How to Conjugate "Emprunter" (to Borrow)

A French Verb Conjugation to Say "Borrowed" or "Borrowing"

When you want to say "to borrow" in French, turn to the verb emprunter. A verb conjugation is required to imply when the "borrowing" happens, whether that is in the past, present, or future tense. The good news is that emprunter is a relatively straightforward conjugation and a quick lesson will demonstrate how it's done.

Conjugating the French Verb Emprunter

Many French verbs follow common verb conjugation patterns.

This allows you to apply what you may have learned with depenser (to spend) or débarrasser (to get rid of) to a verb like emprunter. Each of these is a regular -ER verb, the most common conjugation you'll find in French.

Changing emprunter to the present, future, or imperfect past tense is quite simple. First, recognize the verb stem emprunt-, then add the appropriate ending for the subject pronoun and tense. For instance, "I borrow" is "j'emprunte" in French, while "we will borrow" is "nous emprunterons."


The Present Participle of Emprunter

Adding -ant to the verb stem of emprunter gives you the present participle empruntant. It is a verb, of course, though you'll also find it useful as an adjective, gerund, or noun at times.

The Past Participle and Passé Composé

Another form of the past tense beyond the imperfect is the passé composé and it requires a quick phrase construction. It begins with the subject pronoun, then a conjugate of avoir, the most common auxiliary, or "helping," verb. To this, the past participle emprunté is added.

It all comes together quickly: "I borrowed" becomes "j'ai emprunté" and "we borrowed" transforms into "nous avons emprunté."

More Simple Emprunter Conjugations

Among these simple conjugations of emprunter, French students should memorize and practice those above first. Then, you can dive into some special uses of the verb.

For instance, with a little study, you'll know these passé simple and imperfect subjunctive forms of embrasser when you read them. In more frequent use, the subjunctive verb mood implies uncertainty to the verb and the conditional form says that the action will only happen if something else does.

SubjectSubjunctiveConditionalPassé SimpleImperfect Subjunctive

The imperative verb form is just as useful and even easier to remember. The key here is that you can drop the subject pronoun: use "emprunte" rather than "tu emprunte."