The Lazy Man's Guide to French Conjugation - The GVA Community - tired woman sleeps in cozy hammock

The Lazy Man’s Guide to French Conjugation

When I first started learning French, one of the very first things I wish I had was a lazy man’s guide to French conjugation and masculine and feminine nouns 😅.

I am pretty sure I looked for a “French For Dummies” book but along the way, it has become easier and it will be for you too!

To help you on this journey, here’s a list of tips and tricks to boost your conjugation skills.


  1. Know Your Endings.

The simplest way to learn French conjugations is to learn the endings for conjugation. An app like Le Conjugueur highlights the ending of each tense in blue so it’s easy to identify.

I recommend that you start with learning the conjugation for the present tense.

Learn the endings for the conjugation of regular -er verbs (click here to start), then -ir verbs before the -re verbs.

Some things to note are:

  • The conjugation for tu basically always has an s at the end of the conjugated verb*
  • Nous likes to end with ons 
  • Vous likes to end with ez
  • Ils/elles like to end with ent (except in cases like the futur when they end with ont)

Please note that sometimes a letter or two might come before these endings e.g. iez but this just makes it a little easier to identify the pronoun when you see the structure.

With conjugations for things like le passĂ© composĂ©, that require the use of another verb like allez or ĂȘtre to conjugate, allez and ĂȘtre become the verbs that carry these endings.


2. Focus on the most commonly used verbs

Instead of giving yourself a heart attack over the gazillion and one verbs you have to learn, focus on the ones you tend to use in everyday conversations.

Start with these three, then move on to popular verbs like acheter, manger, partir, sortir, prendre etc. Just think of your typical day and identify your most popular actions e.g. You wake up = verb “se reveiller”.


3. Never pronounce the -ent at the end of the conjugation of ils/elles

This is a common French mistake beginners make. Ignore the –ent at the end of the conjugation of ils/elles. I like to think of it as a reminder to emphasize the end, so instead of pronouncing ils parlent as ils parl-en, pronounce it as il parl.


4. Cheat with the pronoun “on”

If you are ever stuck and can’t remember how to conjugate “nous”, the pronoun on can come in handy.

On can be used to mean they, you, people, someone or everyone but sometimes, it is used as an informal replacement for nous or vous.

It is conjugated the same way as il/elle and can be seen in sentences like these:

  • On y va – Let’s go!
  • On va aller a l’eglise – We will go to church
  • On parle le français ici – We speak French here
  • On a dĂ©jĂ  fait ça – We already did that

(If you would like a more detailed article on the use of On, please let me know in the comment box below.)


5. Google the pronunciations

Learning French is not just about learning how to write, it is also about learning how to speak. Good pronunciation is important for communication, so when you learn a new verb, google it to listen to how the locals pronounce it.


That’s all for today, folks!


If you enjoyed reading The Lazy Man’s Guide to French Conjugation, click here to see more lessons like it to help you learn and master the French language.

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