How to Conjugate "Chauffer" (to Heat) in French

woman adjusting thermostat

Getty Images / Maskot 

In French, the verb chauffer means "to heat." This can easily be confused with chauffeur as in "driver." To keep it straight, think of the verb more like a "chaffing" dish, meaning a heated food serving platter you often see at buffets or banquets.

Conjugating the French Verb Chauffer

As with all French verbs, we need to conjugate chauffer in order for it to mean "heating" or "heated." The -ing and -ed endings are English conjugations and they are universal to the subject. Yet, in French, we must match the verb with the tense as well as the subject: the endings for "we" is different than the endings for "I."

While verb conjugations are challenging for many French students, those that end in -er often follow a prescribed pattern. Chauffer is one of those because it is a regular -er verb. We take the stem of chauff and add particular endings according to the subject and tense. These same endings are used for similar verbs like brûler (to burn) and allumer (to light), making each a little easier to learn than the first.

Using the chart, pair the subject pronoun to the proper tense for your subject. For example, "I heat" is "je chauffe" and "we will heat" is "nous chaufferons."

Subject Present Future Imperfect
je chauffe chaufferai chauffais
tu chauffes chaufferas chauffais
il chauffe chauffera chauffait
nous chauffons chaufferons chauffions
vous chauffez chaufferez chauffiez
ils chauffent chaufferont chauffaient

The Present Participle of Chauffer

The present participle of chauffer is chauffant. For this conjugation, it is as easy as adding -ant to the verb stem. It is used as a verb and will also work as an adjective, gerund, or noun when needed.

The Past Participle and Passé Composé

A common way to express the past tense "heated" in French is to use the passé composé. To do this, conjugate the auxiliary, or "helping" verb avoir to the correct subject, then add the past participle chauffé.

For instance, "I heated" becomes "j'ai chauffé" and "we heated" is "nous avons chauffé." You should note that ai and avons are conjugates of avoir. Also, the past participle does not change when the subject does.

More Simple Chauffer Conjugations to Know

At first, students should focus on the present, past, and future forms of chauffer as these are used most often. With experience, you may also find a use for the subjunctive or conditional verb forms. Both of these imply some degree of uncertainty to the verb.

In rare instances and primarily in literature, you will see the passé simple and imperfect subjunctive forms of chauffer. While you may not use or need them yourself, you should at least be able to recognize and associate them with "to heat."

Subject Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive
je chauffe chaufferais chauffai chauffasse
tu chauffes chaufferais chauffas chauffasses
il chauffe chaufferait chauffa chauffât
nous chauffions chaufferions chauffâmes chauffassions
vous chauffiez chaufferiez chauffâtes chauffassiez
ils chauffent chaufferaient chauffèrent chauffassent

For short and direct exclamations, use chauffer in the imperative form. To do so, there's no need to include the subject pronoun. Rather than saying "tu chauffe," you can simply say "chauffe."

(tu) chauffe
(nous) chauffons
(vous) chauffez
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugate "Chauffer" (to Heat) in French." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). How to Conjugate "Chauffer" (to Heat) in French. Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugate "Chauffer" (to Heat) in French." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 20, 2023).