How to Conjugate the French Verb "Détester"

The French verb détester means "to hate." Unlike some other verbs, this one is fairly easy to remember because of its similarity to the English word "detest." As with the English verb, you would use détester to express an extreme dislike for something, such as food or a particular household chore you're not fond of. Like the majority of verbs in French, détester is a regular verb.

Conjugating "Détester"

Verb conjugations can become a headache for French students because there are so many verb forms to remember. Not only does the infinitive ending change with each tense and mood, it also changes with each subject pronoun. For  example, "I hate" is "je déteste" and "we will hate" is " nous détesterons."

It's easier to memorize all these forms if you practice them in context and simple sentences.

Subject Present Future Imperfect
je déteste détesterai détestais
tu détestes détesteras détestais
il déteste détestera détestait
nous détestons détesterons détestions
vous détestez détesterez détestiez
ils détestent détesteront détestaient

Present and Past Participle

The present participle of détestant is formed by adding -ant to the verb stem of détest. While it's primarily used as a verb, you will find it useful as an adjective, gerund, or noun as well. Beyond the imperfect, another form of the past tense "hated" is the passé composé. This one is formed in a different manner and relies on the past participle détesté. To complete it, you must also conjugate the auxiliary verb avoir

As an example, "I hated" is "j'ai détesté" and "we hated" is "nous avons détesté."

More Conjugations

There will be times when you will need to imply some degree of uncertainty to the verb détester as well. For this, use the subjunctive verb mood. In a similar fashion, the conditional form is used when the "hating" is dependent on something else happening.

You should not use the passé simple unless you're reading or writing in French. The same applies to the imperfect subjunctive, though it's a good idea to be able to recognize these as forms of détester.

Subject Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive
je déteste détesterais détestai détestasse
tu détestes détesterais détestas détestasses
il déteste détesterait détesta détestât
nous détestions détesterions détestâmes détestassions
vous détestiez détesteriez détestâtes détestassiez
ils détestent détesteraient détestèrent détestassent

The imperative verb form may be quite useful with détester because it's often used in exclamations. When using it, the subject pronoun is not required: use "déteste" rather than "tu déteste."

Imperative
(tu) déteste
(nous) détestons
(vous) détestez