Languages › French French Verb Conjugation Using "Essayer" (to Try) Share Flipboard Email Print Erica Shires / Getty Images French Grammar Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Resources For Teachers by ThoughtCo Updated October 15, 2019 The French verb essayer means "to try." It's a simple word that can easily be confused with essuyer (to wipe), so be sure to look and listen for that 'A' in essayer. In order to place essayer into the past, present, or future tense, the verb needs to be conjugated. Just follow along in this lesson and you'll be saying "tried" and "trying" in French before you know it. Conjugating the French Verb Essayer Essayer is an optional stem-changing verb. Typically with verbs that end in -yer, the 'Y' has to change to an 'I' in certain forms. The rules are a little more casual with essayer as you'll see in the table. When there are two forms of the conjugation, you can use either. The stem of essayer is essay-. To this, a variety of infinitive endings is added that conform with the subject pronoun as well as the tense of the sentence. For instance, "I try" is "j'essaie" or "j'essaye." Similarly, there are two options for "we will try": "nous essaierons" or "nous essayerons." All this leaves you with many words to memorize. The good news is that there are many opportunities to practice it and use essayer as you "try" things throughout your day. Subject Present Future Imperfect j' essaieessaye essaieraiessayerai essayais tu essaiesessayes essaierasessayeras essayais il essaieessaye essaieraessayera essayait nous essayons essaieronsessayerons essayions vous essayez essaierezessayerez essayiez ils essaientessayent essaierontessayeront essayaient The Present Participle of Essayer The present participle of essayer is essayant. This is as simple as adding -ant to the verb stem. Not only does it work as a verb, but it can also become an adjective, gerund, or noun when needed. The Past Participle and Passé Composé The past participle essayé is used to form the passé composé, a common past tense form of "tried" in French. To use this, you'll also need to conjugate the auxiliary verb avoir. For example, "I tried" is "j'ai essayé" and "we tried" is "nous avons essayé." More Simple Essayer Conjugations to Know When the action of trying is in some way questionable, you can turn to the subjunctive verb mood. Similarly, if it's dependent on something, the conditional verb mood is used. With less frequency, you will come across the passé simple or the imperfect subjunctive. These are mostly found in formal writing and will help considerably with reading comprehension. Subject Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive j' essaieessaye essaieraisessayerais essayai essayasse tu essaiesessayes essaieraisessayerais essayas essayasses il essaieessaye essaieraitessayerait essaya essayât nous essayions essaierionsessayerions essayâmes essayassions vous essayiez essaieriezessayeriez essayâtes essayassiez ils essaientessayent essaieraientessayeraient essayèrent essayassent To use essayer in commands or direct requests, turn to the imperative verb form. When using this, the subject pronoun is not required: use "essaie" instead of "tu essaie." Imperative (tu) essaieessaye (nous) essayons (vous) essayez Continue Reading Does "Causer" Mean "to Cause" or "to Chat" in French? Don't "Remove" "Enlever" From Your French Conjugation List How to Conjugate the Verb "Jouir" (to Enjoy) in French How Do You Conjugate "Fuir" (to Flee) in French? Conjugating "Lever" (Lift, Raise) How Do You Conjugate "Visiter" (to Visit) in French? "Shout" for Joy That Conjugating "Crier" Is Easy Don't Let "Décevoir" Conjugations "Disappoint" You How to Conjugate Chérir in French How Is "Demander" Conjugated, You "Ask"? There's No "Disputing" the Conjugations of "Disputer" How Is "Détruire" (to Destroy) Conjugated in French? Conjugate 'to Decide' Correctly in French to Be Fluent How Is "Employer" (to Use) Conjugated in French? How Do You Conjugate "Détendre" (to Release) in French? "Accompany" Us for a French Lesson For "Accompagner"