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


Passé composé 
Auxiliary verbavoir
Past participleappris


 SubjunctiveConditionalPassé simpleImperfect subjunctive