How to Conjugate "Nourrir" (to Feed) in French

Caucasian mother feeding baby in high chair
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If you can remember that it also means "to nourish," you can associate the French verb nourrir with "to feed." It's also important to remember that it's different from manger, which means "to eat." The primary difference is that nourrir is typically used when feeding someone else, not necessarily eating food yourself.

Along with memorizing the word nourrir, you'll also need to know its conjugations. This lesson will introduce you to the most basic of those so you can say things like "I fed" and "we are feeding."

The Basic Conjugations of Nourrir

Proper French grammar requires verb conjugations so the verb may be used to form complete sentences. The most common conjugates are in the indicative mood, which let you express nourrir in the present, future, or imperfect past tense.

Nourrir is a regular -ir verb. This means it follows a relatively common conjugation pattern found in French. If you've studied verbs like reunir (to reunite) or punir (to punish), you can apply the same endings you learned for those to this verb.

In any conjugation, it's important to identify the verb stem (or radical) before anything else. For nourrir, that is nourr-. From there, you'll add a new ending for every subject pronoun within each tense. The chart will help you learn which ending is required. For instance, "I am feeding" is je nourris and "we will feed" is nous nourrirons.

Present Future Imperfect
je nourris nourrirai nourrissais
tu nourris nourriras nourrissais
il nourrit nourrira nourrissait
nous nourrissons nourrirons nourrissions
vous nourrissez nourrirez nourrissiez
ils nourrissent nourriront nourrissaient

The Present Participle of Nourrir

As with all regular -ir verbs, the present participle of nourrir is formed with an -issant ending. This produces the word nourrissant.

Nourrir in the Compound Past Tense

The compound past tense in French is the passé composé. It requires the past participle nourri along with an auxiliary verb, in this case, avoir. Begin by conjugating avoir into the present tense to match the subject, then attach nourri. This results in compounds such as j'ai nourri (I fed) and nous avons nourri (we fed).

More Simple Conjugations of Nourrir

While you can learn more complex conjugations, a few more simple forms of nourrir will round out this introductory lesson. They're useful in a few different circumstances and can really help out your French vocabulary.

The subjunctive is a verb mood that implies uncertainty to the act of feeding. The conditional says that the action will only happen under certain conditions. Though you may only find the literary tenses of the passé simple and the imperfect subjunctive in written French, they are still good to know.

Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive
je nourrisse nourrirais nourris nourrisse
tu nourrisses nourrirais nourris nourrisses
il nourrisse nourrirait nourrit nourrît
nous nourrissions nourririons nourrîmes nourrissions
vous nourrissiez nourririez nourrîtes nourrissiez
ils nourrissent nourriraient nourrirent nourrissent

The imperative is the one time in French verbs when it's okay to skip the subject pronoun. When using it, feel free to simplify tu nourris to nourris.

(tu) nourris
(nous) nourrissons
(vous) nourrissez
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Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugate "Nourrir" (to Feed) in French." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). How to Conjugate "Nourrir" (to Feed) in French. Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugate "Nourrir" (to Feed) in French." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 20, 2023).