Regular -ER verbs are foundational in French grammar, forming the largest and most straightforward verb group. They are essential for beginners due to their consistent conjugation patterns, facilitating early communication. Mastering -ER verbs, such as “parler” (to speak) and “aimer” (to love), builds confidence and provides a basis for understanding more complex verb forms, making them pivotal for foundational language acquisition.

Overview of French Verb Categories 

French regular verbs are categorized into three main types: -ER, -IR, and -RE verbs. The majority of regular -ER verbs have consistent conjugation patterns, making them essential for learners. Regular -IR verbs follow a standard pattern, as seen in “finir” (to finish). Regular -RE verbs have uniform endings, like “vendre” (to sell). Understanding these patterns simplifies verb conjugation, with -ER verbs providing a crucial foundation.

Conjugation of Regular -ER Verbs 

Infinitive Form: The base form of the verb ending in -ER (e.g., “parler” – to speak).

Stem: The infinitive form without the -ER ending (e.g., for “parler,” the stem is “parl-“).

Conjugation Process in Present Tense

To conjugate regular -ER verbs in the present tense, remove the -ER ending from the infinitive to find the stem and then add the appropriate present tense endings.

Present Tense Endings for -ER Verbs:

  • Je (I): -e
  • Tu (You, informal singular): -es
  • Il/Elle/On (He/She/One): -e
  • Nous (We): -ons
  • Vous (You, formal singular and plural): -ez
  • Ils/Elles (They, masculine/feminine): -ent

Example Conjugations

Subject PronounParler (to speak)Donner (to give)Visiter (to visit)

More -ER Verb Conjugations

To conjugate the verb “penser” in the present tense, follow these steps:

Remove -ER: From the infinitive form “penser” to find the stem, which is “pens-.”

Add Present Tense Endings: Attach the appropriate present tense endings to the stem.

Conjugation Table for “Penser”

Subject PronounPenser (to think)

Common French Regular -ER Verbs 

  1. Parler (to speak) – [par-lay]
  2. Aimer (to love, to like) – [ay-may]
  3. Habiter (to live) – [a-bee-tay]
  4. Regarder (to watch, to look at) – [ruh-gar-day]
  5. Marcher (to walk) – [mar-shay]
  6. Chanter (to sing) – [shan-tay]
  7. Danser (to dance) – [dan-say]
  8. Étudier (to study) – [ay-tu-dee-ay]
  9. Jouer (to play) – [zhoo-ay]
  10. Travailler (to work) – [tra-vai-yay]
  11. Écouter (to listen) – [ay-koo-tay]
  12. Téléphoner (to phone, to call) – [tay-lay-fo-nay]
  13. Demander (to ask) – [duh-man-day]
  14. Arriver (to arrive) – [a-ree-vay]
  15. Donner (to give) – [do-nay]
  16. Chercher (to look for) – [share-shay]
  17. Trouver (to find) – [troo-vay]
  18. Visiter (to visit) – [vee-zee-tay]
  19. Préparer (to prepare) – [pray-pa-ray]
  20. Nager (to swim) – [na-zhay]

Conjugations of 5 -ER Verbs in the Present Tense

1. Parler (to speak)

Subject PronounParler (to speak)

2. Aimer (to love, to like)

Subject PronounAimer (to love, to like)

3. Habiter (to live)

Subject PronounHabiter (to live)

4. Regarder (to watch, to look at)

Subject PronounRegarder (to watch, to look at)

5. Marcher (to walk)

Subject PronounMarcher (to walk)

Exceptions and Irregularities 

Some -ER verbs have slight spelling changes in their conjugation to maintain pronunciation consistency. Two common exceptions are verbs ending in -ger and -cer. These changes typically occur in the “nous” form.

Verbs Ending in -GER (e.g., “manger” – to eat)

For verbs ending in -GER, an -e- is inserted before the -ons ending in the “nous” form to maintain the soft “g” sound.

Manger (to eat)

Subject PronounManger (to eat)

Verbs Ending in -CER (e.g., “commencer” – to begin)

For verbs ending in -CER, a ç (cedilla) is added before the -ons ending in the “nous” form to maintain the soft “c” sound.

Commencer (to begin)

Subject PronounCommencer (to begin)

Spelling-Change Verbs

Spelling-change verbs undergo slight alterations to preserve pronunciation. Below are a few common types of spelling-change verbs:

1. Verbs Ending in -YER (e.g., “envoyer” – to send)

For these verbs, the “y” changes to “i” in all forms except “nous” and “vous.”


Essayer (to try)

  • Je essaie / J’essaye (I try)
  • Tu essaies / Tu essayes (You try)
  • Il/Elle/On essaie / Il/Elle/On essaye (He/She/One tries)
  • Nous essayons (We try)
  • Vous essayez (You try)
  • Ils/Elles essaient / Ils/Elles essayent (They try)

Payer (to pay)

  • Je paie / Je paye (I pay)
  • Tu paies / Tu payes (You pay)
  • Il/Elle/On paie / Il/Elle/On paye (He/She/One pays)
  • Nous payons (We pay)
  • Vous payez (You pay)
  • Ils/Elles paient / Ils/Elles payent (They pay)

Employer (to use)

  • J’emploie (I use)
  • Tu emploies (You use)
  • Il/Elle/On emploie (He/She/One uses)
  • Nous employons (We use)
  • Vous employez (You use)
  • Ils/Elles emploient (They use)

These verbs follow a regular pattern, where the -Y changes to -I in the conjugations for je, tu, il/elle/on, ils/elles, but stays as -Y for nous and vous forms.

2. Verbs with E in the Penultimate Syllable (e.g., “acheter” – to buy)

For these verbs, the “e” in the penultimate syllable changes to “è” in all forms except “nous” and “vous.”


Acheter (to buy)

  • J’achète (I buy)
  • Tu achètes (You buy)
  • Il/Elle/On achète (He/She/One buys)
  • Nous achetons (We buy)
  • Vous achetez (You buy)
  • Ils/Elles achètent (They buy)

Lever (to lift, to raise)

  • Je lève (I lift)
  • Tu lèves (You lift)
  • Il/Elle/On lève (He/She/One lifts)
  • Nous levons (We lift)
  • Vous levez (You lift)
  • Ils/Elles lèvent (They lift)

Amener (to bring)

  • J’amène (I bring)
  • Tu amènes (You bring)
  • Il/Elle/On amène (He/She/One brings)
  • Nous amenons (We bring)
  • Vous amenez (You bring)
  • Ils/Elles amènent (They bring)

In these verbs, the -E- in the stem changes to -È- in the specified forms to maintain pronunciation consistency and follow standard French spelling conventions.

3. Verbs Ending in -ELER and -ETER (e.g., “appeler” – to call, “jeter” – to throw)

For these verbs, the consonant is doubled in all forms except “nous” and “vous.”


Verbs Ending in -ELER

Appeler (to call)

  • J’appelle (I call)
  • Tu appelles (You call)
  • Il/Elle/On appelle (He/She/One calls)
  • Nous appelons (We call)
  • Vous appelez (You call)
  • Ils/Elles appellent (They call)

Rappeler (to remind, to recall)

  • Je rappelle (I remind)
  • Tu rappelles (You remind)
  • Il/Elle/On rappelle (He/She/One reminds)
  • Nous rappelons (We remind)
  • Vous rappelez (You remind)
  • Ils/Elles rappellent (They remind)

Verbs Ending in -ETER

Jeter (to throw)

  • Je jette (I throw)
  • Tu jettes (You throw)
  • Il/Elle/On jette (He/She/One throws)
  • Nous jetons (We throw)
  • Vous jetez (You throw)
  • Ils/Elles jettent (They throw)

Rejeter (to reject)

  • Je rejette (I reject)
  • Tu rejettes (You reject)
  • Il/Elle/On rejette (He/She/One rejects)
  • Nous rejetons (We reject)
  • Vous rejetez (You reject)
  • Ils/Elles rejettent (They reject)


For some verbs ending in -ETER and -ELER, doubling the consonant does not occur. Instead, they follow a regular pattern where the E in the stem changes to È in the present tense singular forms and third person plural forms. For example:


Acheter (to buy)

  • J’achète (I buy)
  • Tu achètes (You buy)
  • Il/Elle/On achète (He/She/One buys)
  • Nous achetons (We buy)
  • Vous achetez (You buy)
  • Ils/Elles achètent (They buy)

Mener (to lead)

  • Je mène (I lead)
  • Tu mènes (You lead)
  • Il/Elle/On mène (He/She/One leads)
  • Nous menons (We lead)
  • Vous menez (You lead)
  • Ils/Elles mènent (They lead)

These variations are important to note for accurate conjugation and proper pronunciation in spoken French.


Mastering regular -ER verbs is crucial for French language proficiency, as they form the largest verb group and follow consistent conjugation patterns. This foundational knowledge enables effective communication and boosts confidence. Regular practice and exploration of verb conjugations, including exceptions, enhance fluency and understanding. Embrace continuous learning to unlock more complex language structures and achieve greater conversational ease in French.

To learn more about such grammar topics, check out our blog page.

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. How many regular -i verbs are there in French? 

There are approximately 50 regular -IR verbs in French. These verbs follow consistent conjugation patterns, making them essential for learners to master for effective communication and understanding of French grammar.

2. What are the most common regular -re verbs in French? 

In French, regular -RE verbs form a small yet essential category of verbs. Some of the most common regular -RE verbs include:

  • attendre (to wait)
  • défendre (to defend)
  • descendre (to descend)
  • entendre (to hear)
  • étendre (to stretch)
  • fondre (to melt)
  • pendre (to hang)
  • perdre (to lose)
  • prétendre (to claim)
  • rendre (to give back)

3. What are the 4 main French verbs? 

The four main French verbs are être (to be), avoir (to have), aller (to go), and faire (to do/make). These verbs are essential due to their high frequency and use as auxiliaries in compound tenses​ 

4. What are the 14 irregular verbs in French? 

In French, learners should familiarise themselves with 14 commonly recognized irregular verbs due to their frequent use and irregular conjugation patterns. These verbs include:

  1. Être (to be)
  2. Avoir (to have)
  3. Aller (to go)
  4. Faire (to do/make)
  5. Pouvoir (to be able to/can)
  6. Vouloir (to want)
  7. Savoir (to know)
  8. Venir (to come)
  9. Voir (to see)
  10. Devoir (to have to/must)
  11. Prendre (to take)
  12. Mettre (to put)
  13. Dire (to say/tell)
  14. Tenir (to hold)