How Do You Conjugate Ir Verbs in French?

The -ir verb group encompasses many common verbs like cueillir, offrir and souffrir. To conjugate an ir verb you drop its infinitive ending and add either “etre,” “avoir” or “est” depending on who’s being discussed.

Note that in our and your cases (j’achete, tu achez and il/elle achetent), verbs ending in “-er” do not require an -ez for plurals, as is common with French verbs (j’achete). This process is known as elision.

Present Tense

Regular -er verbs follow the same conjugation pattern as their past tense verbs: stripping away their infinitive ending (-ir) to find their radical. Once this step has been completed, simply add conjugated endings such as je, tu and nous for je/tu/nous, vous/elles to complete their present tense verb conjugation. For instance, to conjugate an ir verb like Chois (choice), remove its ending (-ir) to find its stem or radical, before adding conjugated endings appropriate for simple conjugation endings listed in table below. To conjugate Chois, remove -ir until you get to chou before adding conjugated endings for Je/Tu/nous/elles endings for je/tu/net/net/eux/elles to form its present tense verb conjugated endings to create its present tense conjugated forms shown below table.

However, around 50 of these irregular verbs may prove confusing for learners of French as a second language, yet most fall under only three categories.

The first group of irregular ir verbs feature one consonant which falls off prior to -IR in the infinitive but reappears in singular je/tu/il/y and plural nous/vous/ils forms; this practice is known as consonant drop and it’s particularly prevalent in French.

This group of ir verbs encompasses couvrir, echanger and souffrir; to conjugate these verbs you must change their spelling by dropping the -ir and adding an -e. To conjugate stem-changing verbs preferer, manger and commencer you must change their ending from -er to -e in present tense for conjugation purposes. Finally for compound conjugation verbs like venir and tenir you need to drop -ir and add either -iens, -ient, -enons or -enez to complete conjugation.

To conjugate ir verbs in the present tense, remove the -r and add an -e, as is done for regular er verbs. If you need help remembering these rules for conjugating ir verbs in present tens, watch this helpful video – soon you will be conjugating your own! And make sure you practice out loud or record yourself so you can develop an ear for how a French verb should sound – good luck!

Past Tense

French verbs with endings -er, -ir and -re are divided into several groups that vary in how they conjugate into past tense: those ending in -er (etre), -ir (grandir), or -re can all conjugate differently for conjugation into past tense; some use long -ir endings such as partir or grandir while others can use short endings such as dormir or se sentir. Each of these -ir verbs has its own set of rules which you will need to learn. However, one group that behaves just like regular -er verbs: these include those which form passe compose and plus-que parfait with etre such as venir and devenir.

For these verbs ending in “-ir”, simply remove the suffix “-ir” and follow the regular conjugation pattern for verbs ending with “etre”. To check you’re following this correctly, take a look at how etre conjugates its infinitive and adapt that pattern for any of the “-ir” verbs you are conjugating.

Some -ir verbs feature irregular past participles that must be learned by heart for use in passe compose and plus-que parfait idioms, including venir (as well as verbs ending in venir such as devenir and revenir) and mourir; these two verbs alone among this group of -ir verbs have these irregular past participles.

These irregular -ir verbs do, however, tend to form smaller family “groups”. For instance, the “venir family of verbs” includes couvrir (“to cover”), decouvrir (“to uncover”) and offrir (“to offer”).

There are also some irregular verbs that don’t quite follow these patterns but still show some generalizations; these tend to be more prevalent when discussing third person plural forms such as “ils and elles,” which will be discussed further later on in another post.

Regular irregular verbs have many s’s in their conjugations and it can be difficult to keep track of all of them; however, there is an easy rule you can remember: just drop the t from je, tu and vous and add in any necessary s’s from ils or elles! Don’t worry; everything will come together soon! Just be patient.

Future Tense

The future tense is used to refer to events that will occur in the near future. Unlike its current-tense counterpart, which requires multiple conjugations, future-tense formation is much simpler: you simply combine regular ir verbs with an auxiliary verb such as etre, pouvoir or aller in present tense form in order to form future-tense verbs (see table below for all future-tense versions of regular ir verbs).

Some irregular present tense verbs have an irregular future form, including acquis (I want), apprendre (I learned it), and eviter (I cannot avoid). Other ir verbs conjugate normally for future usage such asvenir (to come) and tenir (to hold).

Once you’ve learned all the tenses of regular ir verbs, put them to practice using our French vocabulary games and quizzes! There are also plenty of fun ways to learn French online resources like Quizlet that provide fun flashcard challenges while engaging in conjugation overload!

When studying ir verbs, the passe compose tense will likely come up regularly in conjunction with other tenses. The passe compose is used to describe events from a specific timeframe in the past – for instance “I have been 27 years old for two weeks”. To conjugate this tense, simply replace any ending with “-er” with an ending ending in “-ir”. Of course there may be exceptions so make sure you pay close attention when learning each tense as there may be differences.

Mercifully, most regular ir verbs conjugate similarly in both present and passe compose tenses – including suivant (je suivreai), aller (je allez), laisser (je laisserai), croire (je crois), lire (je l’ecrirai), and mettre (je mettrai). This makes conjugating passe compose one of the simpler tenses for conjugating regular ir verbs.


There are countless French verbs ending in -er, -ir, or -eu that follow similar conjugation rules; most follow a pattern and conform to them closely; some irregularly differ; these verbs can be very important and it is beneficial to learn them correctly from the outset of learning French – knowing both singular and plural conjugations would prove valuable in making your vocabulary richer and your learning easier!

To conjugate ir verbs in the present tense, simply drop their infinitive ending -ir and add any appropriate subject-related endings. For example, to conjugate “chois” (to choose), remove its infinitive ending by dropping “-ir”, leaving just “chouis”, before adding either simple conjugation ending -ons, -ez, or -ent (for instance you would say je choisi deux legumes verts [I chose two green vegetables].

Irregular ir verbs may be challenging, but there’s still an approachable pattern you can use when looking up these verbs. Most begin with a y which changes to an i before endings that contain silent e endings – for instance envoyer is transformed into envoyons while renvoyer becomes reenvoie. Some also switch from y to i before endings with no silent e such as laisser (to allow).

To form the present tense of these verbs, drop their infinitive ending -ir, then add their verb stem with simple conjugation endings that reflect the subject matter. For instance, with “to leave”, for instance, remove and add “par-” before adding present tense conjugation endings such as -ons, -ez, and -ent to form their present tense conjugation endings; to pronounce je pars would be correct pronunciation.

Most ir verbs follow a regular conjugation pattern. There are, however, those which don’t fall under this umbrella and are known as irregular ir verbs. A quick way of telling whether an ir verb is regular is looking at its present participle ending in “-issant”. These will likely be regular verbs.