How to Conjugate "Désobéir" (to Disobey) in French

The verb désobéir means "to disobey" in French. To transform it into the past tense "disobeyed" or the present tense "disobeying," the verb needs to be conjugated. This is a relatively simple French lesson that will show you how to do that.

Conjugating the French Verb Désobéir

French students are often frustrated by verb conjugations because there are so many verb forms to remember. The nice thing about a verb like désobéir is that it's a regular -IR verb. This means that it follows a common conjugation pattern. If you learn this one, verbs like convertir (to convert) and chérir (to cherish) will be a little easier because the same rules apply.

French verb conjugations take into account both the subject pronoun and the present, future, or past tense. As you study the chart, notice how the endings attached to the verb stem désobé- change. For instance, "I disobey" is "je désobéis" and "we will disobey" is "nous désobéirons."

Subject Present Future Imperfect
je désobéis désobéirai désobéissais
tu désobéis désobéiras désobéissais
il désobéit désobéira désobéissait
nous désobéissons désobéirons désobéissions
vous désobéissez désobéirez désobéissiez
ils désobéissent désobéiront désobéissaient

The Present Participle of Désobéir

The present participle of désobéir is désobéissant. This is as simple as adding -ant to the verb stem. Not only is this a verb, but it also acts as an adjective, gerund, or noun in some circumstances.

Another Common Past Tense Form 

A common form of the past tense "disobeyed" in French is the passé composé. To form this, begin by conjugating the auxiliary, or "helping" verb avoir, then add the past participle désobéi.

As an example, "I disobeyed" is "j'ai désobéi" and "we disobeyed" is "nous avons désobéi."

More Simple Désobéir Conjugations

The following verb forms of désobéir are less common, though you may run into them as you speak and read more French. While you may never use them yourself, it's a good idea to be able to recognize them as a form of "to disobey."

The subjunctive and conditional imply some level of uncertainty or dependency to the verb's action. The passé simple and imperfect subjunctive are primarily found in French writing.

Subject Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive
je désobéisse désobéirais désobéis désobéisse
tu désobéisses désobéirais désobéis désobéisses
il désobéisse désobéirais désobéit désobéît
nous désobéissions désobéirions désobéîmes désobéissions
vous désobéissiez désobéiriez désobéîtes désobéissiez
ils désobéissent désobéiraient désobéirent désobéissent

The imperative verb form is often used for short and direct commands and requests. This is a simplified conjugation as you can skip the subject pronoun. Rather than saying "tu désobéis," you can use "désobéis" alone.

Imperative
(tu) désobéis
(nous) désobéissons
(vous) désobéissez