French The Verb "to come"

Overview

The French verb venir literally means "to come" and is also used in many idiomatic expressions. It’s an essential verb for beginners to learn and is used in a variety of situations. Its conjugation is very irregular.

The first and most important use of venir deals with where somebody or something comes from. Elle vient de France. She comes from France.

Venir de + infinitive is also used in the immediate past.  Ils viennent de manger. They just ate.

We will find out later how versatile this verb really is.

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In this module, we’ll be learning a new, irregular verb – venir. Venir means “to come” and it is classified as a motion verb. We learn the classification with new verbs so that we understand how to conjugate them in the past tense. Venir will use être as the auxiliary verb in the passé composé (which you can review in A2.1 Module 4). Below is the conjugation chart for venir in the present tense along with its past participle and future stem. Beneath that, you will find a variety of example sentences.

Subject PronounVenirMeaning
JeviensI am coming
TuviensYou are coming
Il/Elle/OnvientHe/She/One is coming
NousvenonsWe are coming
VousvenezYou are coming
Ils/EllesviennentThey are coming
   
Past Participlevenu (e) (s) (es)came
Future Stemviendr…will come

Examples:

Je viens avec toi !                                           I am coming with you !

Viens-tu à la foire plus tard ?                         Are you coming to the fair later ?

Qui viendra cet après-midi ?                          Who will come this afternoon ?

Nous venons du Maroc.                                  We come from Morocco.

Vous n’allez pas venir.                                   You are not going to come.

Ils ne sont pas venus hier.                               They didn’t come yesterday.

Where are you from?

In the Quizlet set of this module, you will find flashcards that explain a supplemental lesson to learning the verb venir. When you want to express that you are from a particular place in the world or that you are traveling from a certain location, you can use the verb venir.

English examples:

I am from Brazil.

I come from Pennsylvania.

I am coming from Hong Kong.

I am coming from the United States.

To express this in French, you can use the conjugation of venir + the word du, de or des depending on whether or not that city/state/country is singular or plural to literally mean “come from.” Most states and countries that end with the letter –e are feminine. Most states and countries that end with a constant or a different vowel are masculine.

French examples:

Je viens du Brésil. (masculine)

Je viens de Pennsylvanie. (feminine)

Je viens des États-Unis. (plural)

Je viens d’Annecy (cities always take de, regardless of gender).

To learn more…

As the Quizlet flashcards will explain, when you talk about going to or being in a city/state/country, the French sentence depends on whether that place is masculine or feminine. Read through these points to learn more:

  • When you say you’re going to a feminine state/country, you use
    • Je vais en
  • When you say you’re going to a masucline state/country, you use
    • Il va au
  • When you say you’re going to a plural state/country, you use
    • Nous allons aux États-Unis.
  • When you say you’re going to a city, you use à.
    • Elles vont à

Highlighted Author:

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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

The CEFR is an international standard used to describe language ability. Here are specific details of the CEFR for this topic.

General Explanation:
Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
Specific Capabilities at this Level
Writing:
I can write short, simple notes and messages relating to matters in areas of immediate needs. I can write a very simple personal letter, for example thanking someone for something.
Spoken Production:
I can use a series of phrases and sentences to describe in simple terms my family and other people, living conditions, my educational background and my present or most recent job.
Spoken Interaction:
I can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar topics and activities. I can handle very short social exchanges, even though I can’t usually understand enough to keep the conversation going myself.
Reading:
I can read very short, simple texts. I can find specific, predictable information in simple everyday material such as advertisements, prospectuses, menus and timetables and I can understand short simple personal letters.
Listening:
I can understand phrases and the highest frequency vocabulary related to areas of most immediate personal relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local area, employment). I can catch the main point in short, clear, simple messages and announcements.