How to Conjugate "Habiller" (to Dress Someone)

"Dress" Up Your French Verb Conjugations

Mother dressing daughter in bedroom
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The French verb habiller means "to dress." Specifically, it's used when dressing someone else, such as your child. It's an interesting word and the letter 'H' is silent because it falls into the category of an 'H' muet word. 

Conjugating the French Verb Habiller

When you need to use habiller in a tense other than the infinitive, the verb must be conjugated. This will help you say "dressed," "will dress," and many other forms of the verb.

Habiller is a regular -ER verb and it follows the most common verb conjugation pattern found in the French language. That makes memorizing these simple conjugations just a little easier, particularly if you've already studied similar verbs.

To begin, identify the verb stem, which is habill-. To this, we will add a variety of endings that pair the subject pronoun with the appropriate tense. For instance, "I dressed (someone)" is j'habille" and "we will dress (someone)" is "nous habillerons."

Did you notice something different in the je form? Because this is a mute 'H' word and sounds like a vowel, the je needs to be contracted to j'. It's a tricky thing you need to watch out for with verbs that begin with the letter 'H'.

Subject Present Future Imperfect
j' habille habillerai habillais
tu habilles habilleras habillais
il habille habillera habillait
nous habillons habillerons habillions
vous habillez habillerez habilliez
ils habillent habilleront habillaient

The Present Participle of Habiller

The present participle of habiller is habillant. This is done by simply adding -ant to the verb stem. Depending on the context, you will find it useful as a verb, adjective, noun, or gerund.

The Past Participle and Passé Composé

The passé composé is a common way to express the past tense "dressed" in French. To construct it, conjugate the auxiliary verb avoir, then attach the past participle habillé. For example, "I dressed (someone)" is "j'ai habillé" and "we dressed (someone)" becomes "nous avons habillé."

More Simple Habiller Conjugations to Learn

Those are the most useful and common forms of habiller, though you may need to use more at times. Other simple conjugations include the subjunctive form and the conditional verb mood. Each of these implies some degree of subjectivity or dependency to the verb's action.

When reading French, you may also encounter the passé simple or the imperfect subjunctive. These are literary tenses and it's a good idea to be able to associate them with habiller when you see them.

Subject Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive
j' habille habillerais habillai habillasse
tu habilles habillerais habillas habillasses
il habille habillerait habilla habillât
nous habillions habillerions habillâmes habillassions
vous habilliez habilleriez habillâtes habillassiez
ils habillent habilleraient habillèrent habillassent

The infinitive verb form is used for short and direct statements. Thus, the subject pronoun is not required: use "habille" instead of "tu habille."

(tu) habille
(nous) habillons
(vous) habillez
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Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugate "Habiller" (to Dress Someone)." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). How to Conjugate "Habiller" (to Dress Someone). Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugate "Habiller" (to Dress Someone)." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 30, 2023).