How to Conjugate "Lancer" (to Throw) in French

someone throwing a water bottle

 Getty Images / Guido Mieth

Similar to the English word "lance," the French verb lancer means "to throw." While that's easy enough to remember, you'll need to conjugate it to mean "throwing" or "threw." A quick lesson will demonstrate how to do that.

If you want a second option of "to throw," study the verb jeter.

Conjugating the French Verb Lancer

Lancer is a spelling change verb, which makes things a little more difficult than normal. The change comes when the letter 'C' precedes either an 'A' or an 'O' in the infinitive endings. In these forms, the 'C' becomes a cedilla ç and this reminds us to retain the soft 'C' sound throughout the conjugations.

If you keep an eye on that, then conjugating lancer is relatively simple. Just match the subject pronoun with the appropriate tense for the context. For example, "I am throwing" is "je lance" and "we will throw" is "nous lancerons." Practicing these in context will help you memorize them.

Subject Present Future Imperfect
je lance lancerai lançais
tu lances lanceras lançais
il lance lancera lançait
nous lançons lancerons lancions
vous lancez lancerez lanciez
ils lancent lanceront lançaient

The Present Participle of Lancer

Used as either a verb, adjective, noun, or gerund, the present participle is quite useful. For lancer, the ç makes an appearance and we simply add -ant to the verb stem to form lançant.

The Past Participle and Passé Composé

The past tense of "threw" can be expressed with the imperfect or the passé composé. To form the latter, begin with a conjugate of the auxiliary verb avoir to match the subject pronoun, then attach the past participle lancé. For example, "I threw" is "j'ai lancé" and "we threw" is "nous avons lancé."

More Simple Lancer Conjugations to Learn

At first, the focus of your studies should be the forms of lancer we've discussed. Yet, you might also find some other forms helpful.

For instance, the subjunctive and the conditional are both verb "moods." Each implies that the act of throwing is not guaranteed. Likewise, if you read a lot of French, knowing the literary tenses of the passé simple and imperfect subjunctive will be useful.

Subject Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive
je lance lancerais lançai lançasse
tu lances lancerais lanças lançasses
il lance lancerait lança lançât
nous lancions lancerions lançâmes lançassions
vous lanciez lanceriez lançâtes lançassiez
ils lancent lanceraient lancèrent lançassent

When using lancer in assertive and short commands or requests, turn to the imperative form. For this, the subject pronoun is not required, so "lance" is used instead of "tu lance."

(tu) lance
(nous) lançons
(vous) lancez
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Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugate "Lancer" (to Throw) in French." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). How to Conjugate "Lancer" (to Throw) in French. Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugate "Lancer" (to Throw) in French." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 29, 2023).