French Irregular -RE Verbs

Learn the conjugation patterns for irregular French -re verbs

Irregular verbs are so named because they do not follow any of the regular conjugation patterns. But that doesn't mean that every irregular French verb is unique; many of them share a conjugation pattern with at least one other verb. By learning how to conjugate one verb in a group and memorizing the list of similar verbs, you'll be able to conjugate all the verbs in that group.

French has five irregular -RE verb patterns.

  1. The first group includes prendre and all of its derivations (comprendre, etc). These verbs drop the d in all three plural forms and also double the n in the third person plural.
  1. The second group includes battre and all of its derivations (débattre, etc). These verbs drop the stem's final t in the singular forms.
  2. The third group includes mettre and all of its derivations (promettre, etc). These verbs are conjugated just like battre verbs in the present tense, but I consider them a separate group because they are conjugated differently in the passé simple, imperfect subjunctive, and past participle. (As you can see in the table below, the first three groups take the same present tense verb endings.)
  3. The fourth group of irregular -RE verbs includes rompre and its derivations (corrompre, etc). These verbs are conjugated exactly like regular -RE verbs with the single exception of the third person singular present tense, which adds a t after the stem.
  4. The fifth group of irregular -RE verbs includes all verbs that end in -aindre (e.g., craindre), -eindre (like peindre), and -oindre (such as joindre). These verbs drop the d in the root in all forms, and add a g in front of the n in the plural forms.

    The rest of the irregular -RE verbs have unique or unwieldy conjugations, so you have to memorize each one separately. Try working on one verb a day until you've mastered them all: absoudre, boire, clore, conclure, conduire, confire, connaître, coudre, croire, dire, écrire, faire, inscrire, lire, moudre, naître, plaire, rire, suivre, vivre.

    Click any verb for the complete table of conjugations in all of the simple tenses and moods:

      Group 1 Group 2 Group 3
    PronounEndings prendre > pren(d)-   battre > bat(t)   mettre > met(t)
    je-s prends bats mets
    tu-s prends bats mets
    il- prend bat met
    nous   -ons prenons battons mettons
    vous-ez prenez battez mettez
    ils-ent prennent battent mettent
       Group 4 Group 5  
    PronounEndings rompre > romp- craindre > crain-/craign-
    je-s romps crains  
    tu-s romps crains  
    il-t rompt craint  
    nous   -ons rompons craignons  
    vous-ez rompez craignez  
    ils-ent rompent craignent  
    Test on irregular -RE verbs