"Dinner" is "Dîner": Easy to Remember and Simple to Conjugate

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Among the French verbs related to food, you will use dîner often because it means "to have dinner." It's an easy word to remember, though you do need to watch the spelling because the letter 'I' uses an accented î. Beyond that, you will also want to conjugate it in order to say "had dinner" or "am having dinner."

Conjugating the French Verb Dîner

Dîner is a regular -ER verb, and it follows a very common verb conjugation pattern. You will find these same endings in related words like déjeuner (to have lunch)cuisiner (to cook), and countless other verbs.

In order to conjugate dîner, begin with the verb stem of dîn-. To this, we add a new infinitive ending for each tense as well as each subject pronoun. For instance, "I am having dinner" is "je dîne," and "we will have dinner" is "nous dînerons."

It's true that there are many words to memorize here, and practicing these in context will help tremendously. Luckily, you can use it every evening when you eat dinner.

Subject Present Future Imperfect
je dîne dînerai dînais
tu dînes dîneras dînais
il dîne dînera dînait
nous dînons dînerons dînions
vous dînez dînerez dîniez
ils dînent dîneront dînaient

Present Participle

When we want to use the present participle, the ending -ant is added to the verb stem. This leaves us with dînant, which can be an adjective, gerund, or noun as well as a verb.

Past Participle and Passé Composé

The imperfect and the passé composé each express the past tense "had dinner" in French. To form the latter, you will begin by conjugating the auxiliary verb avoir to match the subject pronoun. After that, attach the past participle dîné. For example, "I had dinner" is "j'ai dîné" and "we had dinner" is "nous avons dîné."

Simpler Conjugations to Learn

When "having dinner" is not guaranteed, the subjunctive verb mood can be used. And when that dinner relies on something else happening, use the conditional form.

When reading French, you will likely encounter the passé simple or the imperfect subjunctive. While not essential to your studies, being able to recognize these is a good idea.

Subject Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive
je dîne dînerais dînai dînasse
tu dînes dînerais dînas dînasses
il dîne dînerait dîna dînât
nous dînions dînerions dînâmes dînassions
vous dîniez dîneriez dînâtes dînassiez
ils dînent dîneraient dînèrent dînassent

The imperative verb form of dîner is relatively simple. The point of these statements is to make it quick, so we drop the subject pronoun. Rather than saying "tu dîne," simplify it to "dîne."

Imperative
(tu) dîne
(nous) dînons
(vous) dînez