The Irregular French Verb 'Apprendre' ('to Learn')

'Apprendre' is conjugated like 'prendre' and verbs ending in '-prendre'

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Apprendre, which commonly means "to learn," is a frequently used irregular French -re verb. Irregular verbs do not follow regular conjugation patterns, but some verbs within an irregular verb group can share a conjugation pattern with at least one other verb.

There are patterns for irregular French -re verbs, and the irregular verb apprendre is in one of those groups. All verbs like apprendre that end in -prendre are conjugated the same way.

The verbs in this group drop the "d" in all three plural forms and take a double "n" in the third person plural form. 

Verbs Ending in '-prendre'

All French verbs that end in -prendre are conjugated the same way as apprendre and prendre:

  • apprendre > to learn
  • comprendre > to understand
  • entreprendre > to undertake
  • méprendre > to mistake
  • prendre > to take
  • reprendre > to retake, take again
  • surprendre > to surprise

'Apprendre': Meanings and Uses

In use, apprendre means "to learn."

The pronominal s'apprendre, means "to be learned," as in: 
Le style, ça ne s'apprend pas. > Style can't be learned.

Apprendre can also mean "to tell," as in:
Apprendre quelque chose à quelqu'un > to teach something to somebody

And "to hear," as in:
Qu'est-ce que j'apprends, vous démissionnez ? > What's this I hear about you resigning?

'Apprendre': Idiomatic Expressions

  • On en apprend tous les jours ! > You can learn something new every day.
  • Tiens, tiens, on en apprend des choses ! > Who'd have thought such a thing!
  • N'apprend pas à un vieux singe à faire la grimace. ( proverb) > Don't teach an old dog new tricks.
  • Ça lui apprendra ! > That'll teach him!
  • Apprendre quelque chose par cœur > learn something by heart/ by rote
  • Apprendre à être patient > to learn patience
  • On apprend à tout âge. > It's never too late to learn.
  • Apprendre lentement/vite > to be a slow / fast learner

Simple Conjugations of the Irregular French Verb 'Apprendre'

 PresentFutureImperfectPresent participle
j'apprendsapprendraiapprenaisapprenant
tuapprendsapprendrasapprenais 
ilapprendapprendraapprenait 
nousapprenonsapprendronsapprenions 
vousapprenezapprendrezappreniez 
ilsapprennentapprendrontapprenaient 

 

Passé composé 
Auxiliary verbavoir
Past participleappris

 

 SubjunctiveConditionalPassé simpleImperfect subjunctive
j'apprenneapprendraisapprisapprisse
tuapprennesapprendraisapprisapprisses
ilapprenneapprendraitappritapprit
nousapprenionsapprendrionsapprimesapprissions
vousappreniezapprendriezappritesapprissiez
ilsapprennentapprendraientapprissent 

 

 Imperative
tuapprends
nousapprenons
vousapprenez