How to Conjugate the French Verb "Causer" (to Cause, Chat)

Is It "to Cause" or "to Chat"? It's Both!

It seems obvious that the French verb causer would mean "to cause." Yet, it has a double meaning and can also be used for "to chat." This lesson in conjugating causer to express "caused" or "causing" should be a pretty easy one, especially if you're familiar with similar words.

Conjugating the French Verb Causer

Causer is a regular -ER verb and that means it follows one of the most common verb conjugation patterns.

Once you learn the correct endings for causer, you can apply those to words like cacher (to hide) and blesser (to hurt), as well as many others.

To learn these simple conjugations, study the chart and pair the subject pronoun with the appropriate tense. For example, "I cause" in the present tense is "je cause" and "we will cause" in the future tense is "nous causerons." It's really that easy, but you have to remember the endings.

SubjectPresentFutureImperfect
jecausecauseraicausais
tucausescauserascausais
ilcausecauseracausait
nouscausonscauseronscausions
vouscausezcauserezcausiez
ilscausentcauserontcausaient

Tip: The je present tense is used in the French expression "à cause de." This is a common way to say "because of" or "due to."

The Present Participle of Causer

Used as a verb, adjective, gerund, or even a noun, the present participle of causer is causant. Notice how this ending is a simple change from -er to -ant.

This change happens in almost every present participle you'll come across.

The Passé Composé and Past Participle

For the past tense, you can also use the common French form known as passé composé. To do this, conjugate the auxiliary verb avoir to match the subject, then add the past participle causé.

As an example, "I caused" becomes "j'ai causé" and "we caused" is "nous avons causé."

More Causer Conjugations to Know

As you expand your use of the French language, you may also have a use for some of these conjugations. It's likely that you'll only find the passé simple and imperfect subjunctive in formal writing. The other two are a bit more common.

For instance, you will use the conditional verb mood when the action will only happen if something else happens; when it's dependent on conditions. Likewise, the subjunctive verb mood implies a degree of subjectivity or uncertainty to the action of causing. With causer, these may be particularly useful because causes are not always accurate or easy to define.

SubjectSubjunctiveConditionalPassé SimpleImperfect Subjunctive
jecausecauseraiscausaicausasse
tucausescauseraiscausascausasses
ilcausecauseraitcausacausât
nouscausionscauserionscausâmescausassions
vouscausiezcauseriezcausâtescausassiez
ilscausentcauseraientcausèrentcausassent

Should you wish to express causer as an exclamation, use the imperative verb form. When doing so, skip the subject pronoun and use the verb alone: "causons" rather than "nous causons."

 Imperative
(tu)cause
(nous)causons
(vous)causez