How to Conjugation "Plaire" (to Please) in French

A Quick Conjugation Lesson for a Useful, Irregular Verb

Woman embracing friend during visit for dinner party
She is pleased to see her friends.  Luis Alvarez / Getty Images

The French verb plaire means "to please." It's a word you will use frequently in conversation, so you'll want to know how to conjugate it. This lesson will show you how to do that and produce the simplest forms of the present, past, and future tenses.

The Basic Conjugations of Plaire

All French verbs require conjugations, though some are more challenging than others. Plaire is one of those difficult ones because it is an irregular verb.

While it does not follow a very common conjugation pattern, it is similar to other verbs that end in -re, such as déplaire (to displease). While you're studying this lesson, you can also learn déplaire by applying the same infinitive endings to that verb.

The first step to any conjugation is to identify the verb stem. For plaire, that is plai-. Next, it's best to study the indicative mood, which includes the basic present, future, and imperfect past tenses seen in the chart below.

To study the conjugations, simply match the subject pronoun to the tense of your sentence. For instance, "I am pleased" is je plais and "we were pleased" is nous plaisions.

Present Future Imperfect
je plais plairai plaisais
tu plais plairas plaisais
il plaît plaira plaisait
nous plaisons plairons plaisions
vous plaisez plairez plaisiez
ils plaisent plairont plaisaient

The Present Participle of Plaire

When forming the present participle, plaire is not irregular because it adds -ant to the verb stem, like most other French verbs. This gives you the present participle of plaisant.

Plaire in the Compound Past Tense

The easiest ways to express the past tense is with either the imperfect or the passé composé. The latter is a compound that requires the auxiliary verb avoir and the past participle plu.

To form this, simply conjugate avoir to the present tense for the subject, then attach the past participle. For example, "I was pleased" is j'ai plu and "we were pleased" is nous avons plu.

More Simple Conjugations of Plaire

There are a few other simple conjugations that you may need when using plaire. The subjunctive, for example, is used to question the act of pleasing, where the conditional is used in an "if...then" situation. On rare occasions, you may also need to know the passé simple or the imperfect subjunctive.

Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive
je plaise plairais plus plusse
tu plaises plairais plus plusses
il plaise plairait plut plût
nous plaisions plairions plûmes plussions
vous plaisiez plairiez plûtes plussiez
ils plaisent plairaient plurent plussent

Short and rather direct commands are used in the imperative verb mood. When using this, all formality is dropped, so there's no need to include the subject pronoun. Use plais rather than tu plais.

(tu) plais
(nous) plaisons
(vous) plaisez
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Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugation "Plaire" (to Please) in French." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). How to Conjugation "Plaire" (to Please) in French. Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugation "Plaire" (to Please) in French." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 30, 2023).