-er French verbs : first group
Conjugaison des verbes du premier groupe
Salut, and welcome to our lesson about -er French verbs conjugation at Language Easy! They are the verbs of the first group, and indeed, when you master the conjugation of one of them, you’ll master them all, because in this group there are no irregular verb at all !
The first group (le premier groupe) contains all the verbs that
- end in -er at the infinitive
- except the verb aller (to go)
There are no other exception and the following conjugation tables apply to all of them.
A few verbs from this group are aimer (to love), bouger (to move), caresser (to caress), douter (to doubt), entrer (to enter), forger (to forge), garder (to keep), se hâter (to hurry), imaginer (to imagine)…
Note that if the conjugation of the -er French verbs is completely regular, the radical can undergo many variations (for example : piéger → piégé, piégeant, piège…). Let’s first look at the conjugation tables for each mood / tense, and then we’ll take a deeper look into these radical changes.
Conjugation of the -er French verbs
La conjugaison des verbes du premier groupe
Keep in mind that the choice of the auxiliary to use at the compound tense depends of the verb, so you’ll have to check out for each verb. We use as models the verbs aimer (to love) which is always conjugated with avoir, and arriver (to arrive) which is always conjugated with être.
Radical changes in -er French verbs
Les changements de radicaux
As we said before, while the conjugation of the first group verbs is completely regular, sometimes the radical may undergo variations. There are three reasons why this would happen, and we’ll detail them now.
1. To avoid a change in the sound
The verbs with a radical ending with c or g demand a special attention because their pronunciation could change according to the conjugation termination. For example, the c in “lancer” is pronounced /s/ while in “lancant” it would be pronounced /k/. In the same way, the g in “manger” is pronounced /ʒ/ while in “mangant” it would be pronounced /g/.
To avoid the change in the pronunciation, the following transformations occur :
- c is transformed into ç before a a (ant, ai, ais, aient…) or o (ons, ont…)
- g is transformed into ge before a a or o
So, here are a few examples :
- piéger (to trap) → piégeant, nous piégeons, vous piégeassiez…
- foncer (to rush) → en fonçant, tu fonçais, nous fonçons…
2. To avoid a double atone syllable
Although it’s not as marked as in other languages such as Spanish, in French, some vowels do have a tonic accent, and some don’t. It’s not really accepted to have two atone syllables one after another. As some of the conjugation terminations are atone, when the radical ends with an atone syllable too, it sometimes has to be replaced by a tonic one. We’ll enumerate the cases.
The -er French verbs ending in –emer, -ener, –ecer, –eder, –eler, –eter, –ever, etc… take a grave accent on the last e of their radical when the termination is silent to avoid the presence of two following atonic syllables.
Similarly, in the same situation, the -er French verbs ending in –émer, -éner, -éder, -éder, -éper, –éguer, –éfler, –éguer, –écher, etc… transform their acute accent to a grave accent.
However, there is the exception of some verbs in –eler and –eter that must double the l or the t instead of taking an accent to achieve the same phonetic effect : appeler, rappeler, jeter rejeter…
Surely, you’ll get it better with examples :
|Verb||Atone termination||Tonic termination|
|jeter (to throw)||je jette||nous jetons|
|appeler (to call)||tu appelles||vous jetez|
|semer (to sow)||nous sèmerions||nous semions|
|geler (to freeze)||il gèle||il gela|
|régner (to rein)||ils règnent||ils régnèrent|
|peser (to weigh)||je pèserais||pesant|
|léguer (to bequeath)||tu lègueras||en léguant|
|acheter (to buy)||il achète / il achette||il acheta|
|céder (to cede)||ils cèdent||ils cédaient|
3. To avoid jaw-breakers
The -er French verbs ending in -yer can have their y transformed into a i before an atone termination.
- it’s mandatory for the verbs in -oyer and -uyer
- for others the verbs in -eyer, its forbidden
- and you have the choice with verbs -ayer.
For instance, we would have :
- payer (to pay) → je paye / je paie, tu payes / tu paies…
- volleyer (to play volley-ball) → je volleye, tu volleyes…
- aboyer (to bark) →j’aboie, tu aboies…
C’est quoi, la suite ?
Et voilà, we reached the end of our lesson about the -er French verbs. Don´t hesitate to bookmark this page so you can refer to it anytime you want to check a termination. You can derive any -er French verb from these tables, but if you need to see the extended conjugation tables for a verb in particular, you can use the official Bescherelle’s online conjugation tool.
Allez, à bientôt !