Conjugating the French '-er' Verb 'Maquiller' ('to Make up Someone')

'Maquiller' and 'se maquiller' are regular '-er' verbs that take regular endings

Maquiller, pronounced "mah kee ay," is a transitive verb that's conjugated like all regular -er verbs. It means literally "to make up someone" or "put makeup on someone," as in:

  • être bien/mal/trop maquillé > to be nicely/badly/heavily made up
  • Qui vous a maquillé ? > Who did your make-up?

Figuratively, it means "to forge a passport or some other text, fake test results, fiddle with or tamper with accounts," or "disguise or change the identity of a stolen vehicle," as in:

  • maquiller un crime > to make a crime look like an accident
  • maquiller un crime en suicide > to make a murder look like a suicide.

As the reflexive pronominal French verb se maquiller, it means "to make up one's face" or "put on one's makeup, to wear makeup, to apply makeup to one's eyes" or "to put on one's eye makeup." For example:

  • Tu te maquilles déjà à ton âge ? > Are you using / wearing makeup already at your age?

Expressions and Usage

  • Je vais me maquiller en vitesse. > I'll just quickly put on my makeup.
  • être maquillé comme une voiture volée > to put on / wear too much makeup
  • Elle passe des heures à se maquiller. > She spends hours putting on her makeup / making herself up.
  • Tu devrais te maquiller plus la prochaine fois. > You should wear more makeup next time.
  • Miroir, crayon à maquiller, tout le nécessaire pour déguisement. > Mirror, makeup pencil, everything you need for a disguise.
  • J'ai toujours été perplexé par le fait de se maquiller. > I've always been mystified by the fact of wearing makeup.
  • Tu serais si belle... si tu savais comment te maquiller. > You'd be so beautiful if you knew how to do your makeup.
  • C'est mal de se maquiller pour le boulot ? > What's wrong with wearing a little makeup to work?
  • Elle n'allait pas se maquiller pour l'occasion. > She wasn't about to wear makeup for this occasion.
  • Attendez au moins 5 minutes avant de maquiller la zone traitée ou d'y appliquer un écran solaire. > Wait at least five minutes before applying makeup or sunscreen to the treated areas.

'Maquiller' Is a Regular French '-er' Verb

The majority of French verbs are regular -er verbs, as maquiller is. (There are five main kinds of verbs in French: regular -er, -ir, -re; stem-changing; and irregular verbs.)

To conjugate a regular French -er verb, remove the -er ending from the infinitive to reveal the verb's stem. Then add the regular -er endings to the stem. Note that all regular -er verbs share conjugation patterns in all tenses and moods.

Below are all the simple conjugations of the verb maquiller. The compound conjugations, which include a conjugated form of the auxiliary verb avoir and the past participle maquillé, are not included.

You can apply the same endings in the table to any of the regular French -er verbs listed below.


French regular -er verbs, by far the largest group of French verbs, share a conjugation pattern. Here are just a few of the most common regular -er verbs:

  • aimer > to like, to love
  • arriver > to arrive, to happen
  • chanter > to sing
  • chercher > to look for
  • commencer* > to begin
  • danse > to dance
  • demander > to ask for
  • dépenser > to spend (money)
  • détester > to hate
  • donner > to give
  • écouter > to listen to
  • étudier** > to study
  • fermer > to close
  • goûte > to taste
  • jouer > to play
  • laver > to wash
  • manger* > to eat
  • nager* > to swim
  • parler > to talk, to speak
  • passe > to pass, spend (time)
  • penser > to think
  • porter > to wear, to carry
  • regarder > to watch, to look at
  • rêver > to dream
  • sembler > to seem
  • skier** > to ski
  • travailler > to work
  • trouve > to find
  • visiter > to visit (a place)
  • voler > to fly, to steal

*All regular -er verbs are conjugated according to the regular -er verb conjugation pattern, except for one small irregularity in verbs that end in -ger and -cer, known as spelling-change verbs.

**Though conjugated just like regular -er verbs, watch out for verbs that end in -ier.

Simple Conjugations of the Regular French '-er' Verb 'Maquiller'

Present Future Imperfect Present participle
je maquille maquillerai maquillais maquillant
tu maquilles maquilleras maquillais
il maquille maquillera maquillait Passé composé
nous maquillons maquillerons maquillions Auxiliary verb avoir
vous maquillez maquillerez maquilliez Past participle maquillé
ils maquillent maquilleront maquillaient
Subjunctive Conditional Passé simple Imperfect subjunctive
je maquille maquillerais maquillai maquillasse
tu maquilles maquillerais maquillas maquillasses
il maquille maquillerait maquilla maquillât
nous maquillions maquillerions maquillâmes maquillassions
vous maquilliez maquilleriez maquillâtes maquillassiez
ils maquillent maquilleraient maquillèrent maquillassent
(tu) maquille
(nous) maquillons
(vous) maquillez
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Team, ThoughtCo. "Conjugating the French '-er' Verb 'Maquiller' ('to Make up Someone')." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). Conjugating the French '-er' Verb 'Maquiller' ('to Make up Someone'). Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "Conjugating the French '-er' Verb 'Maquiller' ('to Make up Someone')." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 22, 2023).