How to Conjugate the Irregular French Verb 'Dire'

'Dire' is one of those common verbs so irregular it just has to be memorized

woman talking on phone
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Dire ("to say, tell") is one of the 10 most common verbs of the thousands used in the French language. Below are the simple conjugations of the verb; they do not include the compound tenses, which consist of a form of the auxiliary verb with the past participle.

Dire, like the other most common French verbs, have irregular conjugations, so irregular that you just have to memorize the full conjugation because it doesn't fall into a predictable pattern.

This is where the conjugation tables below will come in handy. Study them and set them to memory because, if you plan on speaking French, there is every chance you will be using the verb dire. And to use it, you must conjugate it, which means you must know how to conjugate it correctly.

Dire As an Irregular '-re' Verb

Dire is an irregular -re verb. There are regular -er verbs and there are irregular -er verbs, and the irregular group can be organized into essentially five patterns around the verbs prendre, battre, mettre, rompre and those that end in -craindre.

But dire does not fit into these patterns at all. It belongs to the remaining irregular -re verbs, which have such unusual or unwieldy conjugations that you have to memorize each one separately. These are very common and important verbs, so you really do have to learn them in order to communicate effectively in French. Try working on one verb a day until you've mastered them all.

They include: absoudre, boire, clore, conclure, conduire, confire, connaître, coudre, croire, dire, écrire, faire, inscrire, lire, moudre, naître, plaire, rire, suivre and vivre.

Verbs Ending in '-dire' Are Conjugated Like 'Dire'

Dire is the root of a family of French irregular verbs ending in -dire.

All French verbs that end in -dire are conjugated like dire. There two exceptions: In the vous form of the indicative and imperative, dire and redire end in -ites, while the other verbs end in -isez.

Some verbs ending in -dire.
redire > to repeat, say again
contredire > to contradict
se dédire > to go back on one's word
interdire > to forbid
médire > to malign
prédire > to predict

Meanings and Uses of 'Dire'

In practice, dire generally means "to say" or "to tell"

Dire que means "to say that."

Dire de can either mean "to think, have an opinion on" or "to feel like."

In the pronominal, dire can be either reflexive ("to say to oneself") or reciprocal ("to say to each other")

Expressions With 'Dire'

Because dire is such a useful verb, there are several colorful, opinionated idiomatic expressions that use dire, such as:

  • Ça ne me dit rien. > I don't feel like it at all. / That doesn't do anything for me.
  • Ça te dit de sortir ? > Do you feel like going out? 
  • dire à quelqu'un ses quatre vérités > to give someone a piece of one's mind
  • dire à quelqu'un son fait, dire son fait à quelqu'un> to tell someone off
  • dire ce qu'on a sur le cœur > to get something off one's chest
  • dire des sottises / bêtises > to talk nonsense
  • dire toujours amen > to be a yes-man
  • à ce qu'il dit > according to him
  • À qui le dis-tu ? > You're telling me!
  • à vrai dire> to tell you the truth
  • aussitôt dit, aussitôt fait > no sooner said than done
  • autrement dit > in other words
  • Ça ne me dit pas grand-chose. > I don't think much of that.

Simple Conjugations of the Irregular French Verb 'Dire'

 Present Future Imperfect Present participle
ilditdiradisaitPassé composé
nousdisonsdironsdisions   Auxiliary verb avoir
vousditesdirezdisiez   Past participle dit
 Subjunctive Conditional Passé simple Imperfect subjunctive
(nous) disons