Combattre: To Fight or Combat

How to Conjugate This French Verb

Combattre is a French verb meaning to combat, fight, oppose, struggle, contend, or attack. But, the most often used meaning is "to combat." Combattre  is an irregular re verb, and falls within he second group, which includes battre (which literally means "to beat") and all of its derivations, such as débattre. These verbs drop the stem's final "t" in the singular forms.

Conjugating Combattre

The table below provides the conjugation of combattre in all its tenses and moods.

After you scan the conjugations, take the time to review basic rules for French verb conjugations for combattre and all other French verbs.

 Present Future Imperfect Present participle
jecombatscombattraicombattaiscombattant
tucombatscombattrascombattais 
ilcombatcombattracombattaitPassé composé
nouscombattonscombattronscombattions   Auxiliary verb avoir
vouscombattezcombattrezcombattiez   Past participlecombattu
ilscombattentcombattrontcombattaient 
 
 Subjunctive Conditional Passé simple Imperfect subjunctive
jecombattecombattraiscombattiscombattisse
tucombattescombattraiscombattiscombattisses
ilcombattecombattraitcombattitcombattît
nouscombattionscombattrionscombattîmescombattissions
vouscombattiezcombattriezcombattîtescombattissiez
ilscombattentcombattraientcombattirentcombattissent
 
 Imperative
(tu)combats Verb conjugation pattern
Combattre is an irregular verb
Similar verbs: abattre | battre | débattre
(nous) combattons 
(vous)combattez 

Combattre in Literature

As you might imagine, combattre has a long history of use in French literature. Any word that means "combat" is sure to elicit plenty of commentary and use in modern writings in journals, newspapers, and magazines, as well as in classic literature.

A 2008 book by Stéphane Audoin‐Rouzeau is titled: "Combattre: Une anthropologie historique de la guerre moderne (XIXe–XXIe siècle)," which translates into English as: "Combat: A historical anthropology of modern warfare (19th-21st century)." A review on Amazon notes of the book:

"L'expérience du combat a suscité de nombreux témoignages, mais peu de réflexions approfondies dans le champ des sciences humaines et sociales."

Which translates as:

"The experience of combat has given rise to many testimonies, but few in-depth reflections in the field of human and social sciences."

And, no less an exalted historical figure than Napoleon Bonaparte is mentioned in connection with the word, which is hardly surprising since the French leader at one point captured much of Europe and even led his armies deep into Russia. In "French Literature Series: Historical Figures in French Literature," published in 1981, Mario Hamlet-Metz wrote in piece titled, "Napoleon Chez Lamartine: Userpeteur et Poete," ("Napoleon at Lamartine: Usurper and Poet"):

"C'est par l'opinion que nous avons a combattre, pronounce-t-il la premiere fous qu'il parle en public."

Which translates as:

"It is the opinion that we have to fight," he pronounces the first time that he speaks in public."

And fight Napoleon did, putting to full use the meaning of the word, combattre.

Tips and Hints

When you conjugate combattre, remember that it falls into that second group of irregular re verb and thus conjugates like battre. 

So, for battre, the past participle is battu. You might say then:

  • Il a battu les oeufs avec une fourchette. > He beat the eggs with a fork.

You would use combattre in the same way as a past participle, as in:

  • Il a combattu contre ses ennemis avec une fourche. > He fought against his enemies with a pitchfork.

If you simply want to use the third-person singular, for example, for battre you would have:

  • je bats > he beats

And for combattre, you would have:

  • il combats > he fights
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ThoughtCo. "Combattre: To Fight or Combat." ThoughtCo, Mar. 21, 2018, thoughtco.com/combattre-to-fight-combat-1369962. ThoughtCo. (2018, March 21). Combattre: To Fight or Combat. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/combattre-to-fight-combat-1369962 ThoughtCo. "Combattre: To Fight or Combat." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/combattre-to-fight-combat-1369962 (accessed May 23, 2018).