Languages › French How to Conjugate 'Commencer' (to Begin, Start, Commence) Simple conjugations for the French verb commencer Share Flipboard Email Print French Grammar Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Resources For Teachers By ThoughtCo Updated February 14, 2020 The French verb commencer means "to begin," "to start" or "to commence." If you add à after it, it means "to start doing." For example: Je commence les leçons d'anglais lundi.I start English lessons on Monday. Je commence à apprendre l'anglais lundi.I start learning English on Monday. How to Conjugate the French Verb Commencer Like all verbs that end in -cer, Commencer is a spelling change verb. The stem is either commenc- or commenç-, but the endings follow the conjugation pattern of regular -er verbs. When the ending starts with an a or o, you must use the ç. This happens in the present, imperfect, passé simple, imperfect subjunctive and imperative tenses. See the charts below for guidance on conjugating commencer. Present Future Imperfect Present participle je commence commencerai commençais commençant tu commences commenceras commençais n/a il commence commencera commençait n/a nous commençons commencerons commencions n/a vous commencez commencerez commenciez n/a ils commencent commenceront commençaient n/a Subjunctive Conditional Passé simple Imperfect subjunctive je commence commencerais commençai commençasse tu commences commencerais commenças commençasses il commence commencerait commença commençât nous commencions commencerions commençâmes commençassions vous commenciez commenceriez commençâtes commençassiez ils commencent commenceraient commencèrent commençassent Imperative (tu) commence (nous) commençons (vous) commencez How to Use Commencer in the Past Tense To use commencer in the past tense, you will most likely use the passé composé. This compound tense requires an auxiliary verb, which for commencer is avoir, in addition to the past participle (commencé). For example: Elles ont commencé le lycée la semaine dernière.They started high school last week. Nous avons commencé à lire le livre hier soir.We started reading the book last night. Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugate 'Commencer' (to Begin, Start, Commence)." ThoughtCo, Feb. 14, 2020, thoughtco.com/commencer-to-begin-start-commence-1369966. ThoughtCo. (2020, February 14). How to Conjugate 'Commencer' (to Begin, Start, Commence). Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/commencer-to-begin-start-commence-1369966 ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugate 'Commencer' (to Begin, Start, Commence)." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/commencer-to-begin-start-commence-1369966 (accessed April 13, 2021). copy citation Conjugating the Verb "Skier" How to Conjugate "Influencer" (to Influence) in French Conjugating French Regular -ER Verbs How to Conjugate the French Verb Étudier (to Study) Learn How "Déménager" Can Help You "Move House" in French How to Conjugate the French Verb "Nager" (to Swim) How to Conjugate "Ranger" (to Arrange) Learn How to Conjugate "Placer" (to Place) in French Simple Conjugations of "Partager" (to Share) How to Conjugate "Annoncer" (to Announce) How to Conjugate "Déranger" (to Disturb) How to Conjugate "Protéger" (to Protect) in French Conjugating the French Verb "Manger" "to Eat" -CER Verbs - French Spelling Change Verbs How to Conjugate "Espérer" How to Conjugate the French Stem-Changing Verb 'Épeler'