You'll Need to Conjugate "Décrire" to Say "Described" in French

French Verb Conjugations for Saying "Described" or "Describing"

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Conjugating "to describe" in French is easy. Yuri_Arcurs / Getty Images

In French, to say "to describe," you must use the verb décrire. Admittedly, conjugating this verb to mean "described" or "will describe" is not the easiest thing to do. However, a quick lesson and some dedicated practice will help you memorize this tricky verb.

Conjugating the French Verb Décrire

Décrire is an irregular verb, so it does not follow one of the common verb conjugation patterns found in French.

Yet, all French verbs ending in -crire are conjugated this way. You might consider studying a few at the same time to make learning each just a little easier.

Conjugations transform the verb into the present, future, or past tense so the sentence makes sense. This is done by identifying the verb stem -- in this case, ​décri- -- then adding the appropriate infinitive ending for the subject pronoun. For instance, "I describe" is "je décris" and "we will describe" is "nous décrirons."

SubjectPresentFutureImperfect
jedécrisdécriraidécrivais
tudécrisdécrirasdécrivais
ildécrisdécriradécrivait
nousdécrivonsdécrironsdécrivions
vousdécrivezdécrirezdécriviez
ilsdécriventdécrirontdécrivaient

The Present Participle of Décrire

When you add -ant to the verb stem of décrire, you form the present participle décrivant. It is a verb, of course, yet you'll also find it used as an adjective, gerund, or noun at times.

The Past Participle and Passé Composé

The past participle of décrire is décrit. It's used in the construction of the passé composé for the past tense of "described." To use it, you must also conjugate the auxiliary verb avoir.

The passé composé comes together quickly once you know these rules. As an example, "I described" is "j'ai décrit" and "we described" is "nous avons décrit."

More Simple Décrire Conjugations

Among the other simple verb conjugations of décrire that you should know are the subjunctive and conditional. Each implies some degree of uncertainty or dependency in the act of deciding.

In literature, you'll come across either the passé simple or imperfect subjunctive forms. While you may not use them yourself, recognizing them as a form of décrire will help with comprehension.

SubjectSubjunctiveConditionalPassé SimpleImperfect Subjunctive
jedécrivedécriraisdécrivisdécrivisse
tudécrivesdécriraisdécrivisdécrivisses
ildécrivedécriraitdécrivitdécrivît
nousdécrivionsdécririonsdécrivîmesdécrivissions
vousdécriviezdécririezdécrivîtesdécrivissiez
ilsdécriventdécriraientdécrivirentdécrivissent

In short, assertive commands and requests, the imperative verb form is used. When using this, keep the sentence short and skip the subject pronoun: "décris" rather than "tu décris."

 Imperative
(tu)décris
(nous)décrivons
(vous)décrivez
Format
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Your Citation
Lawless, Laura K. "You'll Need to Conjugate "Décrire" to Say "Described" in French." ThoughtCo, Nov. 2, 2017, thoughtco.com/decrire-to-describe-1370077. Lawless, Laura K. (2017, November 2). You'll Need to Conjugate "Décrire" to Say "Described" in French. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/decrire-to-describe-1370077 Lawless, Laura K. "You'll Need to Conjugate "Décrire" to Say "Described" in French." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/decrire-to-describe-1370077 (accessed January 17, 2018).