How to Conjugate "Élever" (to Raise, to Bring Up, to Rear)

Watch the Accented E's in This French Verb Conjugation

When you want to say "to raise," "to bring up," or "to rear" in French, use the verb élever. It's very similar to "elevate" and that may help you remember this word.

When you want to say "raised" or "bringing up," for instance, the verb will need to be conjugated. There are a few tricks to this one that you need to know about and a quick lesson will explain it all.

Conjugating the French Verb Élever

Élever is a stem-changing verb and it can be a little confusing at times. That is because in certain tenses and with particular subject pronouns the verb stem changes from élev- to élèv-. This may catch you by surprise at times, particularly when spelling it.

The table demonstrates where the stem change happens. As with all French verbs, we must conjugate it for both the subject pronoun as well as the present, future, and imperfect past tense. For instance, "I raise" is "j'élève" while "we will raise" is "nous élèverons."

Subject Present Future Imperfect
j' élève élèverai élevais
tu élèves élèveras élevais
il élève élèvera élevait
nous élevons élèverons élevions
vous élevez élèverez éleviez
ils élèvent élèveront élevaient

The Present Participle of Élever

The stem does not change when forming the present participle of élever. That makes it easy because all you need to do is add -ant and élevant is formed.

The Passé Composé and Past Participle

Beyond the imperfect, the past tense "raised" can be expressed in French using the passé composé. It's quite easy. Simply conjugate avoir (the auxiliary verb) according to the subject pronoun, then attach the past participle élevé.

For example, "I raised" becomes "j'ai élevé" while "we brought up" is "nous avons élevé."

More Simple Élever Conjugations

When you're just beginning to learn French, concentrate your studies on the conjugations above as they are the most common and useful. When you're ready, add these simple verb forms to your list.

The subjunctive and conditional imply a question to the verb's action, though each does so in a slightly different manner, or "mood." They are used more frequently than the passé simple and imperfect subjunctive. These two are found most often in writing, so being able to read them is most important.

Subject Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive
j' élève élèverais élevai élevasse
tu élèves élèverais élevas élevasses
il élève élèverait éleva élevât
nous élevions élèverions élevâmes élevassions
vous éleviez élèveriez élevâtes élevassiez
ils élèvent élèveraient élevèrent élevassent

The imperative verb form is used in short exclamations. To keep the sentence at a fast pace, there's no need to include the subject pronoun: use "élève" rather than "tu élève."

(tu) élève
(nous) élevons
(vous) élevez