In french an infinitive verb has six forms in the present tense, each one associated with the subject pronoun(s) that it conjugates with.
- Je or J’ is I (J’ is used in front of a vowel or an h)
- Tu is you (singular informal)
- Il/Elle/On is he(it)/she(it)/we
- Nous is we (slightly different than on)
- Vous is you (formal if singular, either informal or formal if plural)
- Ils/Elles is they (also plural of it)
In french, all infinitive forms of verbs end either in er, ir, or re. Regular verbs, such as danser (to dance), finir (to finish), and entendre (to hear), follow set conjugation patterns in the present tense.
Starting with er:
Je danse | Tu danses | Il/Elle/On danse | Nous dansons | Vous dansez | Ils/Elles dansent
So the rule for regular er is to drop “er” and add -e, -es, -e, -ons, -ez, or -ent.
Je finit | Tu finis | Il/Elle/On finit | Nous finissons | Vous finissez | Ils/Elles finissent
So for ir drop “ir” and add -it, -is, -it, -ssons, -ssez, -ssent.
J’entende | Tu entendes | Il/Elle/On entende | Nous entendons | Vous entendez | Ils/Elles entendent
Regular re follows much the same rules as er.
Next time — A few common irregular verbs