How to Conjugate 'Laver' (to Wash) in French

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When you want to say "to wash" in French, use the verb laver. Alternatively, if you're going to wash someone or something else, baigner is usedLaver is relatively easy to remember because it sounds like "lather," which is what soap does. 

Conjugating the French Verb Laver

In order to change laver to mean "washed," "washing," or "will wash," a conjugation is required. While there are more forms to learn in French than in English, laver is a regular -ER verb and it follows a standard pattern.

Before you can conjugate laver, identify the verb stem, which is simply lav- This is what we will attach the infinitive endings too.

In French, we have multiple endings to remember for each tense. That's because each subject pronoun requires a new ending. For instance, "I am washing" is " je lave" and "you are washing" is "tu laves." Likewise, "nous laverons" means "we will wash" while "I will wash" is "je laverai.

Subject Present Future Imperfect
je lave laverai lavais
tu laves laveras lavais
il lave lavera lavait
nous lavons laverons lavions
vous lavez laverez laviez
ils lavent laveront lavaient

The Present Participle of Laver

Adding -ant to the verb stem of laver results in the present participle lavant. Not only is this a verb, but it can also become a noun, adjective, or gerund in certain contexts.

The Past Participle and Passé Composé

Beyond the imperfect, you can use the passé composé to express the past tense "washed" in French. To construct this, begin with the subject pronoun and a conjugate of the auxiliary verb avoir. Then, attach the past participle lavé. For example, "I washed" is "j'ai lavé" and "we washed" is "nous avons lavé."

More Simple Laver Conjugations to Learn

It's best to concentrate on the above forms of laver and commit them to memory first. When you're comfortable with those, add the following forms to your vocabulary. You may not use them often, but they are useful.

The subjunctive verb mood implies uncertainty while the conditional form says the action is dependent on something else. In literature, you will find the passé simple or the imperfect subjunctive in use.

Subject Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive
je lave laverais lavai lavasse
tu laves laverais lavas lavasses
il lave laverait lava lavât
nous lavions laverions lavâmes lavassions
vous laviez laveriez lavâtes lavassiez
ils lavent laveraient lavèrent lavassent

The imperative verb form is useful for short demands and requests. This is the one time when it's acceptable to skip the subject pronoun: use "lave" rather than "tu lave."

(tu) lave
(nous) lavons
(vous) lavez
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Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugate 'Laver' (to Wash) in French." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). How to Conjugate 'Laver' (to Wash) in French. Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugate 'Laver' (to Wash) in French." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 2, 2023).