How to Conjugate "Attraper" (to Catch, to Pick Up)

You Should Quickly "Pick Up" These French Verb Conjugations

In French, the verb attraper means "to catch" or "to pick up." What if you wanted to say "I picked up"? Then you would need to conjugate the verb into the past tense, which is either "j'attrapais" or "j'ai attrapé."

There are, of course, other conjugations for attraper which French students will want to know. A quick lesson in transforming it to match the present, future, and past tenses will help.

Conjugating the French Verb Attraper

Attraper is a regular -ER verb. This means that it's relatively easy to conjugate because it follows a prescribed pattern. Once you learn which endings to use, you can apply that knowledge to similar verbs such as attacher (to attach) and blesser (to hurt).

In order to find the correct conjugation, use the chart and pair the subject pronoun -- the I, you, we, etc., or in French j', tu, nous -- with the appropriate tense for your sentence. For example, "I catch" is "j'attrape" and "we will pick up" is "nous attraperons."

SubjectPresentFutureImperfect
j'attrapeattraperaiattrapais
tuattrapesattraperasattrapais
ilattrapeattraperaattrapait
nousattraponsattraperonsattrapions
vousattrapezattraperezattrapiez
ilsattrapentattraperontattrapaient

The Present Participle of Attraper

The present participle of attraper is a verb, but it can also act as an adjective, gerund, or noun when needed.

To make this change, we simply replace the -er with -ant to form the word attrapant.

Another Past Tense of Attraper

You have two options when using attraper in the past tense. One is the imperfect and the other is known as passé composé, which is more common and a little easier.

In order to use the passé composé, you will need two elements.

First, is the appropriate conjugate for avoir, which is an auxiliary verb. Second is the past participle attrapé and this does not change with the subject pronoun.

As an example, to say "I picked up" in French, you will use " j'ai attrapé." In a similar fashion, "we caught" is "nous avons attrapé." Notice how the ai and avons are the conjugates of avoir.

More Attraper Conjugations

When you are starting out, feel free to concentrate on the present, future, and past tenses of attraper. As you dive further into French, you may also find a need for some of the following verb forms.

You will find the subjunctive and conditional useful when the action is suspect, in question, or uncertain. The passé simple and imperfect subjunctive are primarily found in formal writing. While these are not common, it's good to at least be able to recognize them and associate them with attraper.

SubjectSubjunctiveConditionalPassé SimpleImperfect Subjunctive
j'attrapeattraperaisattrapaiattrapasse
tuattrapesattraperaisattrapasattrapasses
ilattrapeattraperaitattrapaattrapât
nousattrapionsattraperionsattrapâmesattrapassions
vousattrapiezattraperiezattrapâtesattrapassiez
ilsattrapentattraperaientattrapèrentattrapassent

One final verb form is helpful to know and that is the imperative.

This is used in direct requests and demands and there's no need to use the pronoun here. Instead of "tu attrape," simplify it to "attrape."

 Imperative
(tu)attrape
(nous)attrapons
(vous)attrapez