The Three Kingdoms of French Verbs! Understanding the three Conjugations and stem concept of French Language.

Bonjour! Do you know that all of the French verbs belong to the three conjugations? Today we are going to unmask the secret behind the conjugations!



Before discussing the conjugations, we need to understand the concept of Stem.

In the English world, infinitive is the basic form of every verb. French has the similar system where every infinitive is followed by a suffix, either -er, -ir or -redonner (meaning to give) is used as an example!

Stem is the root of a verb. To find out the stem of the infinitive, you have to cut off the suffix. For example, the steam donner is to cut off the -er suffix.

(steam)        +       (suffix)

donn-           +       -er         = donner


The Three Conjugations

After learning how to locate the steam, it’s time to take a look at the three conjugations!

All of the French verbs are either followed by -er, -ir or -re suffix, and these suffixes sharp the three conjugations segments.

For example, the verb of parler (to speak). It belongs to the -er conjugation.

(steam)        +       (suffix)

parl-              +       -er         = parler

Moudre (to grind) belongs to the -re conjugation. Easy!

(steam)        +       (suffix)

Moud-          +       -re         = Moudre


Quiz time

What are the stems of the following verbs? And which conjugation do they belong to?

(a) Aimer (b) Choisir (c) Remplir (d) Finir (e) Attendre (f) Vendre


Answer: (a) Aim-, -er (b) Chois-, -ir (c) Rempl-, -ir (d) Fini-, -ir (e) Attend-, -re (f) Vend-, -re

Written by Jason Yiu

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