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Regular verbs in the present tense

Regular Verbs in the Present Tense
French has three groups of verbs with regular conjugations. They are usually identified by their infinitive endings: -er (parler, to speak, talk), -ir (choisir, to choose), or -re (attendre, to wait for). Regular French verbs are conjugated in person and number by adding six regular endings to the verb root or stem—the infinitive minus the ending:
parl-, chois-, and attend-. Learning the model verb for each group will allow
you to conjugate most French verbs.

Conjugating Regular -er Verbs
A majority of French verbs have infi nitives that end in -er: parler (to speak, talk), aimer (to like, love). When new verbs are coined, they are most often regular -er verbs (cliquer sur, to click on; mondialiser, to globalize).

All -er verbs (except for aller, to go) are regular. The present tense endings for regular -er verbs are: -e, -es, -e, -ons, -ez, and -ent. Conjugated verbs always include a subject noun or pronoun. The regular conjugations of verbs ending in -ir and -re are presented later in this book

Present Tense of parler (to speak, talk); Stem: parl-
je parle                 I speak, I do speak, I am speaking
tu parles (fam.)         you speak, you do speak, you are speaking
vous parlez (pol.)     you speak, you do speak, you are speaking
il parle                   he speaks, he does speak, he is speaking
elle parle               she speaks, she does speak, she is speaking
on parle                 one speaks, we speak, they speak
nous parlons          we speak, we do speak, we are speaking
vous parlez            you speak, you do speak, you are speaking
ils parlent              they (m.) speak, they do speak, they are speaking
elles parlent                    they (f.) speak, they do speak, they are speaking

Vous parlez français?       Do you speak French?
—Bien sûr, et je parle      —Of course, and I also speak
aussi italien.                          Italian.
En Iran, on parle farsi.       They speak Farsi in Iran.

Here are two more -er verbs, conjugated in the present tense. aimer (to like, love); Stem: aim- écouter (to listen to); Stem: écout

j’aime                    nous aimons                    j’écoute                 nous écoutons
tu aimes                vous aimez            tu écoutes              vous écoutez
il/elle/on aime         ils/elles aiment       il/elle/on écoute      ils/elles écoutent

As with forms of avoir, the -e of je elides to j’ before a vowel sound. It is replaced by an apostrophe and closed up to the verb: j’aime, j’écoute.

Nous parlons avec les voisins.               We’re speaking with the
J’aime beaucoup ce quartier.                  I like this neighborhood a lot.
Ton ami et toi, vous écoutez                Are you and your friend
la radio?                                                         listening to the radio?

Pronunciation of –er  Verb Forms
The fi nal -s or z of a conjugated verb is silent (tu parles), as are the fi nal -z (vous
parlez) and the ending -ent (ils/elles aiment). Thus, in the spoken language, an -er verb has three sounded forms: [pahRl] (je parle, tu parles, il/elle/on parle, ils/elles parlent), [pahR-lOn] (nous parlons), and [pahR-lay] (vous parlez).           

The fi nal -s of a subject pronoun (nous, vous, ils, elles) is pronounced [z] when it immediately precedes a verb form starting with a vowel sound. Thisis called liaison.
ils_aiment [eel-zehm] vous_êtes [voo-zeht] nous_habitons [noo-zah-bee-tOn] elles_étudient [ehl-zay-tU-dee]

Here are several more regular -er verbs:
adorer                                     to love, to adore habiter to live
aimer mieux                          to prefer, to like better jouer to play
arriver to arrive                      louer to rent
chercher to look for              regarder to look at, to watch
danser to dance                    rêver (de) to dream (about)
détester to hate, to detest
travailler to work                   étudier to study trouver to fi nd
expliquer to explain                         utiliser to use
fermer to close                      visiter to visit (a place)

Uses of the Present Tense
The present tense in French has three equivalents in English.
Je parle français.                I speak French; I am speaking
French; I do speak French.

• The present tense often conveys the meaning of a near future.
Elles arrivent vers six heures        They will arrive around six this
ce soir.                                               evening.
Tu cherches un emploi cet été? Will you be looking for a job this
• When two verbs are used consecutively, the first is conjugated and the second is an infinitive. The infi nitive directly follows some verbs (such as aimer, aimer mieux, détester, préférer), with no intervening preposition.
Vous détestez regarder la télé?   You hate to watch TV?
Pas vrai!                                             You’re kidding!
—Oui, j’aime mieux travailler.               —Yes, I prefer working.

Other verb _ verb constructions require à or de before the infinitive.

Je commence à travailler.              I begin to work.
On refuse de continuer.                  They refuse to continue.

• The simple negation of verbs (in all tenses) is made with ne... pas.

Nous fermons la porte.                    We close the door.
Nous ne fermons pas la porte.                 We don’t close the door.
Ne becomes n’ (i.e., it elides) before a vowel sound or a mute h.
Jacqueline habite ici.                       Jacqueline lives here.
Jérôme n’habite pas ici.                 Jérôme doesn’t live here.
Elle écoute la radio.                         She listens to the radio.
Il n’écoute pas la radio.                  He doesn’t listen to the radio.

If a verb is followed by an infinitive, ne/n’ and pas usually surround the conjugated verb form.
Nous aimons discuter.                     We like to discuss (issues).
Vous n’aimez pas discuter.           You don’t like to discuss (issues).

When the infi nitive is negated, the combination ne pas precedes the infinitive.
Je demande au professeur de       I ask the teacher not to give a test.
ne pas donner d’examen.
Ils preferent  ne pas danser       They prefer not to dance
samedi soir.                                                   Saturday night.

• As with avoir, in negative sentences (except for those with être), the indefinite article (un/une/des) changes to de/d’ after ne... pas. The noun following de/d’ can be singular or plural.
Le dimanche, on visite un musée.            On Sundays, we visit a museum.
Le dimanche, on ne visite pas              On Sundays, we don’t visit a
de musée.                                                     (any) museum(s).
Je cherche des oranges.                          I’m looking for oranges.
—Tu ne trouves pas d’oranges?                                   Aren’t you finding (any)

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