How to Conjugate "Cueillir" (to Gather, Pick Up)

You'll "Pick Up" These French Verb Conjugations Before You Know It

Close up of hand picking tomato from basket.
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There are many useful verbs in the French language. Among those is cueillir, which means "to gather" or "to pick."

It's an irregular verb and you will have to commit the verb conjugations to memory rather than rely on a pattern. A quick lesson will show you how to conjugate cueillir and use its present and past participle.

Conjugating the French Verb  Cueillir

Verb conjugations allow us to change the verb to match the tense or mood of a sentence.

In English, we use -ed and -ing endings to do this, though it's more complicated in French. That is because we need to change the verb for every tense and mood as well as each subject pronoun within those.

Cueillir is an irregular verb and it does not follow one of the common verb conjugation patterns. This makes learning it more of a challenge. However, you can apply what you learn here to similar verbs such as accueillir (to welcome) and recueillir (to collect). Consider practicing this small group together to make learning each a little easier.

For the simplest conjugates of cueillir, begin by identifying the verb stem of cueill-. Then, match the subject pronoun to the present, future, or imperfect past tense to learn the correct verb ending. For instance, "I gather" is "je cueille" and "we will gather" is "nous cueillerons."

SubjectPresentFutureImperfect
jecueillecueilleraicueillais
tucueillescueillerascueillais
ilcueillecueilleracueillait
nouscueillonscueilleronscueillions
vouscueillezcueillerezcueilliez
ilscueillentcueillerontcueillaient

The Present Participle of Cueillir

The present participle of cueillir is formed by adding -ant to the verb stem. This gives us cueillant. It's a verb, of course, though it's also used as an adjective, gerund, or noun in some circumstances.

The Past Participle and Passé Composé

The past participle of cueillir is cueilli.

This is used to form the common past tense known as the passé composé. To use it, begin with the subject pronoun, then conjugate the auxiliary verb avoir before attaching the past participle. 

For instance, "I gathered" is "j'ai cueilli" and "we picked up" is "nous avons cueilli."

More Simple Cueillir Conjugations

There are more conjugations of cueillir that you should know, but here we're focused on the most basic. At first, concentrate on the simple forms above, then you can add the following verb forms to your vocabulary.

You will find the subjunctive and conditional verb moods useful when the action of gathering is somehow questionable. These two are quite useful in conversation. In contrast, the passé simple and imperfect subjunctive are primarily literary forms. While you may not use them yourself, being able to at least recognize them is a good idea.

SubjectSubjunctiveConditionalPassé SimpleImperfect Subjunctive
jecueillecueilleraiscueilliscueillisse
tucueillescueilleraiscueilliscueillisses
ilcueillecueilleraitcueillitcueillît
nouscueillionscueillerionscueillîmescueillissions
vouscueilliezcueilleriezcueillîtescueillissiez
ilscueillentcueilleraientcueillirentcueillissent

The imperative verb form is used for direct and often assertive commands and requests.

When using it, skip the subject pronoun: use "cueille" rather than "tu cueille."

 Imperative
(tu)cueille
(nous)cueillons
(vous)cueillez