How to Conjugate "Descendre" (to Go Down, Descend)

"Descend" Into a Quick French Verb Conjugation Lesson

The French verb descendre means "to go down" or "to descend." Its resemblance to the English makes it an easy word to remember, now you just need to know how to conjugate it. A quick lesson will show you how to transform this verb into the simplest and most common conjugations.

Conjugating the French Verb Descendre

Descendre is a regular -RE verb and it follows a relatively common pattern. The same infinitive endings you see here can be applied to words like perdre (to lose) and vendre (to sell).

That makes learning each new word just a little easier than the last.

In the simplest conjugations, you will add a new ending for each subject pronoun according to the present, future, or imperfect past tense. This is as simple as an -s for the je present tense "je descends" to mean "I go down" or -rons to the nous future tense "nous descendrons" to mean "we will go down." 

SubjectPresentFutureImperfect
jedescendsdescendraidescendais
tudescendsdescendrasdescendais
ildescenddescendradescendait
nousdescendonsdescendronsdescendions
vousdescendezdescendrezdescendiez
ilsdescendentdescendrontdescendaient

The Present Participle of Descendre

When you add -ant to the verb stem descend-, the present participle descendant is formed. It is a verb, of course, yet you might also find it useful as an adjective, gerund, or noun at times.

The Past Participle and Passé Composé

Beyond the imperfect, you can also use the passé composé to express the past tense "went down" or "descended." To do so, attach the past participle descendu, to the appropriate conjugate of the auxiliary verb être.

It comes together quite easily: "I descended" is "je suis descendu" and "we went down" is "nous sommes descendu"

More Simple Descendre Conjugations to Know

There are more common conjugations of descendre that you might find useful as well. For example, when the action of descending is subjective or uncertain, employ the subjunctive verb mood.

In similar fashion, if the action depends on something else happening, the conditional verb mood is used.

Primarily found in literature and other formal French writing, it's a good idea to at least familiarize yourself with the passé simple and the imperfect subjunctive forms.

SubjectSubjunctiveConditionalPassé SimpleImperfect Subjunctive
jedescendedescendraisdescendisdescendisse
tudescendesdescendraisdescendisdescendisses
ildescendedescendraitdescenditdescendît
nousdescendionsdescendrionsdescendîmesdescendissions
vousdescendiezdescendriezdescendîtesdescendissiez
ilsdescendentdescendraientdescendirentdescendissent

Descendre can also be used in the imperative form for commands and requests. When using this, keep the sentence short and drop the subject pronoun: use "descends" rather than "tu descends."

 Imperative
(tu)descends
(nous)descendons
(vous)descendez