How to Conjugate the Stem-Changing French Verb 'Envoyer' ('to Send')

The stem changes of 'envoyer' are not limited to the present tense

Sending mail through post office

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Envoyer ("to send, send off, dispatch, remit, throw") is a stem-changing verb with an irregular future stem. This is illustrated in the table below of simple conjugations. Note that the table does not include compound conjugations, which include a form of the auxiliary verb avoir and the past participle envoyé.

French Stem-Changing Verbs

French stem-changing verbs are all conjugated with the same endings as regular -er verbs, but stem-changing verbs have different stems.

Stem-changing verbs are sometimes also called boot verbs or shoe verbs because if you circle the forms that have stem changes in conjugation tables, the resulting shape looks like a boot or shoe.

Generally speaking, stem-changing verbs can end in -yer, like envoyer; in -eler and -eter; and in -é_er, where the blank space indicates one or more consonants.  

There are two types of stem-changing verbs that end in -yer:

  1. Verbs that end in -ayer (see below) have an optional stem change
    In the present tense-ayer verbs have an optional stem change: y changes to i in all forms but nous and vous. These optional changes are not limited to the present tense.
  2. Verbs that end in -oyer and -uyer have the same stem change, but for them it is required.
    In the present tense, French verbs that end in -oyer and -uyer must change y to i in all forms but nous and vous, like this:

                je  nettoie       nous  nettoyons
                tu  nettoies     vous  nettoyez
                il  nettoie         ils  nettoient
 The stem changes for verbs ending in -oyer are not limited to the present
          tense, as with nettoyer in all tenses.

Stem-Changing Verbs Similar to 'Envoyer' 

  • broyer > to grind
  • employer > to employ
  • se noyer > to drown
  • renvoyer to fire
  • nettoyer > to clean
  • tutoyer > to address someone in the familiar, singular tu (tu versus vous)
  • vouvoyer > to address someone in the polite, plural vous 

'Envoyer': Uses and Expressions

  • Anne t'envoie ses amitiés. > Anne sends you her regards.
  • envoyer un (petit) mot à quelqu'un > to drop someone a line
  • envoyer des fleurs à quelqu'un > send flowers to someone / give someone a pat on the back
  • envoyer une voiture dans le décor (familiar) > to send a car skidding off the road
  • envoyer des baisers à quelqu'un > to blow someone kisses
  • Il le lui a envoyé dans les dents (familier) ou gencives. > He really let him have it. 
  • s'envoyer des lettres (pronominal) > to send letters to, to write one another
  • Je m'enverrais des gifles ou (familier) baffes ! (pronominal) > I could kick myself! 

Simple Conjugations of the Stem-Changing Verb 'Envoyer'

 PresentFutureImperfectPresent participle


Passé composé 
Auxiliary verbavoir
Past participleenvoyé


 SubjunctiveConditionalPassé simpleImperfect subjunctive