Learn the Conjugates of "Peser" (to Weigh) in French

A Lesson That Teaches You to Say "Weighing" or "Weighed"

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Meaning "to weigh," the French verb peser is used for measurements, but it can also be used to say "to ponder," as in "to weigh the consequences." It's an interesting verb and the conjugations require a stem change, which does make it a little trickier than others. Don't worry, though, a quick lesson in peser's most useful forms will explain everything.

The Basic Conjugations of Peser

Peser is a stem-changing verb. Not only do you have to concern yourself with adding the correct ending, there's also a difference in spelling to watch for.

This change comes primarily in the present and future tenses of the indicative mood, though it will appear elsewhere as well. As you can see in the chart, there are times in which the e of the verb stem is accented è. This happens often in verbs that end in -e_er.

Other than that, peser is conjugated much like any regular -er verb. You'll apply the same endings as you would for words like tomber (to fall) and that does make this a little easier for experienced French students.

Beginning with the verb stem (or radical), which is pes-, match the subject pronoun and the tense in the chart. This will help you learn that je pèse means "I am weighing" and that nous pesions means "we weighed."

Present Future Imperfect
je pèse pèserai pesais
tu pèses pèseras pesais
il pèse pèsera pesait
nous pesons pèserons pesions
vous pesez pèserez pesiez
ils pèsent pèseront pesaient

The Present Participle of Peser

The present participle of peser does not require the stem change. Instead, you'll simply add -ant to the verb stem to create the word pesant.

Peser in the Compound Past Tense

Passé composé is the French compound past tense and it is used frequently. To form it, you'll need to conjugate the auxiliary verb avoir to the present tense and follow it with the past participle pesé. The results are phrases such as j'ai pesé for "I weighed" and nous avons pesé for "we weighed."

More Simple Conjugations of Peser

Peser can also be useful in a few other simple conjugations. For instance, if you're uncertain if something is being weighed, you can use the subjunctive. On the other hand, if the weighing is dependent on certain conditions, the conditional is used. 

The passé simple and the imperfect subjunctive are literary tenses and you'll encounter these most often in formal French writing.

Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive
je pèse pèserais pesai pesasse
tu pèses pèserais pesas pesasses
il pèse pèserait pesa pesât
nous pesions pèserions pesâmes pesassions
vous pesiez pèseriez pesâtes pesassiez
ils pèsent pèseraient pesèrent pesassent

The only time when it's okay to drop the subject pronoun is when you're using peser in the imperative. This is for short statements that get to the point, so use pèse rather than tu pèse.

(tu) pèse
(nous) pesons
(vous) pesez
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Team, ThoughtCo. "Learn the Conjugates of "Peser" (to Weigh) in French." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, thoughtco.com/peser-to-weigh-1370637. Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). Learn the Conjugates of "Peser" (to Weigh) in French. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/peser-to-weigh-1370637 Team, ThoughtCo. "Learn the Conjugates of "Peser" (to Weigh) in French." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/peser-to-weigh-1370637 (accessed May 30, 2023).