How to Conjugate "Appuyer" (to Support or to Lean On)

When You Want "to Lean On" in French Use "Appuyer"

Crowd Surfing
Tom Merton/Getty Images

The French verb for "to lean on" or "to support" is appuyer. In order to use appuyer in the present, future, or past tense, it must be conjugated. French students will find this one to be a little tricky because it is a stem-changing verb.

Note that pencher is the French verb that means "to lean" as in to bend down or over. This follows the regular -er verb conjugation pattern.

Conjugating the French Verb Appuyer

In order to use appuyer in the way you would say "leaned" or "leaning," we need to change its ending.

 Appuyer is a stem-changing verb because it has a 'Y' before the -er. You will notice in the conjugations that in front an 'E' the 'Y' becomes an 'I.'

Beyond that stem change, the conjugation of appuyer is very similar to other -er verbs. To conjugate it using the chart, simply pair the subject pronoun with the appropriate tense. For instance, "I support" is "j'appuie." and "we will lean on" is "nous appuierons."


The Versatile Present Participle of Appuyer

Appuyer uses the present participle appuyant. This can be used as a verb, but can also take the form of an adjective, gerund, or noun in the right context.

Using Appuyer in the Past Tense

The imperfect past tense is useful to know, but a more common form of the past tense in French is passé composé.

For this conjugation, you will use the past participle appuyé and conjugate the auxiliary verb avoir.

For instance, "I supported" is "j'ai appuyé." There's no need to change the past participle with a subject change, just the conjugation of avoir. Therefore, "we leaned on" is "nous avons appuyé."

More Conjugations for Appuyer

As you speak more French, you might find the subjunctive and conditional forms of appuyer useful.

These have a certain level of ambiguity implied within them.

The passé simple and imperfect subjunctive have a rare use. They are primarily reserved for formal writing.

SubjectSubjunctiveConditionalPassé SimpleImperfect Subjunctive

The imperative form of appuyer is good to know as well. It's used to form short, often assertive sentences that command or request an action. When using the imperative, skip the subject pronoun and use, for instance, appuie alone.