How to Conjugate "Enlever" (to Remove, Take Off)

Don't "Remove" This Verb From Your French Conjugation List

When you want to say "to remove" or "to take off" in French, use the verb enlever. This is a different meaning than prendre (to take) or amener (to take or bring), so it's important to keep the three straight. 

To place enlever into the past tense "removed" or to the present tense "removing," a verb conjugation is required. There are a few challenges found in this conjugation, but a quick lesson will clear things up.

Conjugating the French Verb Enlever

Enlever is a stem-changing verb. As you can see from the table, the second 'E' often changes to an è. This is a common transformation found in verbs ending in -e_er.

To conjugate enlever to the present, future, or imperfect past tense, pair the subject pronoun with the appropriate tense. For instance, "I remove" is "j'enlève" and "we will remove" is "nous enlèverons." Practicing these in context will make memorization a little easier.


The Present Participle of Enlever

The present participle of enlever is enlevant. This is done by adding -ant to the verb stem and you'll notice the 'E' does not change here. This is a verb, of course, though it can also act as an adjective, gerund, or noun in some contexts.

The Past Participle and Passé Composé

The passé composé is a common way to express the past tense "removed" in French. It requires the past participle enlevé and a conjugation of the auxiliary verb avoir.

For instance, "I removed" is "j'ai enlevé" and "we removed" is "nous avons enlevé." Notice how ai and avons are conjugates of avoir and that the past participle does not change.

More Simple Enlever Conjugations

There may also be times when you will need the following verb forms, though they're not as important as the others. 

Quite simply, the subjunctive and conditional verb forms are used when the verb's action is not guaranteed. Used with less frequency, you'll likely only find the passé simple and imperfect subjunctive in formal writing.

SubjectSubjunctiveConditionalPassé SimpleImperfect Subjunctive

A very informal use of enlever is the imperative form. It's used in direct commands and requests and the subject pronoun is not required. Instead of "tu enlève," use "enlève" alone.