How to Conjugate the French Verb 'Craindre' ('to Fear')

It's conjugated like all verbs ending in '-aindre,' '-eindre,' and '-oindre'

'Ne crains rien.' ('Don't be afraid.')
'Ne crains rien.' ('Don't be afraid.'). tookapic/pixabay

Craindre ("to fear") is an irregular -re verb that's conjugated like all other French verbs ending in -aindre, -eindre, and -oindreThis is evident in the conjugation table below that shows the simple conjugations of craindre; compound conjugations that consist of the conjugated auxiliary verb avoir and the past participle craint are not included in the table.

'Craindre': Conjugated Like all verbs ending in '-aindre'

Irregular -re verbs fall into a few patterns that make memorizing their conjugations a little easier: verbs conjugated like prendre, verbs conjugated like battre, verbs including mettre and all its derivatives, those including rompre and its derivatives, and a fifth group including all verbs that end in -aindre like craindre, -eindre like peindre, and -oindre like joindre.

A final group of very irregular verbs, such as dire, écrire, faire, have such unusual and unwieldy conjugations that they follow no pattern and need to be memorized in order to use them.

The fifth group of verbs ending in -aindre like craindre drops the d in the stem in both singular and plural forms and adds a g in front of the n in plural forms. Other verbs like craindre include: 

  • contraindre > to force, to compel 
  • plaindre > to pity, to feel sorry for

Usage and Expressions 

Craindre is a transitive verb that's used in numerous idiomatic expressions. It can be translated as "to fear," "to be frightened of," or "to be afraid of." The causative se faire craindre means "to intimidate."

  • craindre Dieu > to go in fear of / to fear God
  • craindre le pire (familiar) > to fear the worst
  • Ne crains rien. >  Have no fear. / Never fear. / Don't be afraid.
  • Il n'y a rien à craindre. > There's no cause for alarm. / There's nothing to fear.

Simple Conjugations of the Irregular French '-re' Verb 'Craindre'

 Present Future Imperfect Present participle
ilcraintcraindracraignaitPassé composé
nouscraignonscraindronscraignions   Auxiliary verb avoir
vouscraignezcraindrezcraigniez   Past participlecraint
 Subjunctive Conditional Passé simple Imperfect subjunctive
(nous) craignons