How to Conjugate "Bouger" (to Move)

Watch out for the Spelling While Conjugating This French Verb

The French verb bouger is one of the many ways to say "to move." It is a rather easy verb to conjugate, though there is a spelling change that you will want to watch out for.

The Many Ways to Say "to Move" in French

The English "to move" can take on many different meanings depending on the context. It can mean to move something, to move your home or yourself, or even to move someone emotionally. In French, there is a separate verb for all of these instances and some are rather specific.

The subject of this lesson is bouger. Specifically, this means "to move" as in to budge, stir, or shift. Explore these other French verbs and make sure you choose the correct "to move" to relay your true meaning.

  • déménager - to move house
  • transporter - to transport
  • remuer and émouvoir - to disturb or stir
  • marcher - to walk
  • jouer - to play
  • descendre - to descend
  • avancer - to advance
  • progresser - to progress
  • inciter - to encourage

The Spelling Changes in Conjugating Bouger

Bouger is a spelling change verb. It's an easy one to conjugate when you understand how and why the spelling changes.

Typically, in French verbs that end in -er, the nous present tense (for example) would drop the -er and add -ons. If we did that with a word that ends with -ger, the 'G' would have a hard sound. We really want to retain that soft 'G' pronunciation, so an 'E' is added before the 'O' or an 'A.'

This applies to a few of the conjugations below. Also, all verbs that end in -ger follow this rule.

The Simple Conjugations of Bouger

Beyond that minor spelling change, bouger is a relatively straightforward verb to conjugate. This is required so the verb matches the subject and the present, future, or past tense.

The chart will help you learn the bouger conjugations. Pair the subject pronoun -- the je, tu, nous, etc. -- with the proper tense. For instance, "I move" is "je bouge" and "we will move" is "nous bougerons."

Subject Present Future Imperfect
je bouge bougerai bougeais
tu bouges bougeras bougeais
il bouge bougera bougeait
nous bougeons bougerons bougions
vous bougez bougerez bougiez
ils bougent bougeront bougeaient

The Present Participle of Bouger

The present participle of bouger is bougeant. While we would normally drop the 'E' when adding the -ant ending, this is another instance of that necessary spelling change. 

Not only is this a verb, but it can act as an adjective, gerund, or noun when needed.

The Passé Composé of Bouger

Other than the imperfect, you can also express the past tense of bouger using the passé composé. To do so, you must conjugate avoir, which is an auxiliary or "helping" verb. You will also use the past participle of bougé.

With those two elements, the conjugation is easy. For "I moved," the French is "j'ai bougé" and "we moved" is "nous avons bougé."

More Bouger Conjugations

The present, future, and past tense conjugations should be the focus of your French studies at first. As you progress, you may also find the following conjugations useful.

The subjunctive and conditional are used when the act of moving is in some way questionable or dependent. The passé simple and imperfect subjunctive are primarily reserved for writing.

Subject Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive
je bouge bougerais bougeai bougeasse
tu bouges bougerais bougeas bougeasses
il bouge bougerait bougea bougeât
nous bougions bougerions bougeâmes bougeassions
vous bougiez bougeriez bougeâtes bougeassiez
ils bougent bougeraient bougèrent bougeassent

To express bouger in short, assertive commands or requests you will use the imperative verb form. When doing so, there is no need to include the subject pronoun as it is implied in the verb. Instead of "nous bougeons," you can simplify it to "bougeons."


(tu)           bouge

(nous)      bougeons

(vous)       bougez

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Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugate "Bouger" (to Move)." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). How to Conjugate "Bouger" (to Move). Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugate "Bouger" (to Move)." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 6, 2023).