How to Conjugate the French Verb "Pleuvoir" (to Rain)

Learn How to Tell Someone "It's Raining" in French

Woman in a rainy season
Elitsa Deykova

Meaning "to rain," the French verb pleuvoir is an easy one to study. That's because it's an impersonal verb, which means you don't have a lot of conjugations to memorize. A brief lesson will walk you through the steps for say "rained," "raining," and "will rain" in French.

Pleuvoir Is an Impersonal Verb

A rarity in the French language, pleuvoir falls into the category of impersonal verbs. That means you will only have to worry about the il forms in the present, future, and imperfect past tenses.

The reason for this is quite simple: only "it" can rain. Think about it for a minute. It is impossible for a human to rain, so that eliminates the need for all the other subject pronouns. "I" cannot rain, "you" cannot rain, and "we" cannot rain.

Despite the fact that pleuvoir is an irregular verb, this lesson is much easier because you don't have so many words to memorize. All you have to do is determine which tense is appropriate for your sentence. For example, "it is raining" is il pleut and "it rained" is il pleuvait. A fun expression to practice this in is, "Il pleut de cordes," meaning "It's raining cats and dogs."

Present Future Imperfect
il pleut pleuvra pleuvait

The Present Participle of Pleuvoir

Pleuvoir may be irregular, but when forming the present participle, you will use the same ending as the majority of other verbs. Simply attach -ant to the verb stem pleuv- and you get pleuvant.

Pleuvoir in the Compound Past Tense

A common way to express "it rained" is with the compound past tense known as passé composé. This requires the auxiliary verb avoir and the past participle plu. Again, you only need to know the il present tense conjugate of avoir, so this results in il a plu.

More Simple Conjugations of Pleuvoir

Studying the other basic conjugations of pleuvoir is just as easy because there's only one subject pronoun to worry about. While the subjunctive says it may or may not rain, the conditional implies that it will only rain if something else happens. Both of these are very useful given the uncertainty of the weather.

There may also be times when you encounter the passé simple or imperfect subjunctive forms of this verb. However, there is no imperative form of promener.

Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive
il pleuve pleuvrait plut plût
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugate the French Verb "Pleuvoir" (to Rain)." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). How to Conjugate the French Verb "Pleuvoir" (to Rain). Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugate the French Verb "Pleuvoir" (to Rain)." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 5, 2023).