How to Conjugate "Espérer"

Have "Hope" That You'll Learn These French Verb Conjugations

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When you want to say "to hope" in French, use the verb espérer. In order to transform it to a specific tense, such as "hoped" or "hoping," you will need to conjugate it. This one is a bit of a challenge, but a quick lesson will run you through the simplest and most useful verb forms.

Conjugating the French Verb Espérer

French verb conjugations are more complicated than they are in English. Where English uses just a few endings like -ing or -ed, French requires a new infinitive ending for every subject pronoun as well as every tense of the verb. This means that we have more words to commit to memory.

Espérer is a stem-changing verb and it follows the rules of most verbs that end with -e_er. In general, you should look out for the forms in which the acute é changes to the grave è. At the same time, in the future tense, either accented 'E' can be used.

Other than that minor (but important) spelling change, espérer uses the same endings as regular -ER verbs. Simply match the subject pronoun with the appropriate tense in this table to study these forms. For instance, "I hope" is "j'espère" while "we will hope" can be either "nous espérerons" or "nous espèrerons."

Subject Present Future Imperfect
j' espère espérerai
tu espères espéreras
il espère espérera
nous espérons espérerons
vous espérez espérerez
ils espèrent espéreront

The Present Participle of Espérer

To form the present participle of espérer, add -ant to the verb stem. This creates the word espérant, which can be useful beyond a verb. In some circumstances, it becomes an adjective, gerund, or noun.

The Past Participle and Passé Composé

Besides the imperfect, you can also use the passé composé to express the past tense "hoped" in French. When doing so, conjugate the auxiliary verb avoir, then add the past participle espéré. As an example, "I hoped" is "j'ai espéré" while "we hoped" is "nous avons espéré."

More Simple Espérer Conjugations

While those are the most important conjugations of espérer to memorize, you may find a few more helpful as well. For instance, when the verb's action is questionable, either the subjunctive verb mood or the conditional form may be appropriate.

If you read a lot of French, it's likely that you will encounter either the passé simple or the imperfect subjunctive. These are common in literature and it's a good idea to be able to recognize them.

Subject Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive
j' espère espérerais
espérai espérasse
tu espères espérerais
espéras espérasses
il espère espérerait
espéra espérât
nous espérions espérerions
espérâmes espérassions
vous espériez espéreriez
espérâtes espérassiez
ils espèrent espéreraient
espérèrent espérassent

The imperative verb form is used to form quick and often assertive statements or exclamations. When using this one, skip the subject pronoun. Rather than saying "tu espère," use "espère" alone.

(tu) espère
(nous) espérons
(vous) espérez