A Step-By-Steo Conjugation of "Maintenir" (To Maintain)

Simple Conjugations of an Irregular Verb in French

Older man examining his motorcycle
An older gentleman maintains his motorcycle. Diego Cervo / Getty Images

The French verb maintenir means "to maintain." Because the English and French are very similar, this is a relatively easy one to remember. Yet, if you want to say "maintained" or "maintaining" in French, you will need to conjugate the verb. Since maintenir is an irregular verb, this lesson is a little challenging.

Conjugations of the French Verb Maintenir 

Maintenir is an irregular -ir verb. This means that it does not follow one of the more common verb conjugation patterns.

However, all French verbs that end in -venir and -tenir are conjugated the same way. It may be a good idea to study a few of these at one time to make learning each easier.

In order to learn the most basic conjugates of maintenir, study the table below. You will need to pair the subject pronoun with the present, future, or imperfect past tense to fit your sentence. For instance, "I am maintaining" is "je maintiens " while "we will maintain" is "nous maintiendrons."

Pay particular attention to the verb forms that add an 'I' after the 'T' as these can catch you by surprise.

SubjectPresentFutureImperfect
jemaintiensmaintiendraimaintenais
tumaintiensmaintiendrasmaintenais
ilmaintientmaintiendramaintenait
nousmaintenonsmaintiendronsmaintenions
vousmaintenezmaintiendrezmainteniez
ilsmaintiennentmaintiendrontmaintenaient

The Present Participle of Maintenir 

The present participle of maintenir is maintenant.

This was formed by simply adding -ant to the verb stem mainten. When needed, it can also be used as an adjective, gerund, or noun as well as a verb.

The Past Participle and Passé Composé

The passé composé is a common way to express the past tense in French. It's a simple phrase to construct and makes use of the past participle maintenu.

You will also need the subject pronoun and the appropriate conjugate of the auxiliary verb avoir.

It all comes together rather easily: "I maintained" is "j'ai maintenu" and "we maintained" is "nous avons maintenu."

More Simple Maintenir Conjugations to Learn

The conjugations above should be a priority in your French studies because you will use them most often. There may be times when you will need other simple conjugations.

For instance, the subjunctive verb mood implies uncertainty while the conditional says that the action is dependent on something. In contrast, the passé simple and the imperfect subjunctive are literary verb forms and found in formal writing.

SubjectSubjunctiveConditionalPassé SimpleImperfect Subjunctive
jemaintiennemaintiendraismaintinsmaintinsse
tumaintiennesmaintiendraismaintinsmaintinsses
ilmaintiennemaintiendraitmaintintmaintînt
nousmaintenionsmaintiendrionsmaintînmesmaintinssions
vousmainteniezmaintiendriezmaintîntesmaintinssiez
ilsmaintiennentmaintiendraientmaintinrentmaintinssent

To express maintenir in short and often direct sentences, you can use the imperative form. When doing so, there's no need to include the subject pronoun. Rather than "nous maintenons," you can simplify it to "maintenons."

 Imperative
(tu)maintiens
(nous) maintenons 
(vous)maintenez