Languages › French All About French Irregular '-ir' Verbs 50 Verbs but Only 16 Conjugations Share Flipboard Email Print PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 30: Opening of the 21st session of the conference COP21 on climate change on November 30, 2015 in Paris, France. (Photo by Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images) French Grammar Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Resources For Teachers By ThoughtCo Updated February 21, 2020 Irregular verbs are difficult for most students, but there is some good news—patterns in the conjugations of irregular verbs, which French grammarians have anointed le troisième groupe ("the third group"). So while there are probably 50 irregular French -ir verbs, these shared patterns mean that you will only have to learn about 16 conjugations. There are essentially three groups of irregular -ir verb patterns that will make your life easier. Plus, we've got you covered with conjugation tables. Click any verb below for its complete conjugation table. These are the three conjugation groups: Verbs Conjugated Like 'Partir' The first group of irregular -ir verbs is essentially conjugated like the verb partir ("to leave"). This group also includes the following verbs, plus their derivatives: consentir > to consent départir > to accord dormir > to sleep endormir > to put/send to sleep mentir > to lie pressentir > to have a premonition redormir > to sleep some more rendormir > to put back to sleep repartir > to restart, set off again se repentir > to repent ressentir > to feel, sense sentir > to feel, smell servir > to serve, to be useful sortir > to leave These verbs are conjugated in the present tense by dropping the final letter of the stem in the singular conjugations before adding their endings. You find the stem by deleting the -ir ending; what remains is the stem and you add the conjugated ending to that stem. With regular -ir verb conjugations, the stem remains intact; in irregular -ir verb conjugations, the stem does not remain intact throughout, as noted above. Below, see the present tense conjugation of the model verb partir and an example using dormir ("to sleep"). Note that the stem of partir is part-, while the stem of dormir is dorm-. Partir, Present part- je -s pars tu -s pars il/elle/on -t part nous -ons partons vous -ez partez ils/elles -ent partent Dormir, Present dorm- je -s dors tu -s dors il/elle/on -t dort nous -ons dormons vous -ez dormez ils/elles -ent dorment Verbs Ending in '-llir,' '-frir,' and '-vrir' The second group consists of verbs that end in -llir, -frir, or -vrir; almost all are conjugated like regular -er verbs. This group includes the following verbs, plus their derivatives: couvrir > to cover cueillir > to pick découvrir > to discover entrouvrir > to half-open offrir > to offer ouvrir > to open recueillir > to collect recouvrir > to recover, conceal rouvrir > to reopen souffrir > to suffer See the example of couvrir ("to cover") below. The stem in this case is couvr-. Couvrir, Present couvr- je -e couvre tu -es couvres il/elle/on -e couvre nous -ons couvrons vous -ez couvrez ils/elles -ent couvrent Verbs Ending in '-enir' In the third group, verbs such as tenir ("to hold") and venir ("to come") and their derivatives follow a shared conjugation pattern in the present tense. Note, however, a major difference in the compound tenses: Venir and most of its derivatives use être as their auxiliary verb, while tenir and its derivatives use avoir. Venir, Present je viens tu viens il/elle/on vient nous venons vous venez ils/elles viennent Wild Cards The remaining irregular -ir verbs don't follow a pattern. You just have to memorize the conjugations for each of the following verbs separately. Luckily, most are among the most frequently used French verbs, so memorizing their conjugations is completely worth the trouble. They include: acquérir > to acquire asseoir > to sit avoir > to have conquérir > to conquer courir > to run décevoir > to disappoint devoir > should, must, to be able to falloir > to be necessary mourir > to die pleuvoir > to rain pouvoir > can, to be able to recevoir > to receive savoir > to know valoir > to be worth voir > to see vouloir > to want Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation ThoughtCo. "All About French Irregular '-ir' Verbs." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, thoughtco.com/french-irregular-ir-verbs-1368869. ThoughtCo. (2021, February 16). All About French Irregular '-ir' Verbs. 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ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/french-irregular-ir-verbs-1368869 (accessed May 10, 2021). copy citation Conjugating Regular French '-IR' Verbs Simple Conjugations for the French Verb, 'Ouvrir,' Meaning 'to Open' How to Conjugate the Irregular French Verb 'Soutenir' ('to Support') How to Conjugate the Irregular French '-ir' Verb 'Offir' How to Conjugate the French Irregular Verb 'Souffrir' ('to Suffer') How to Conjugate the Irregular French Verb 'Dormir' Conjugate the Irregular French Verb 'Servir' Conjugating the Irregular French Verb 'Devenir' (to Become) Conjugating Regular French Verbs in the Subjunctive French Irregular -RE Verbs How to Conjugate the French Verb 'Craindre' ('to Fear') How to Conjugate the Irregular French Verb "Haïr" How to Conjugate the French Verb 'Savoir' ('to Know') How to Conjugate the Irregular French Verb 'Mourir' ('To Die') Conjugating the Simple French Tenses of 'Revenir' (to Come Back) How to Use the Irregular French Verb "Recevoir"