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'

Present Future Imperfect Present participle
j' apprends apprendrai apprenais apprenant
tu apprends apprendras apprenais
il apprend apprendra apprenait
nous apprenons apprendrons apprenions
vous apprenez apprendrez appreniez
ils apprennent apprendront apprenaient
Subjunctive Conditional Passé simple Imperfect subjunctive
j' apprenne apprendrais appris apprisse
tu apprennes apprendrais appris apprisses
il apprenne apprendrait apprit apprit
nous apprenions apprendrions apprimes apprissions
vous appreniez apprendriez apprites apprissiez
ils apprennent apprendraient apprissent
Imperative
tu apprends
nous apprenons
vous apprenez