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French verbs are a complex area of French grammar, with a conjugation scheme that allows for three finite moods (with anywhere from two to five synthetic tenses), three non-finite moods, three voices, and three grammatical aspects. French ( français,) is a Romance language spoken around the world by 118 million people as a native language and by about 180 to 260 million people La Francophonie is an international organisation of French-speaking countries and governments and in French, the community of French-speaking peoples French is a Romance language (meaning that it is descended from Latin) that evolved out of the Gallo-Romance Dialects spoken in Northern The Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts is an extensive piece of reform Legislation signed into law by Francis I of France on August 10, French grammar refers to the Grammar of the French language, which is similar to that of the other Romance languages. French Adverbs, like their English counterparts are used to modify Adjectives, other adverbs and Verbs or Clauses. In French, articles and Determiners are required on almost every Common noun; much more so than in English. French Pronouns are inflected to indicate their role in the sentence ( subject, direct object and so on as well as to reflect the person, The French Personal pronouns (analogous to English I, me, you, and so on reflect the person and number of their referent and in the See also French verbs French verbs are divided into three conjugations ( conjugaisons) by the ending of their infinitives -er verbs -ir verbs In French, a Verb is inflected to reflect its mood and tense, as well as to agree with its subject in person French Orthography encompasses the Spelling and Punctuation of the French language The French alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet. It uses the standard 26 letters The Orthography of French was already more or less fixed and from a phonological point of view outdated when its Lexicography developed in the late 17th The Circumflex (^ is one of the five Diacritics used in the French language. See also French language This article mainly discusses the phonological system of standard French based on the Parisian dialect In French, elision refers to the suppression of a final unstressed vowel (usually) immediately before another word beginning with a vowel In French, most written word-final Consonants are silent in most contexts French ( français,) is a Romance language spoken around the world by 118 million people as a native language and by about 180 to 260 million people For English usage of verbs see the wiki article English verbs. French grammar refers to the Grammar of the French language, which is similar to that of the other Romance languages. Grammatical mood is one of a set of distinctive Verb forms that are used to signal modality. A synthetic language, in Linguistic typology, is a Language with a high Morpheme -per- word ratio In Grammar, the voice (also called gender or diathesis of a verb describes the relationship between the action (or state that the verb expresses and the participants identified In Linguistics, the grammatical aspect of a Verb defines the temporal flow (or lack thereof in the described event or state
French verbs are conjugated by isolating the stem of the verb and adding an ending. See also French verbs French verbs are divided into three conjugations ( conjugaisons) by the ending of their infinitives -er verbs -ir verbs In Linguistics, conjugation is the creation of derived forms of a Verb, Noun or Adjective from its Principal parts by Inflection In the first and second conjugation, the stem is easily identifiable from the infinitive, and remains essentially constant throughout the paradigm. In Grammar, infinitive is the name for certain verb forms that exist in many languages For example, the stem of parler ("speak") is parl- and the stem of finir ("finish") is fin-. In the third group, the relationship between the infinitive form and the stem is less transparent, and several distinct stems are needed to produce all the forms in the paradigm. For example, the verb boire ("drink") has the stems boi-, boiv-, bu-, and buv-.
The ending depends on the mood, tense, and voice of the verb, as well as on the person and number of its subject. Grammatical mood is one of a set of distinctive Verb forms that are used to signal modality. Grammatical tense is a temporal linguistic quality expressing the time at during or over which a state or action denoted by a verb occurs In Grammar, the voice (also called gender or diathesis of a verb describes the relationship between the action (or state that the verb expresses and the participants identified Grammatical person, in Linguistics, is deictic reference to a participant in an event such as the speaker the Addressee, or others In linguistics grammatical number is a Grammatical category of nouns pronouns and adjective and verb agreement that expresses count distinctions (such as "one" According to a tradition that can be tracked back to Aristotle, every sentence can be divided in two main constituents, one being the subject of the sentence and the Every conjugation exhibits some degree of syncretism, where the same (homophonous, and possibly also homographic) form is used to realize distinct combinations of grammatical features. In Linguistics, syncretism is the identity of form of distinct morphological forms of a word This is most noticeable for -er verbs. For instance, the conjugated form parle can be the 1st or 3rd person singular indicative or subjunctive form of parler, or the singular familiar imperative. Furthermore, the 2nd person singular indicative and subjunctive form parles and the 3rd person plural form parlent are pronounced the same way as parle (except in liaison contexts). In French, most written word-final Consonants are silent in most contexts The prevalence of syncretism in conjugation paradigms is one functional explanation for the fact that French does not allow null subjects, unlike most of the other Romance languages. In Linguistic typology, a null subject language is a Language whose Grammar permits an Independent clause to lack an explicit subject
As with English verbs, French verbs have both non-finite moods (les modes impersonnels), also called verbals, and three finite ones (les modes personnels): an indicative (l'indicatif), an imperative (l'impératif), and a subjunctive (le subjonctif). In Linguistics, a non-finite verb (or a verbal) is a Verb form that is not limited by a subject and more generally is not fully inflected by A finite verb is a Verb that is inflected for person and for tense according to the rules and categories of the languages in which it occurs In Grammar, the subjunctive mood (sometimes referred to as the conjunctive mood) is a Verb mood that exists in many languages While the rules that determine the correct mood are quite complex, they are simplified and summarized in the following table:
Many linguists recognize a fourth mood, the conditional (le conditionnel), which is used in almost exactly the same circumstances as the conditional in English. The conditional mood is the form of the verb used in Conditional sentences to refer to a hypothetical state of affairs or an uncertain event that is contingent on another set In French, « Je le ferais si j'avais assez de temps » is "I would do it if I had enough time" in English. Other linguists consider the conditional to be a tense of the indicative mood. The two camps do not disagree on the rules for when and how to use the conditional. A third camp recognizes both "conditionnel présent / conditionnel passé" (for use in conditional sentences), and "indicatif futur du passé / indicatif futur antérieur du passé" (for tense concords, "future from a past point-of-view"), but they recognize also that both are conjugated the same.
The indicative mood has five "simple" (synthetic) tenses: the present (le présent), the simple past (le passé simple), the imperfect (l'imparfait), the future (le futur), and the conditional (le conditionnel). A synthetic language, in Linguistic typology, is a Language with a high Morpheme -per- word ratio Overview The passé simple (literally the simple past or Preterite, but also called the passé défini in French is the literary Note that, as discussed above, the conditional can be considered a separate mood completely, rather than a tense of the indicative. The use of the various tenses is described in the following table:
Additionally, the indicative has five compound (two-word) tenses, each of which results from applying the perfect aspect (e. The perfect aspect is variously considered either an aspect or tense which calls a listener's attention to the consequences generated by an action rather than the g. , "have done") to one of the above simple tenses. These tenses are used to indicate events prior to the corresponding simple tenses; for example, « À ce moment-là, il se souvint de ce qu'il avait promis » ("At that moment, he remembered what he had promised"). In addition, except in literature or very formal speeches, the present perfect is used in modern French wherever the simple past would have been used in older or more literary writing. Since this use is much more common than its use as a true present perfect, it is usually called the compound past (le passé composé). Passé Composé is the most commonly used past tense in the modern French language. Further, where older or more literary French would have used the perfect aspect of the simple past tense (le passé antérieur), modern non-literary French uses the pluperfect (le plus-que-parfait; the perfect aspect of the imperfect tense), or sometimes a new form called the surcomposé (literally, "over-compound"), which re-applies the perfect aspect to the compound past, resulting in a structure like « Je l'ai eu fait » (literally, "I it have had done").
Unlike English or Spanish, French does not mark for a continuous aspect. The continuous and progressive aspects are Grammatical aspects that express incomplete action in progress at a specific time they are non-habitual imperfective Thus, "I am doing it" (continuous) and "I do it" (not) both translate to the same sentence in French: « Je le fais. » However, this information is often clear from context; and when not, it can be conveyed using periphrasis; for example, the expression être en train de [faire quelque chose] ("to be in the middle of [doing something]") is often used to convey the sense of a continuous aspect. In Linguistics, periphrasis is a device by which a grammatical category or relationship is expressed by a Free morpheme (typically one or more Function (For example, "I'm doing it" might be expressed as « Je suis en train de le faire », "I'm in the middle of doing it. ") In the case of the past tense, neither the simple nor the compound past tense is ever used with a continuous sense; therefore, the imperfect often indicates a continuous sense (though it does have other uses, as discussed above).
Similarly to English, the verb aller (to go) can be used as an auxiliary verb to create a near-future tense (le futur proche). Whereas English uses the continuous aspect (to be going), French uses the simple present tense; for example, the English sentence "I'm going to do it tomorrow" would in French be « Je vais le faire demain » (literally, "I go it to do tomorrow"). As in English, this form can generally be replaced by the present or future tense: "I'm doing it tomorrow", "I'll do it tomorrow", « Je le fais demain », « Je le ferai demain ».
The subjunctive mood has only two simple tenses: a present (le présent du subjonctif) and an imperfect (l'imparfait du subjonctif). Of these, only the present is used nowadays; like the simple past indicative, the imperfect subjunctive is only found in older and more literary works. When both tenses are used, there is no difference in meaning between the two; the present is used in subordinate clauses whose main clauses are in a present or future tense, as well as in the few main clauses that use the subjunctive, and the imperfect is used in subordinate clauses whose main clauses are in a past tense (other than present perfect). Except in literature and very formal speeches, modern French uses the present subjunctive wherever an older or more literary work would use the imperfect.
As with the indicative, the subjunctive also has one compound tense for each simple tense. The difference between the present perfect subjunctive (le passé du subjonctif) and the pluperfect subjunctive (le plus-que-parfait du subjonctif) is analogous to the difference between the present subjunctive and imperfect subjunctive; of the two, only the present perfect subjunctive is found in modern French.
The tenses and aspects of other verb forms are mostly as in English, except for the lack of a continuous aspect marking:
In French, all compound tenses are formed with an auxiliary verb (either être "to be" or avoir "to have"). Passé Composé is the most commonly used past tense in the modern French language. Most verbs use avoir as their auxiliary verb. The exceptions are all reflexive verbs and a number of verbs of motion or change of state, including some of the most frequently used verbs of the language:
Verbs that are derived from these by prefixation may continue to select être, but this is not always the case. In Grammar, a reflexive verb is a Verb whose semantic agent and patient (typically represented syntactically by the subject and the direct object are the For example:
(The verbs marked with "¹" above combine with être in their intransitive uses, and avoir when used transitively. )
A small number of verbs, including some already mentioned above, can in fact be found with either auxiliary (croître, monter, descendre, convenir, paraître, apparaître, descendre, trépasser). There may be a subtle change of meaning depending on the auxiliary chosen, and one auxiliary is usually more literary or archaic than the other.
The distinction between the two auxiliary verbs is important for the correct formation of the compound tenses and is also essential to the agreement of the past participle.
The past participle is used in three ways in French: as an adjective, in the passive construction, and to form the compound tenses. When it is used as an adjective, it follows all the regular adjective agreement rules. In passive constructions, it always agrees with the passive subject.
In compound tenses, more complicated agreement rules apply.
A. The auxiliary verb is avoir.
B. The auxiliary is être, and the verb is not reflexive. The past participle agrees with the subject:
C. The auxiliary is être and the verb is reflexive. The agreement rules are in fact the same as those for structures with avoir in A, keeping in mind that the reflexive pronoun corresponds either to the direct object or the indirect object of the verb.
The first three cases are the same as in A. 2 above (the reflexive pronoun is the indirect object).
The reflexive pronoun can itself be the direct object, in which case the participle agrees with it (and therefore with the subject). This also includes "inherently reflexive" verbs, for which the reflexive pronoun cannot be interpreted semantically as an object (direct or indirect) of the verb.