How to Conjugate "Exister" (to Exist) in French

A Verb Conjugation for "Existed" or "Existing"

The French verb for "to exist" is exister. This should be an easy one to remember because it's so similar to the English word. Now, when you want to change it to the past tense "existed," you will need to conjugate it. This is relatively simple and a quick lesson will show you how it's done.

Conjugating the French Verb Exister

Exister is a regular -ER verb, which is the most common verb conjugation pattern found in the French language.

This means that once you learn how to conjugate exister, you can apply the same endings to other verbs like éviter (to avoid) and emprunter (to borrow), among countless others.

To conjugate exister into the present, future, or imperfect past tense, begin by identifying the verb stem: exist-. We will then add a new ending for each subject pronoun and tense. For instance, "I exist" is "j'existe" while "we will exist" is "nous existerons."

It's quite simple, particularly with a familiar word like this. To memorize these, practice them in context.

SubjectPresentFutureImperfect
j'existeexisteraiexistais
tuexistesexisterasexistais
ilexisteexisteraexistait
nousexistonsexisteronsexistions
vousexistezexisterezexistiez
ilsexistentexisterontexistaient

The Present Participle of Exister

The present participle of exister is existant. Notice how this is as simple as adding -ant to the verb stem, which is how most present participles are formed.

This is a verb and can also be an adjective, gerund, or noun in certain contexts.

The Past Participle and Passé Composé

The passé composé is a common way to say the past tense "existed" in French. To form it, you need to attach the past participle existé to the subject pronoun and conjugate of avoir (an auxiliary, or "helping," verb).

It comes together quite easily. For instance, "I existed" is "j'ai existé" and "we existed" is "nous avons existé."

More Simple Exister Conjugations to Learn

It's important to concentrate on the exister forms above as they're used most often. When you're comfortable with those, add the rest of these simple conjugations to your vocabulary. 

The subjunctive form is used when the action of "existing" is uncertain. Likewise, the conditional verb mood relies on something: if this happens, then this will "exist." The passé simple and imperfect subjunctive are reserved primarily for formal writing.

SubjectSubjunctiveConditionalPassé SimpleImperfect Subjunctive
j'existeexisteraisexistaiexistasse
tuexistesexisteraisexistasexistasses
ilexisteexisteraitexistaexistât
nousexistionsexisterionsexistâmesexistassions
vousexistiezexisteriezexistâtesexistassiez
ilsexistentexisteraientexistèrentexistassent

To express  exister in a short, direct statement, the imperative verb form may be used. When doing so, skip the subject pronoun as it is implied within the verb. Rather than " tu existe," use "existe" alone.

 Imperative
(tu)existe
(nous)existons
(vous)existez
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Your Citation
Lawless, Laura K. "How to Conjugate "Exister" (to Exist) in French." ThoughtCo, Jul. 31, 2017, thoughtco.com/exister-to-exist-1370296. Lawless, Laura K. (2017, July 31). How to Conjugate "Exister" (to Exist) in French. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/exister-to-exist-1370296 Lawless, Laura K. "How to Conjugate "Exister" (to Exist) in French." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/exister-to-exist-1370296 (accessed January 24, 2018).