How to Conjugate the French Verb "Payer" (to Pay)

A Very Useful Verb That Will Help You Shop in French

Payment
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When you want to say "to pay" in French, you'll use the verb payer. This is different than acheter, which means "to buy," though studying both is not a bad idea because they're both useful for expanding your French shopping vocabulary.

You will also need to know how to conjugate these verbs. This lesson will walk you through the basic conjugations for payer so you can say things such as "I will pay" and "we paid" in French.

The Basic Conjugations of Payer

Payer is an optional stem-changing verb, which is common for words that end in -ayer. This means that in the present singular and all future tenses the y changes to an i in the verb's stem of pay-. However, this is optional, so you will notice two conjugations for each case where the stem may change.

Use the chart to study and memorize the most basic conjugations of payer. You will match the subject pronoun to the appropriate tense for your sentence. For instance, "I am paying" is je paie or je paye and "we paid" is nous payions.

Practicing these conjugations in context will help you commit them to memory. Luckily, there are many common expressions with payer, so you can use those include those in your studies.

 PresentFutureImperfect
jepaie
paye
paierai
payerai
payais
tupaies
payes
paieras
payeras
payais
ilpaie
paye
paiera
payera
payait
nouspayonspaierons
payerons
payions
vouspayezpaierez
payerez
payiez
ilspaient
payent
paieront
payeront
payaient

The Present Participle of Payer

There is no stem change when you form the present participle of payer. Instead, the -ant ending is added to the verb stem to produce payant.

Payer in the Compound Past Tense

In French, one of the most common compound past tenses is known as the passé composé. Rather than use the subject pronoun alone, you'll form it with the auxiliary verb avoir and the past participle payé.

When constructing this, you'll conjugate avoir into the present tense that matches the subject, then attach the past participle. For example, "I paid" is j'ai payé and "we paid" is nous avons payé.

More Simple Conjugations of Payer

The conjugations above will be used most often, though there are a few more forms that you may need or encounter. Again, you'll notice the optional stem change in the subjunctive and conditional moods, so pay attention to those changes.

You might not use these forms of payer often, though they can be useful. The subjunctive, for instance, says that the action may or may not happen. In a similar fashion, the conditional says that the action is dependent on another action. The other two—the passé simple and imperfect subjunctive—are used less often, though it is a good idea to at least be able to recognize them as a form of payer.

 SubjunctiveConditionalPassé SimpleImperfect Subjunctive
jepaie
paye
paierais
payerais
payai payasse
tupaies
payes
paierais
payerais
payas payasses
ilpaie
paye
paierait
payerait
paya payât
nouspayionspaierions
payerions
payâmes payassions
vouspayiezpaieriez
payeriez
payâtes payassiez
ilspaient
payent
paieraient
payeraient
payèrent payassent

You might also find it useful to use the imperative forms of payer.

These are reserved for short commands and requests and there's no need to include the subject pronoun. Rather than nous payons, you can simplify it to payons.

 Imperative
(tu)paie
paye
(nous) payons
(vous)payez
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Your Citation
Lawless, Laura K. "How to Conjugate the French Verb "Payer" (to Pay)." ThoughtCo, Nov. 18, 2017, thoughtco.com/payer-to-pay-1370614. Lawless, Laura K. (2017, November 18). How to Conjugate the French Verb "Payer" (to Pay). Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/payer-to-pay-1370614 Lawless, Laura K. "How to Conjugate the French Verb "Payer" (to Pay)." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/payer-to-pay-1370614 (accessed November 18, 2017).