Beginners French: The Tenses: -ER Verbs

Updated on April 28, 2018

The French language has something known as a 'conjugation system'. This means that in order for you to say "I eat" (je mange) and "you eat" (tu manges) you have to change the verb ending of the verb that you used (manger = to eat). In this case, it was the addition of an extra "s" onto "mange" in "tu manges." As you can see, no such change is made in English (I eat, you eat), but similarly, a change is seen in third person "he/she/it eats" in the present tense.

Changes in the verb endings must be made when using verbs with the pronouns: "I" "you" "he/she/it" "we" "you (plural)" and "they".

But don't worry! There are simple rules that unify all of the verb endings, and after remembering these (and a few irregular endings) you will have a firm grasp of French grammar! Remember also that there there are different verb endings for each tense, so a different one for past, present, and future tenses.

Interesting Fact: The English language also used to have a conjugation system (a declension system) like the other European languages, but lost it around 1550 because it was easier that way! Lucky French students!

-ER verbs

-ER verbs are verbs that end in 'er' instead of anything else. A few examples include:

  • manger - to eat
  • jouer - to play
  • parler - to speak

The verb "jouer" is taken as an example in the table below. If you wish to conjugate other "-er" verbs, just add the endings to the stem (the verb without the "-er") of the verb and add the appropriate endings. Try to memorise all of the verb endings because they will be used in every single french sentence you hear!

For an example of conjugation: "he eats" is "il manges" and "they would speak French" is "ils parleraient français".

Future and Conditional Tense
For the future and conditional tense, it is necessary to use the infinitive of the verb before adding on the necessary endings (see below). The infinite form is the one including the "-er" and is the form of the verb you would see in a dictionary.

je =
tu = "you"
il/elle/on = "he/she/it"
Nous =
vous =
"you (plural)"
Ils/elles = "they (masculine)/they (feminine)".

For -ER verbs: the endings for each tense go as follows:

  • Present: (stem +) "e, es, e, ons, ez, ent"
  • Imperfect: (stem +) "ais, ais, ait, ions, iez, aient"
  • Future Simple: (infinitive +) "ai, as, a, ons, ez, ont"
  • Conditional: (infinitive +) "ais ais ait ions iez aient"

Note: Imperfect and conditional share the same endings, but conditional uses the endings on top of the infinitive form of the verb whereas imperfect uses the stem.

ER verb endings for the verb "jouer" - to play

Present Tense
Future (simple) Tense
Past (passé composé) Tense
Imperfect Tense
Conditional Tense
ai joué
as joué
a joué
avons joué
avez joué
ont joué


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Philanthropy2012 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from London

      Thank you very much Zak and Khali Khan! :)

    • profile image

      khalil khan the bucket 

      8 years ago

      woooooooooo best french site ever

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      this is amazing

    • Philanthropy2012 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from London

      Thank you very much! :)

    • suziecat7 profile image


      8 years ago from Asheville, NC

      I grew up in a French-Canadian household and didn't speak much English until I was second grade. Great Hub!

    • Philanthropy2012 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from London

      Thank you very much Shara63! I'm très (very) glad to hear that!

    • shara63 profile image


      8 years ago from Delhi

      wonderful hub! this simple but effective way of the lesson has derived an interest in me for learning French.....thanks Philanthropy2012!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)