How to Conjugate the French Irregular Verb 'Écrire' ('to Write')

'Écrire' is extremely irregular so memorize it to use it correctly

woman writing in notebook
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Écrire is one of the most irregular -re verbs. In the table below are the simple conjugations of this irregular -re verb; they do not include the compound tenses, which consist of a form of the auxiliary verb and the past participle.

There are irregular -re verbs that fall into patterns, which makes them a little easier to conjugate. They are centered around the verbs prendre, battre, mettre and rompre, and around verbs that end in -aindre, -eindre and -oindre.

But écrire does not fall into these groups. It is lumped together with the remaining -re verbs, verbs with such unusual and unwieldy conjugations that each is wildly different. This means you must memorize each one separately, which is what you'll need to do with écrire. Try memorizing one of these a day until you mastered them: absoudre, boire, clore, conclure, conduire, confire, connaître, coudre, croire, dire, écrire, faire, inscrire, lire, moudre, naître, plaire, rire, suivre and vivre.

Conjugate Verbs Ending in '-crire' Like 'Écrire'

There is one good thing about all this. Écrire has derivative verbs ending in -crire, and they are all conjugated like écrire. In short, all French verbs ending in -crire are conjugated like écrire. Here are a few:

  • circonscrire > to contain, to confine
  • décrire > to describe
  • inscrire > to write down, inscribe
  • prescrire > to prescribe
  • proscrire > to ban, prohibit

'Écrire': Uses

Écrire has a few related meanings. It means "to write," as in "Write a sentence"; "to spell" as in "This word is written/spelled with an s"; "to note or record in writing," as in "Write down your thoughts"; and "to compose" as in "Write a story or letter." 

'Écrire': Expressions

Écrire un poulet > Write a gallant message

Écrire comme un chat > Write in small, illegible letters

Écrire sous la dictée de quelqu'un > Write down what someone has dictated

Écrire en caractères d'imprimerie > Write in block letters

Écrire sous couvert de quelqu'un > Write in collaboration with someone, ghostwrite

Simple Conjugations of the French Irregular '-re' Verb 'Écrire'

 Present Future Imperfect Present participle
ilécritécriraécrivaitPassé composé
nousécrivonsécrironsécrivions   Auxiliary verb avoir
vousécrivezécrirezécriviez   Past participleécrit
 Subjunctive Conditional Passé simple Imperfect subjunctive
(nous) écrivons 
French verb conjugator > écrire > verbs conjugated like écrire
All French verbs that end in -crire are conjugated the same way:
circonscrire   to contain, to confine
décrire   to describe
écrire   to writeinscrire   to write down, inscribe
prescrire   to prescribe
proscrire   to ban, prohibit
récrire   to rewrite
souscrire   to subscribe
transcrire   to transcribe