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The best way to conjugate être in French

The best way to conjugate être in French


The verb être is probably the most generally used verb within the French language. In English, it interprets as “to be.” 

It’s additionally probably the most well-known French verb! You’ve in all probability seen a photograph of René Magritte’s portray “The Treachery of Photos” the place the phrase “ceci n’est pas une pipe” (this isn’t a pipe) is written beneath the picture of a smoking pipe. 

Or, possibly you’ve heard the quote “Je pense, donc je suis” (I believe, subsequently I’m) by thinker René Descartes. So, let’s begin fascinated about all of the alternative ways you need to use être! On this article, we’ll share the six fundamental methods être is used, and present you the way to  conjugate the verb in six completely different tenses. 

Are you prepared to be a French verb skilled? Effectively, along with studying this publish, one of the best ways to enhance your French language expertise is thru the immersive studying atmosphere of Rosetta Stone!

Desk of contents:

The six completely different makes use of of être:

As the commonest verb within the French language, être is used to precise emotions, traits, your location, and extra! Realizing the way to use être will assist you discuss your self and the individuals round you.

1. To specific a state of being:

A method you need to use être is to explain the way you’re feeling. Identical to in English, French audio system use “I’m” statements to explain how they really feel bodily or emotionally. 

  • Je suis content material / contente. = I am comfortable.
  • Il est fatigué. = He is drained.
  • Nous sommes malades. = We are sick.

2. To explain somebody:

One other widespread use of être is to explain the bodily traits of different individuals and issues. In these circumstances the opposite individual is the topic of the sentence.

  • Il est grand. = He is tall.
  • Elle est petite. = She is small.
  • Ils sont beaux. = They are good-looking.

3. To specific possession:

Whenever you need to point out possession of one thing, like within the phrase “It’s my automobile,” être is the verb to make use of! In these sentences, the individual, place, or factor you’re possessing is the topic of the sentence.

  • C’est mon chat. = It is my cat.
  • C’est le chien de ma mère. = It is my mom’s canine.
  • Ce sont mes clés. = These are my keys.

Observe: Ce means “it” or “this.” The singular, first individual contraction above—C’est—is a mixture of “ce + “est.” In French, it’s widespread follow to create a contraction between two phrases when one phrase ends with a vowel and the following begins with a vowel. 

4. To offer your location:

In the identical method you’d say “I’m at work” in English, in French you’ll use être to point your location.

  • Je suis à Paris. = I am in Paris.
  • Il est au travail. = He is at work.
  • Vous êtes dans le jardin. = You are within the backyard.

5. To inform somebody your job or nationality:

Être can be used to inform somebody your nationality or what you do for work.

It is best to observe that in French, professions lose their particular article (le, las, les) or indefinite article (un, une, des) and grow to be adjectives when following être.

  • Je suis Français. = I am French.
  • Il est professeur. = He is a trainer.
  • Vous êtes dentiste. = You are a dentist.

6. To specific punctuality:

The final commonest utilization of être is to inform time! Every little thing from speaking concerning the present time to discussing how late or early somebody or one thing is makes use of the verb être.

  • Quelle heure est-il ? = What time is it?
  • Il est huit heures. = It is eight o’clock.
  • Je suis en retard. = I am late.
  • Il est en avance. = He is early.

Don’t use être on your age

Since sentences with être are similar to English sentences utilizing “am,” “is,” or “are,” many individuals assume that they’ll use être to state their age. However that is really an enormous mistake! 

In French, it’s applicable to make use of the verb avoir when you’re speaking about your age. So whereas it could appear odd to say you “have your age,” that’s the way it’s executed in French!

  • J’ai vingt ans. = I am 20 years previous.
  • Elle a soixante ans. = She is 60 years previous.

The best way to conjugate être:

Now that you just’ve seen some examples of être in motion, it’s time to find out how être is conjugated within the current, previous, and future tenses!

Être within the current tense:

You, casual
Il, Elle
He, She
You, formal
Ils, Elles

It is best to already be accustomed to être within the current tense, since we used it in all our earlier examples. However simply to make certain, listed below are a pair further examples of être within the current tense:

  • Les enfants sont dans la classe. = The kids are within the classroom.
  • La voiture est rouge. = The automobile is crimson.
  • Le médecin est là. = The physician is right here.

Être within the passé composé:

In French the passé composé tense signifies actions which can be each finite and full—they occurred prior to now. It’s generally known as the “completed previous.” For the verb être we will consider this as sentences with “was” or “had been” in them. Identical to many different French verbs, to conjugate être in passé composé, you’ll use avoir as an auxiliary verb.

ai été
You, casual
as été
Il, Elle
He, She
a été
avons été
You, formal
avez été
Ils, Elles
ont été

When utilizing être prior to now tense it’s necessary to do not forget that “being” is a steady state, so être usually makes use of the imparfait conjugation. To assist illustrate the distinction between the passé composé and imparfait conjugations, let’s have a look at this sentence: “Final yr, I used to be sick.”

  • Passé composé: L’année dernière, j’ai été vraiment malade.
  • Imparfait: L’année dernière, j’étais vraiment malade.

Within the passé composé tense, the sentence implies that you just had been sick for a short time period. However, within the imparfait tense, you’re implying that you just had been sick for an prolonged time period.

In the long run, both tense will get the purpose throughout, nevertheless it’s as much as your judgment as to which one is “extra” appropriate. Usually, utilizing être within the imparfait tense is the fitting approach to go.

You must also bear in mind to have topic settlement when conjugating être within the passé composé. This implies in case you have an adjective, like content material within the instance under, it is best to add an “-e” on the finish if the topic is female, and an “-s” on the finish for plural topics. 

  • Masculine: J’ai été content material de te voir. = I used to be comfortable to see you. 
  • Female: J’ai été content materiale de te voir. = I used to be comfortable to see you.
  • Plural: Ils étaient content materials de vous voir. = They had been comfortable to see you. 

Être within the imparfait:

As we defined above, conjugating être for the previous usually makes use of the imparfait tense. This tense describes states of being and actions that had been ongoing or repeated prior to now.

You, casual
Il, Elle
He, She
You, formal
Ils, Elles

You’ll most frequently use l’imparfait to explain issues that you just used to do usually, emotions you had, or locations you had been in.

  • Quand j’étais enfant, je jouais du piano. = Once I was a baby, I used to play the piano.
  • Il était content material de te voir. = He was comfortable to see you.
  • Nous étions dans la forêt quand il a commencé à neiger. = We had been within the forest when it began to snow.

Être sooner or later tense:

Conjugating être sooner or later is just like different French verbs. You’ll merely drop the ending of the verb and add the suitable ending. Nonetheless, as être is a extremely irregular verb, the stem phrase for être sooner or later tense is ser.

You, casual
Il, Elle
He, She
You, formal
Ils, Elles

For sentences the place you need to categorical what you “will do” or “can be,” you’ll use the longer term tense of être.

  • Je serai en retard pour la réunion de 14h. = I can be late for our 2 p.m. assembly.
  • L’été prochain, ils seront en France pour deux semaines. = Subsequent summer season, they can be in France for 2 weeks.
  • Elle sera absente la semaine prochaine. = She can be out subsequent week.

Être within the subjunctive current tense: 

In French, emotions like doubt and want require the subjunctive current tense, as do expressions of necessity, risk, and judgment. This tense can be known as a “temper” because it expresses issues which can be subjective or unsure.

You, casual
Il, Elle
He, She
You, formal
Ils, Elles

Listed here are a pair examples of subjective concepts utilizing être within the subjunctive current tense:

  • Il faut que tu sois gentil(le) avec tes amis. = You should be good to your folks.
  • Je ne pense pas que ce soit une bonne idée. = I don’t assume it is a good suggestion.
  • Il est doable que nous soyons en retard. =  It’s doable that we might be late.

Être within the crucial:

The crucial type is used to offer orders or recommendation to a number of individuals. The crucial solely exists within the tu, nous, and vous kinds. To conjugate être within the crucial is identical as for the subjunctive current tense, however the topic pronouns are omitted.

  • Sois gentil(le). = Be good.
  • Soyons sufferers. = Let’s be affected person.
  • Soyez heureux. = Be comfortable.

Être as an auxiliary verb

For those who’ve learn our information to French verb conjugation, it’s possible you’ll do not forget that verbs within the passé composé require an auxiliary verb to type the tense. Most French verbs use avoir because the auxiliary verb, however there are 17 verbs that use être because the auxiliary verb.

Forming passé composé utilizing être follows the identical sample as verbs that use avoir. First être is conjugated within the current tense adopted by the previous participle of the verb exhibiting the motion. Listed here are the 17 verbs that use être within the passé composé:

Verb Previous participle
to go
to reach
to descend / to go down
descended / went down
to grow to be
grew to become
to enter
to go up
went up
to die
to be born

was / had been born
to go away
to move by
handed by
to return
to stay, to remain
remained, stayed
to return
to return again
got here again
to exit
went out
to fall
to return
got here

A straightforward approach to bear in mind which verbs use être as an auxiliary verb is to think about the La maison d’être or “The home of être.” This visible illustration exhibits all of the etre verbs as actions you possibly can soak up relation to a home!

Verbs whose serving to verb is être should present settlement of their previous participle in gender and quantity. This implies including an “-e” to the top for female topics, and including an “-s” for plural topics.

Masculine topics:

  • Je suis allé au cinéma. = I went to the flicks. 
  • Tu es parti vendredi dernier. = You left final Friday.
  • Il est né le 2 avril 1910. = He was born on April 2nd, 1910.

Female topics:

  • Je suis allée au cinéma. = I went to the flicks.
  • Tu es partie vendredi dernier. = You left final Friday.
  • Elle est née le 2 avril 1910. = She was born on April 2nd, 1910.

Plural masculine topics:

  • Vous êtes venus nous rendre visite l’année dernière. = You got here to go to us final yr.
  • Ils sont sortis ensemble. = They are going out collectively.
  • Nous sommes arrivés en retard. = We arrived late.

Plural female topics:

  • Vous êtes venues nous rendre visite l’année dernière. = You got here to go to us final yr.
  • Elles sont sorties ensemble. = They went out collectively.
  • Nous sommes arrivées en retard. = We arrived late.

Pronunciation of the verb être:

There’s a massive distinction between the pronunciation of “être” in  formal conversations or French studying strategies, and the way in which it’s pronounced in on a regular basis conversations. So, we’ve put collectively some examples that will help you sound like a local French speaker.

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Announcing suis

Usually, “suis” is claimed with a silent “s” on the finish. However when suis is adopted by a phrase starting with a vowel, you’ll say a “Z” sound in liaison with the next phrase. 

So, when talking formally, the sentence “Je suis américain.” (I’m American.) is pronounced “Je suis Z-américain.”

In on a regular basis conversations, “Je suis” can be pronounced “shui” with no liaison after. So this identical sentence “Je suis américain.” is pronounced “Shui américain.” 

Announcing êtes

Now let’s have a look at the sentence “Vous êtes à New York.” (You might be in New York.) 

For the formal pronunciation of this sentence there are two liaisons.

  1. The primary is the silent “S” of “vous.” Identical to earlier than this “S” turns into a “Z” sound with “êtes” because it begins with a vowel. You may consider it as “Vous Zêtes.” 
  1. The second is the silent “S” of “êtes” additionally turning into a “Z” sound because it goes into “à.” 

Altogether the sentence can be pronounced “Vous Z-êtes Z-à New York.” 

In on a regular basis dialog, the primary liaison on “Vous Z-êtes” is finished, however the second, “Z-à,” will not be. So, for casual conversations the sentence is pronounced “Vous Z-êtes à Paris.

Announcing es

Lastly take the sentence “Tu es grand” (You might be tall). 

In a proper dialog, it’s pronounced because it’s written. Remember that phonetically, es in French sounds just like the lengthy A sound in English, “ay.” The “s” is silent! 

However, in on a regular basis dialog, the “U” disappears from “tu” and the “T” blends with “es” forming “T’es grand.” The “s” stays silent. 

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