French The Verb "to be"

Beginner French - Level A1

Overview

The French irregular verb être, "to be," is one of the most important verbs in the French language. In this module, you will find the conjugations of être in the present tense. Être is not only common because it means "to be", but also because many verbs use être as an auxiliary verb to form compound tenses such as passé composé.  We will not discuss these other verb forms at the moment, but know that this is one verb you want to know inside and out!

Vocabulary

the verb "to be" - être

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French A1

 

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French A1 The Verb "to be"

Below is a table that shows how to conjugate the verb to be, or être, in the present tense.

Je suis

I am

First person singular

Tu es

You are

Second person singular

Il/Elle/On est

He/She/One is

Third person singular (masc/fem/neutral)

Nous sommes

We are

First person plural

Vous êtes

You are

Second person plural or formal second person singular

Ils/Elles sont

They are

Third person plural (masc/fem)

 

What to know about être:

  • Être is known as an irregular verb. An irregular verb means that when conjugating it, there is no regular pattern to follow.
  • The unconjugated form of any verb (in this case, être) is called an infinitive.

 

Remember:

  • As discussed in Module 2, the subject pronoun On can have either a singular or plural meaning in English, yet it is always conjugated in the third person singular form.That means that On est can mean either “One is…” or “We are…”
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Alexa conjugates the French verb être (to be) in the present tense. SUPPORT GUIDE and EXCLUSIVE VIDS. 
-credit: Learn French with Alexa

 

Easy activity for beginners: French verb resource to help children learn how and when to use the verb Avoir, e.g. for Age, Hunger, Thirst, Need etc... A credit-Green Mouse French

Exercise

Directions: Choose which of the following French sentences is the correct translation of each English sentence that is provided.

  1. I am a girl.
    1. Vous êtes une fille.
    2. Il est une fille.
    3. Nous sommes des filles.
    4. Je suis une fille
  2. We are happy today.
    1. Je suis content aujourd’hui.
    2. Elle est contente aujourd’hui.
    3. Nous sommes contents aujourd’hui.
    4. Tu es content aujourd’hui.
  3. You (informal) are a good student at school.
    1. Vous êtes un bon élève à l’école.
    2. Tu es un bon élève à l’école.
    3. On est un bon élève à l’école.
    4. Ils sont de bons élèves à l’école.
  4. We are tired tonight.
    1. Vous êtes fatigués ce soir.
    2. Je suis fatigué ce soir.
    3. Ils sont fatigués ce soir.
    4. On est fatigué ce soir.
  5. You (formal) are a good teacher.
    1. Vous êtes un bon prof.
    2. Tu es un bon prof.
    3. Je suis un bon prof.
    4. Il est un bon prof.
  6. They (masc) are very nice.
    1. Nous sommes très gentilles.
    2. Il est très gentil.
    3. Ils sont très gentils.
    4. Elles sont très gentilles.

Answers.

  1. D - Je suis une fille. Je suis is the conjugation for “I am”
  2. C -Nous sommes contents aujourd’hui. Nous sommes is the conjugation for “We are” Notice how On est was not one of the options to choose from.
  3. B - Tu es un bon élève à l’école. Tu es is the conjugation for “You are” (informal)
  4. D - On est fatigué ce soir. On est can be the conjugation for “We are.” Notice how Nous sommes was not one of the options to choose from.
  5. A - Vous êtes un bon prof. Vous êtes is the conjugation for “You are” (formal and/or plural)
  6. C - Ils sont très gentils. Ils sont is the conjugation for “They are” (masculine). Notice how Elles sont… has the same English translation but is the wrong answer because it is the feminine version.

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