How to Conjugate "Monter" (to Climb) in French

A Simple Lesson in the Verb Conjugations That Mean "to Go Up"

Woman Climbing a Mountain
People Images/Getty Images

A very useful verb, the French monter means "to climb" or "to go up." You can imagine how many times you'll use it, which is why it's important to study how to conjugate it so you can say "I climbed" or "he is climbing" in French. This lesson will show you how to do just that.

It's also important that you do not confuse monter with montrer (to show). That one r can make a big difference in the meaning of your sentence.

The Basic Conjugations of Monter

In French, the conjugations of verbs are more complicated than they are in English. While we can use -ing for the present tense and -ed for most past tense uses, French requires a different form of the verb for every subject pronoun within each tense.

While that does give you five more words to learn for each of the present, future, and imperfect past tenses, they are easier if you've studied similar words. That's because monter is a regular -er verb, meaning it uses the same infinitive ending as the majority of French verbs. With each new one you learn, it becomes a little easier to memorize those you're not familiar with.

To study the conjugations of monter, use the chart to match the subject pronoun with the tense of your sentence. This will indicate which ending is added to the verb's stem (or radical), mont-. For example, "I am climbing" is je monte and "we went up" is nous montions.

While that seems simple enough, you'll definitely want to practice these conjugations in context. Luckily, there are many common expressions with monter for you to use.

 Present Future Imperfect

The Present Participle of Monter

The present participle of monter is montant. You'll notice that this was formed by adding -ant to the verb stem, another rule that applies to almost every regular -er verb.

Monter in the Compound Past Tense

For the past tense, the passé composé is an alternative to the imperfect. This is a compound conjugation, so you will need the auxiliary verb être as well as the past participle monté.

The phrase comes together quite easily. Begin by conjugating être into the present tense appropriate to the subject, then allow the past participle to indicate that someone has already climbed. For example, "I climbed" is je suis monté and "we climbed" is nous sommes monté.

More Simple Conjugations of Monter

There will be times when you may need to question whether the act of climbing took place or not. For those occasions, you can use the subjunctive. Similarly, if someone will climb only if something else happens, the conditional can be used.

Though you might not need either the passé simple or imperfect subjunctive, these are good to know. However, they're used only on occasion, so they do not need to be a priority.

 SubjunctiveConditionalPassé SimpleImperfect Subjunctive

For direct commands and other short sentences, you can skip the subject pronoun and use the imperative form of monter. Simplify it to monte rather than the more formal tu monte.

(nous) montons