Languages › French Conjugate the Irregular French Verb Connaître, to Know Connaître's conjugation is so irregular, you just have to memorize it Share Flipboard Email Print klimkin/Pixabay French Grammar Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Resources For Teachers By ThoughtCo Team Updated February 28, 2020 Connaître, meaning "to know" or "to be familiar with," is a very frequently-used French verb. Below are the simple conjugations of the verb; they do not include the compound tenses, which consist of a form of the auxiliary verb with the past participle. 'Connaître' as an Irregular French '-er' Verb Connaître is an -re verb that is highly irregular. There are regular -er verbs and there are irregular -er verbs, and the irregular group can be organized into essentially five patterns around the verbs prendre, battre, mettre, rompre, and those that end with the root word -craindre. But connaître does not fit into any of these patterns. It belongs to the remaining irregular -re verbs, which have such unusual or unwieldy conjugations that you have to memorize each one separately. These are very common and important verbs, so you really do have to learn them in order to communicate effectively in French. Try working on one verb a day until you've mastered them all. They include: absoudre, boire, clore, conclure, conduire, confire, connaître, coudre, croire, dire, écrire, faire, inscrire, lire, moudre, naître, plaire, rire, suivre, and vivre. 'Connaître' as a Model Connaître is so common and useful that its conjugation is the model for other French verbs ending in -aître. Nearly all of these verbs are conjugated like connaître. The big exception is naître. The Difference Between 'Connaître' and 'Savoir' Both of the verbs savoir and connaître mean "to know." But they mean "to know" in very different ways. As a very rough rule of thumb, savoir relates more to things and connaître relates more to people, although there is overlap on both sides. The more you use French, the more you'll get a feel for the difference and won't make the mistake of confusing these two verbs. 'Connaître' Meaning 1. To know a person Je connais Pierrette. I know Pierrette. 2. To be familiar with a person or thing Je connais bien Toulouse. I know / am familiar with Toulouse. Je connais cette nouvelle. Je l'ai lue l'année dernière. I know / am familiar with this short story. I read it last year. 'Savior' Meaning 1. To know how to do something. Savoir is followed by an infinitive (the word "how" is not translated into French). Savez-vous conduire ? Do you know how to drive? Je ne sais pas nager. I don't know how to swim. 2. To know, plus a subordinate clause Je sais qu'il l'a fait. I know he did it. Je sais où il est. I know where he is Use Either 'Connaître' or 'Savoir' For the following meanings, either verb can be used. 1. To know (have) a piece of information Je sais / connais son nom. I know his name. Nous savons / connaissons déjà sa réponse. We already know his response. 2. To know by heart (have memorized) Elle sait / connaît cette chanson par cœur. She knows this song by heart. Sais-tu / Connais-tu ton discours par cœur ? Do you know your speech by heart? Simple Conjugations of the Irregular French Verb 'Connaître' Present Future Imperfect Present participle je connais connaîtrai connaissais connaissant tu connais connaîtras connaissais il connaît connaîtra connaissait Passé composé nous connaissons connaîtrons connaissions Auxiliary verb avoir vous connaissez connaîtrez connaissiez Past participle connu ils connaissent connaîtront connaissaient Subjunctive Conditional Passé simple Imperfect subjunctive je connaisse connaîtrais connus connusse tu connaisses connaîtrais connus connusses il connaisse connaîtrait connut connût nous connaissions connaîtrions connûmes connussions vous connaissiez connaîtriez connûtes connussiez ils connaissent connaîtraient connurent connussent Imperative (tu) connais (nous) connaissons (vous) connaissez Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation Team, ThoughtCo. "Conjugate the Irregular French Verb Connaître, to Know." ThoughtCo, Sep. 2, 2021, thoughtco.com/connaitre-to-know-be-familiar-with-1369993. Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, September 2). Conjugate the Irregular French Verb Connaître, to Know. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/connaitre-to-know-be-familiar-with-1369993 Team, ThoughtCo. "Conjugate the Irregular French Verb Connaître, to Know." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/connaitre-to-know-be-familiar-with-1369993 (accessed September 20, 2021). copy citation How to Conjugate the French Verb 'Savoir' ('to Know') French Verbs to Know: Savoir and Connaître Conjugate the Irregular French Verb Boire (to Drink) How to Conjugate the Irregular French Verb "Croire" How to Conjugate the Irregular French Verb 'Cuire' ('to Cook') Conjugating the Irregular French Verb 'Conduire' ('to Drive') The Irregular French Verb 'Apprendre' ('to Learn') Learn to Conjugate the French Irregular Verb Lire (to Read) Does the French Verb 'Savoir' Need the Subjunctive? 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