How to Conjugate the French Verb "Nettoyer"

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When you want to say "to clean" in French, you'll use the verb nettoyer. Conjugating it into the present, past, or future tenses is a little trickier than other verbs because the verb stem changes in some forms. A short lesson will explain when this happens and introduce you to the verb's most basic conjugations.

The Basic Conjugations of Nettoyer

As with any verb that ends in -oyer, nettoyer is a stem-changing verb. This means that the verb's stem (or radical) goes through a minor change in some tenses.

For nettoyer, the stem is nettoy-. You will notice that the y becomes an i in the singular present tense forms as well as all of the future tense forms. Beyond that, the infinitive endings are the same used for regular -er verbs. While the pronunciation doesn't change, the spelling does so it's important to pay attention to this.

Using the chart, you can study the most basic conjugations of nettoyer. These include the present, future, and imperfect past tense and it is different for each subject pronoun. For example, "I am cleaning" is je nettoie and "we cleaned" is nous nettoyions.

Present Future Imperfect
je nettoie nettoierai nettoyais
tu nettoies nettoieras nettoyais
il nettoie nettoiera nettoyait
nous nettoyons nettoierons nettoyions
vous nettoyez nettoierez nettoyiez
ils nettoient nettoieront nettoyaient

The Present Participle of Nettoyer

The stem does not change when adding -ant to form nettoyer's present participle. The ending is simply applied to produce nettoyant.

Nettoyer in the Compound Past Tense

An option for using nettoyer in the past tense is the compound known as the passé composé. This is a simple construction using the auxiliary verb avoir and the past participle nettoyé.

When using the passé compose, the only conjugation you need to worry about is avoir into the present tense to match the subject. No matter the subject pronoun, the past participle is used and it implies that something was "cleaned" in the past. For example, "I cleaned" is j'ai nettoyé while "we cleaned" is nous avons nettoyé.

More Simple Conjugations of Nettoyer

There may also be times when you'll need a few other common forms of nettoyer. The subjunctive and the conditional, for instance, both imply some ambiguity to the action of cleaning. In particular, you'll use the conditional when cleaning is dependent on something else. The other forms—the passé simple and imperfect subjunctive— are used less often, but are good to know anyway.

Notice how the stem changes for the singular subjunctive and the conditional forms.

Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive
je nettoie nettoierais nettoyai nettoyasse
tu nettoies nettoierais nettoyas nettoyasses
il nettoie nettoierait nettoya nettoyât
nous nettoyions nettoierions nettoyâmes nettoyassions
vous nettoyiez nettoieriez nettoyâtes nettoyassiez
ils nettoient nettoieraient nettoyèrent nettoyassent

When you want to tell someone to "Clean!" using a short command, you can use the imperative form of nettoyer and skip the subject pronoun. Rather than say "Nous nettoyans !" you can simply say, "Nettoyons !"

(tu) nettoie
(nous) nettoyons
(vous) nettoyez
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Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugate the French Verb "Nettoyer"." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). How to Conjugate the French Verb "Nettoyer". Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugate the French Verb "Nettoyer"." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 29, 2023).