Conjugating the Regular French Verb 'Aimer' ('to Like, Love')

The French verb 'aimer' follows a pattern, like other regular '-er' verbs

Aimer - French Verb Conjugations

Aimer is a regular -er verb, and French regular -er verbs are the largest group of French verbs — larger by far than the regular -ir and -re groups, the stem-changing verbs and the irregular verbs.

The table in this article shows the simple conjugations of this regular -er verb, which follows a set pattern. These conjugations do not include the compound tenses, which consist of a form of the auxiliary verb and the past participle.

Note one small irregularity in -er verb conjugation patterns, which appears in verbs that end in -ger and - cer. These are known as spelling-change verbs. Also, keep an eye out for -ier verbs, which are conjugated just like regular -er verbs.

Here are just a few of the most common regular -er verbs in French:

  • aimer   to like, to love
  • arriver   to arrive, to happen
  • chanter   to sing
  • chercher   to look for
  • commencer   to begin
  • danser   to dance
  • demander   to ask for
  • dépenser   to spend (money)
  • détester   to hate
  • donner   to give
  • écouter   to listen to
  • étudier   to study
  • fermer   to close
  • goûter   to taste
  • jouer   to play
  • laver   to wash
  • manger   to eat
  • nager   to swim
  • parler   to talk, to speak
  • passer   to pass, spend (time)
  • penser   to think
  • porter   to wear, to carry
  • regarder   to watch, to look at
  • rêver   to dream
  • sembler   to seem
  • skier   to ski
  • travailler   to work
  • trouver   to find
  • visiter   to visit (a place)
  • voler   to fly, to steal

    'Aimer': Uses

    Aimer is one of the most common French verbs. It is a regular -er verb that requires avoir in the compound tenses and can mean "to like" or "to love." 

    Aimer means "to like" or "to love" when followed by a noun or infinitive, as in J'aime Paris ("I love Paris").

    When aimer is followed by a person, it means "to love" or "to be in love with." You can use aimer to mean simply "love" when it relates to your family, but with other people, it means "to be in love."

    To say that you "like" or "are fond of" someone, qualify aimer with an adverb such as assezbien or  beaucoup. These adverbs make aimer less strong so that it can be used with friends rather than family and lovers.

    The direct object pronouns lela, and les can only be used with aimer when they refer to people.

    •    Je l'aime. > I love him/her.
    •    Je l'aime bien. > I like him/her.

    When the direct object means "it," you must use the indefinite demonstrative pronoun ça.

    In the conditional, aimer is a polite way to make a request or state a desire, as in 

    • J'aimerais partir à midi. > I would like to leave at noon.

    The pronominal verb s'aimer can be reflexive or reciprocal as in "to like oneself or to be in love."

    'Aimer': Expressions

    There are many idiomatic expressions with aimer. Here are a few:

    •    aimer à la folie > to be madly in love
    •    aimer autant > to be just as happy (with, that), to prefer
    •    aimer mieux > to prefer
    •    Il m'aime un peu, beaucoup, passionnément, à la folie, pas du tout. > 
         He loves me a little, a lot, passionately, madly, not at all.
    •    Qui aime bien châtie bien. (proverb) > Spare the rod, spoil the child.
    •    Qui m'aime aime mon chien. (proverb) > Love me, love my dog.

    Simple Conjugations of the Regular '-er' Verb 'Aimer'

     Present Future ImperfectPresent participle
    ilaimeaimeraaimaitPassé composé
    nousaimonsaimeronsaimions   Auxiliary verb avoir
    vousaimezaimerezaimiez   Past participle aimé
     SubjunctiveConditionalPassé simpleImperfect subjunctive
    (nous) aimons