Learn How to Conjugate the French Verb "Passer" (to Pass)

"Passer" is important because it's used in many expressions

A box passes
A box is passed from a mailman to a woman. Getty Images

Meaning "to pass," the French verb passer is an easy one to remember and the conjugations are not too difficult, either. French students who have studied other regular -er verbs will find this lesson relatively simple to follow. By the end, you'll be familiar with the basic present, past, and future tenses of this very common verb.

How to Conjugate Passer

Conjugations are used in French in the same way they are in English. We add certain endings to the verb stem to form the various tenses. This helps us use the verb properly and form complete sentences.

Since passer is used in many common expressions, it's important to memorize the conjugations. To begin, we'll look at the indicative verb mood, including the present, future, and imperfect past tenses.

These verb conjugations are formed by adding the regular -er endings to the verb's stem of pass-. Using the chart, match the subject pronoun of your sentence with the appropriate tense. For example, "I am passing" is je passe while "we will pass" is nous passerons.

Try practicing these in context to aid in memorization. If you need some ideas, passer is used in many idiomatic expressions that you'll find useful as well.

Present Future Imperfect
je passe passerai passais
tu passes passeras passais
il passe passera passait
nous passons passerons passions
vous passez passerez passiez
ils passent passeront passaient

Passer and the Present Participle

The present participle of passer is passant. This was formed by adding -ant to the verb stem. Not only can passant be used as a verb, in some contexts it may also be an adjective, gerund, or even a noun.

Passer in the Past Tense

The imperfect is the past tense, though it's also common to use the passé composé in French. This requires the construction of a short phrase that uses the auxiliary verb être and the past participle passé.

Putting it together is quite simple: use the subject pronoun, conjugate être to the present tense, and attach the past participle. For example, "I passed" is je suis passé and "we passed" is nous sommes passé.

More Conjugations of Passer

As you build your French vocabulary, you will find other basic forms of passer useful. For example, if you wish to express that the action of passing is uncertain, the subjunctive verb mood is used. Similarly, if it is dependent on something else also occurring, you will use the conditional verb mood.

In rare cases, you might encounter the passé simple or the imperfect subjunctive. While the other forms of passer should be your priority, these are good to know as well.

Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive
je passe passerais passai passasse
tu passes passerais passas passasses
il passe passerait passa passât
nous passions passerions passâmes passassions
vous passiez passeriez passâtes passassiez
ils passent passeraient passèrent passassent

You will use the imperative verb mood when using passer in short commands and requests. When using it, skip the subject pronoun, so tu passe is simplified to passe. For the phrase "Pass it!" you will say "Passe-le !"

(tu) passe
(nous) passons
(vous) passez
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Team, ThoughtCo. "Learn How to Conjugate the French Verb "Passer" (to Pass)." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, thoughtco.com/passer-to-pass-1370612. Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). Learn How to Conjugate the French Verb "Passer" (to Pass). Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/passer-to-pass-1370612 Team, ThoughtCo. "Learn How to Conjugate the French Verb "Passer" (to Pass)." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/passer-to-pass-1370612 (accessed June 4, 2023).