How to Conjugate the Regular French Verb 'Acheter' ('To Buy')

A Stem-Changing Verb

Woman Carrying Shopping Bags

Daly and Newton

'Achete' ("to buy") is a very common French stem-changing verb. It is a verb that has two different stems but is conjugated with the same endings as regular -er verbs.

Stem-changing verbs are sometimes also called boot verbs or shoe verbs because if you circle the forms that have stem changes in the conjugation table below, the resulting shape looks like a boot or shoe.

The Actual Stem Change

For the present tense of verbs that end in -e_er ( _ indicates one or more consonants), the stem change consists of changing the e before that consonant to è in all forms but nous and vous. See this happen in the table below. Stem changes are not limited to the present tense; they occur across several French tenses and moods, as shown in the table below.

Note that the table below has only the simple conjugations of the verb acheter; it does not include the compound tenses, which consist of a form of the auxiliary verb and the past participle.

Common '-e_er' Stem-Changing Verbs

  •    acheter > to buy
  •    amener > to take
  •    emmener > to take 
  •    enlever > to remove
  •    geler > to freeze
  •    harceler > o harass
  •    lever > to lift, raise
  •    mener > to lead
  •    peler > to peel
  •    peser > to weigh
  •    promener > to walk

Other than acheter, geler, harceler and peler, most verbs that end in -eler and -eter are part of a different stem-change group that includes -eler verbs and -eter verbs.

Verbs that end in -é_er have a similar stem change. For the present tense of verbs that end in -é_er, the stem change consists of changing é to è in all forms but nous and vous, as in the following example:

   je considère       nous considérons
   tu considères     vous considérez
   il considère        ils considèrent

Common '-é_er' Stem-Changing Verbs

  •    céder > to give up, dispose of
  •    célébrer > to celebrate
  •    compléter > to complete
  •    considérer > to consider
  •    différer > to differ
  •    espérer > to hope
  •    exagérer* > to exaggerate
  •    gérer > to manage
  •    inquiéter > to worry
  •    modérer > to moderate
  •    pénétrer > to enter
  •    posséder > to possess
  •    préférer > to prefer
  •    protéger* > to protect
  •    refléter > to reflect
  •    répéter > to repeat
  •    révéler > to reveal
  •    suggérer > to suggest
  •    zébrer > to stripe
    *These are also spelling change verbs.

Verbs that end in -e_er have a similar stem change. For -e_er verbs and -é_er verbs, the penultimate e takes on or changes to è.

Simple Conjugations of the French Stem-Changing Verb 'Acheter'

Present Future Imperfect Present participle
j' achète achèterai achetais achetant
tu achètes achèteras achetais
il achète achètera achetait
nous achetons achèterons achetions
vous achetez achèterez achetiez
ils achètent achèteront achetaient
Subjunctive Conditional Passé simple Imperfect subjunctive
j' achète achèterais achetai achetasse
tu achètes achèterais achetas achetasses
il achète achèterait acheta achetât
nous achetions achèterions achetâmes achetassions
vous achetiez achèteriez achetâtes achetassiez
ils achètent achèteraient achetèrent achetassent
Imperative
tu achète
nous achetons
vous achetez