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The regular -RE verbs in the present tense and -ER verbs with spelling changes in French


Regular -re Verbs in the Present Tense
Regular verbs with infi nitives ending in -re are conjugated in the present tense as follows:
Present Tense of attendre (to wait, wait for)
j’attends                 nous attendons
tu attends               vous attendez
il/elle/on attend         ils/elles attendent

Elle attend l’autobus, et nous attendons la conférence.       
She is waiting for the bus,  and we are waiting for the the lecture.

Mes amis attendent les vacances.  
My friends are waiting for the holidays.
Be aware of these details regarding regular -re verbs:
• The third-person singular form (il/elle/on attend) of regular -re verbs has no ending. To conjugate it, remove the infinitive ending (-re); the stem of the verb is the conjugated form. In this form, the letter -d is silent (not pronounced), and the word ends with the nasal vowel: elle attend [ah-tAn], il vend [vAn]

• The English verb to wait always uses the preposition for before a noun. In French, attendre is followed directly by the noun.

J’attends mon ami.
I am waiting for my friend

In French, attendre does not mean to attend. To attend (a lecture, a concert, etc.) is expressed by assister à (une conférence, un concert, etc.). Other regular -re verbs include:
défendre to defend; to forbid         descendre to go down; to get off
entendre to hear                             perdre to lose
perdre du temps to waste time   rendre to give (back), to return
répondre (à) to answer                  rendre visite à to visit (a person)
tendre to stretch (out) (; to offer                  vendre to sell

Michel vend sa vieille voiture.       Michel is selling his old car.

Nous rendons visite aux voisins dimanche.
 We are visiting the neighbors on Sunday.
Tu entends? C’est ton portable.               Do you hear? That’s your cell phone.
—Je réponds!                                              —I am answering!
Les enfants perdent souvent les clés.     Children often lose the keys.
Où est-ce qu’on descend de l’autobus?  Where do we get off the bus?

Rendre visite and répondre both require the preposition à before a noun.
Ils répondent toujours à mes questions.  They always answer my questions.
Tu rends visite aux voisins?                   Are you visiting the neighbors?

Use the verb visiter _ noun to express a visit to a city, building, museum, natural site, etc. Use rendre visite à for visits to people.

Inverted Question Forms and liaison
In the inverted question form, the -d of regular third-person singular –re verbs is pronounced [t]. It links with the vowel in -il, -elle, or -on.
Vend-on... ? [vAn-tOn] Do they sell . . . ?
Attend-il? [ah-tAn-teel] Is he waiting?
Perd-elle... ? [pehR-tehl] Does she lose . . . ?

The liaison with the letter t [t] is also pronounced in the third-person singular or plural, linking with the following subject pronoun that starts with a vowel. This applies to verbs of all groups.
Vendent-elles... ? [vAn-d(uh)-tehl] Do they sell . . . ?
Aiment-ils... ? [ehm-teel] Do they love . . . ?
Choisit-on... ? [shwah-zee-tOn] Are we choosing . . . ?

Key Vocabulary
How often do you do things? The following adverbs are used after verbs to tell how often or how much you do something. You have already been using some of them.
Expressions de temps (Expressions of Frequency and Time)
beaucoup (a lot; often)  toujours (always)  quelquefois, parfois (sometimes)
très peu (rarely, hardly ever)  rarement (rarely)   un peu (a little)  souvent (often)

J’étudie toujours à la maison.      I always study at home.
Gaspard réussit rarement.                        Gaspard rarely succeeds.
Ils ne répondent pas beaucoup. They don’t answer much.

The expressions below also help situate the action. They can all be used with the present tense, sometimes with the meaning of the near future.
actuellement presently, currently, nowadays; bientôt soon
en ce moment right now;  maintenant now ;  (un peu) plus tard (a little) later
prochain(e) next (adj.)       tout à l’heure in a little while

Où est-ce que tu travailles actuellement?  Where are you working nowadays?
Attends! Je descends bientôt.                    Wait! I’m coming down soon.
On rend visite à Sylvie tout à l’heure.   We’re visiting Sylvie in a little while.
Paul quitte son boulot la semaine prochaine  Paul is leaving his job next week.

Depuis Versus Since
The word depuis, meaning for or since (in time) follows verbs in the present tense. It precedes either a period of time (deux ans, cinq minutes... ) or a beginning point in time (le 15 août, midi, cinq heures, 2003, mon enfance, le début de l’année... )..

J’étudie le français depuis un an.
I’ve been studying French for a year.

Nous attendons le bus depuis  quelque temps.
We’ve been waiting for the bus for a while.

Mon frère habite à Paris depuis mars.
My brother has been living in Paris since March.

Ils sont membres de ce groupe depuis 2002.
 They’ve been members of this group since 2002.

• In English the verbs in sentences with for or since are in the present perfect, with have _ past participle or has been _ a present participle (the -ing form of the verb): They’ve been members . . . , I’ve been studying . . ., My brother has been living . . . . French always uses the present tense with depuis (Ils sont... , J’étudie... , Mon frère habite... ), if the action is current and ongoing.

• To ask the question Since when . . . ? with a point in time, say Depuis
quand... ?
Depuis quand voyagez-vous?    Since when have you been traveling?
  —Nous voyageons depuis le 25 janvier. —We have been traveling since January 25.

To ask the question For how long . . . ? or How long . . . ? with a span of time say Depuis combien de temps... ?
Depuis combien de temps habites-tu ici?
 How long have you been living (lived) here?
—J’habite ici depuis six ans.
 —I’ve lived here for six years.

Other French Expressions for Since
When used with the present tense, the expressions (il y a... que... , voilà... que... , and ça fait... que... ) have the same meaning as depuis (since, for). These expressions—each one includes the time elapsed—precede the main verb.
J’habite à Paris depuis deux ans.
Il y a deux ans que j’habite à Paris. _ I’ve lived (been living) in Paris
Voilà deux ans que j’habite à Paris.                 for two years.
Ça fait deux ans que j’habite à Paris.

-er Verbs with Spelling Changes
The conjugations of several groups of regular -er verbs have slight spelling irregularities. There are six major patterns of spelling changes. Learn the following
models, and you will know the others in each group. Verbs like commencer (to begin)
To keep the soft [s] sound, verbs with infi nitives ending in -cer change -c- to -ç- (c cedilla) when -c- occurs before -a- or -o-. In the present tense, this change occurs in the nous form only (nous commençons).

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