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'

Present Future Imperfect Present participle
j' envoie enverrai envoyais envoyant
tu envoies enverras envoyais
il envoie enverra envoyait
nous envoyons enverrons envoyions
vous envoyez enverrez envoyiez
ils envoient enverront envoyaient
Subjunctive Conditional Passé simple Imperfect subjunctive
j' envoie enverrais envoyai envoyasse
tu envoies enverrais envoyas envoyasses
il envoie enverrait envoya envoyât
nous envoyions enverrions envoyâmes envoyassions
vous envoyiez enverriez envoyâtes envoyassiez
ils envoient enverraient envoyèrent envoyassent
Imperative
tu envoie
nous envoyons
vous envoyez