vous lancez
Il lance Ils lancent
Elle lance Elles lancent

Similar verbs that are conjugated like Lancer-

  • annoncer – to announce
  • avancer – to advance
  • commencer – to commence
  • dénoncer – to denounce
  • divorcer – to divorce
  • effacer – to erase
  • lancer – to throw
  • menacer – to threaten
  • placer – to put
  • prononcer – to pronounce
  • remplacer – to replace
  • renoncer – to renounce


Verbs ending in -yer change the -y to an -i in the je, tu, il, elle, ils and elles forms.

Payer - to pay

Singular Plural
Je paie Nous payons
Tu paies Vous payez
Il paie Ils paient
Elle paie Elles paient

Similar verbs that are conjugated like payer-

  • aboyer – to bark
  • balayer – to sweep
  • effrayer – to frighten
  • s’ennuyer – to be bored
  • envoyer – to send
  • essayer – to try
  • essuyer – to wipe
  • nettoyer – to clean
  • payer – to pay
  • renvoyer – to send back, to fire


Some verbs, like acheter, change the -e in the root to -è in the je, tu, il, elle, ils and elles forms.

Acheter - to buy

Singular Plural
J’ achète Nous achetons
Tu achètes Vous achetez
Il achète Ils achètent
Elle achète Elles achètent

Similar verbs that are conjugated like acheter -

  • acheter – to buy
  • amener – to bring
  • enlever – to take off
  • espérer – to hope
  • geler – to freeze
  • se lever – to get up
  • posséder – to own
  • préférer – to prefer
  • se promener – to take a stroll
  • répéter – to repeat
  • suggérer – to suggest


Some French verbs that end in -eler and -eter double the l or t in all except nous and vous in the present tense. Example: appeler –> appel/appell -er (to call)

Appeler - to call

Singular Plural
J’ appelle Nous appelons
Tu appelles Vous appelez
Il appelle Ils appellent
Elle appelle Elles appellent

Similar verbs that are conjugated like appeler-

  • appeler – to call
  • épeler – to spell out
  • étinceler – to sparkle
  • feuilleter – to leaf through a book
  • jeter – to jump
  • renouveler – to renew

Ready to put your new French grammar skills into practice?

french irregular verbs busuu

With Busuu's free online courses and grammar reviews, you can easily practice French and get helpful feedback from native French speakers in the Busuu Community.

How to conjugate irregular French verbs that don’t follow a specific pattern

Most irregular French verbs don’t follow any specific pattern and therefore, have to be memorized.

So, let’s learn a few of them.

dire – to say, to tell

Singular Plural
Je dis Nous disons
Tu dis Vous dites
il dit Ils disent
Elle dit Elles disent

lire - to read

Singular Plural
Je lis Nous lisons
Tu lis Vous lisez
il lit Ils lisent
Elle lit Elles lisent

pouvoir – to be able to do

Singular Plural
Je peux Nous pouvons
Tu peux Vous pouvez
Il peut Ils peuvent
Elle peut Elles peuvent

savoir – to know, to know how to

Singular Plural
Je sais Nous savons
Tu sais Vous savez
Il sait Ils savent
Elle sait Elles savent

voir – to see

Singular Plural
Je vois Nous voyons
Tu vois Vous voyez
Il voit Ils voient
Elle voit Elles voient

vouloir – to want

Singular Plural
Je veux Nous voulons
Tu veux Vous voulez
Il veut Ils veulent
Elle veut Elles veulent

Ready to learn more irregular verbs?

Try Busuu today! Our free online courses will help you speak like a local, and teach you essential French grammar and vocabulary you can use for work, study, travel or fun!