Simple "Donner" (to Give) French Verb Conjugations

This French Verb Conjugation Has a Lot "To Give"

Girlfriends exchanging presents
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In its most basic form, the French verb donner means "to give." Yet, it can take on a number of different meanings because it is often used in idiomatic French expressions. In order to use donner to mean "gave" or "giving," the verb must be conjugated and a quick lesson will demonstrate how to do that.

Conjugating the French Verb Donner

Donner is a regular -ER verb. Learning how to conjugate it into any of the simplest forms is relatively straightforward. This is one of the most common verb conjugation patterns in French and it's one you will use all the time.

In order to conjugate donner into the present, future, or imperfect past tense, we must first identify the verb stem, which is donn-. To this, infinitive endings are added so the verb matches the subject pronoun as well as the tense of the sentence. For instance, "I give" is "je donne" and "we will give" is "nous donnerons."

You will find that practicing these forms in context helps greatly in memorizing them.

Subject Present Future Imperfect
je donne donnerai donnais
tu donnes donneras donnais
il donne donnera donnait
nous donnons donnerons donnions
vous donnez donnerez donniez
ils donnent donneront donnaient

The Present Participle of Donner

When we want to use the present participle of donner, -ant is added to the stem. That results in donnant, which can be an adjective, gerund, or noun as well as a verb.

The Past Participle and Passé Composé

The passé composé is a common form of the past tense "gave" in French. To construct this simple phrase, begin by conjugating the auxiliary verb avoir, then attach the past participle donné. For instance, "I gave" is "j'ai donné" and "we gave" is "nous avons donné."

More Simple Donner Conjugations to Learn

When there is some question in the action of giving, you might want to use the subjunctive verb mood. In a similar fashion, the conditional verb mood is used when the "giving" will only occur if something else does.

You may also find the passé simple in literature or formal writing. This is also true of the imperfect subjunctive and while you may not use either, the ability to recognize them will serve your reading well.

Subject Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive
je donne donnerais donnai donnasse
tu donnes donnerais donnas donnasses
il donne donnerait donna donnât
nous donnions donnerions donnâmes donnassions
vous donniez donneriez donnâtes donnassiez
ils donnent donneraient donnèrent donnassent

In short, direct requests and demands, use the imperative form. When doing so, there's no need to include the subject pronoun: simplify "tu donne" down to "donne."

(tu) donne
(nous) donnons
(vous) donnez