How to Conjugate "Détendre" (to Release, Slacken, Loosen)

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In French, the verb détendre means "to release," "to slacken," or "to loosen." At times, it is also used to mean "to relax," though "relax," meaning "laid back" is an invariable adjective in French as well. Nonetheless, when it comes to changing the verb détendre to the past, present, or future tense, a conjugation is required.


Just like in English, French verbs must be conjugated to fit the tense of a sentence. However, it's a little more complex because in French we must also take into account the subject pronoun. That means you have more forms of détendre to learn.

Détendre is a regular -RE verb and it shares its endings with similar verbs such as descendre (to go down). This makes learning each new word just a little easier than the last.

To conjugate détendre in the simplest forms, simply pair the subject pronoun with the appropriate tense. For instance, "I am releasing" is "je détends" and "we will release" is "nous détendrons." Practicing these in context will help in memorizing them.

Subject Present Future Imperfect
je détends détendrai détendais
tu détends détendras détendais
il détend détendra détendait
nous détendons détendrons détendions
vous détendez détendrez détendiez
ils détendent détendront détendaient

Present Participle

When the ending -ant is added to the verb stem détend-, the present participle détendant is formed. This can be used as an adjective, gerund, or noun as well as a verb.

Past Participle and Passé Composé

The passé composé is another common form of the past tense "released" in French. It is formed by conjugating the auxiliary, or "helping," verb avoir, then attaching the past participle détendu

For example, "I released" is "j'ai détendu" and "we released" is "nous avons détendu." Notice how the past participle does not change and that ai and avons are conjugates of avoir.

Simple Conjugations

When the action of releasing is in some way subjective or uncertain, the subjunctive verb mood is used. In a similar fashion, when the release will only happen if something else occurs, we then employ the conditional verb mood.

Those two are rather useful, though the passé simple and imperfect subjunctive are used with less frequency. It's likely you will only encounter these in writing, though familiarizing yourself with them is not a bad idea.

Subject Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive
je détende détendrais détendis détendisse
tu détendes détendrais détendis détendisses
il détende détendrait détendit détendît
nous détendions détendrions détendîmes détendissions
vous détendiez détendriez détendîtes détendissiez
ils détendent détendraient détendirent détendissent

It's also possible that you will use détendre in the imperative form at times. When doing so, the short statements do not require the subject pronoun, so "tu détends" becomes "détends."

(tu) détends
(nous) détendons
(vous) détendez
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Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugate "Détendre" (to Release, Slacken, Loosen)." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). How to Conjugate "Détendre" (to Release, Slacken, Loosen). Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugate "Détendre" (to Release, Slacken, Loosen)." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 10, 2023).