How to Conjugate the French Verb 'Prendre' ('to Take')

'Prendre' is irregular so you'll need to memorize the conjugations

couple looking at French pastries through window
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Prendre, which commonly means "to take," is a very, very frequently used and very flexible irregular French -re verb. Irregular verbs do not follow regular conjugation patterns, but some verbs within an irregular verb group can share a conjugation pattern with at least one other verb.

There are patterns for irregular French -re verbs, and the irregular verb prendre is in one of those groups; in fact, all verbs ending in the root word -prendre are conjugated the same way.

The verbs in this group drop the "d" in all three plural forms and take a double "n" in the third person plural form. 

'Prendre' Is the Model for an Irregular '-re' Verb Subgroup

All French verbs that end in -prendre are conjugated the same way:

'Prendre' Has Many Meanings

In use, prendre usually means "to take," both literally and figuratively. But, depending on the context, it is such a flexible verb that it can also mean come over, strike; catch; take in, dupe, fool; handle, deal with; set; do well, catch on, be successful; catch, start; and when used with another verb, pick up or fetch.

The pronominal se prendre has several meanings as well, such that it can mean to consider oneself; to get caught, trapped; blame, challenge, attack (s'en prendre à); and do something about it (s'y prendre à).

'Prendre" is Used in Many Idiomatic Expressions

There are a lot of idiomatic expressions using the French verb prendre. Here are a few:

  •    ​Prendre sa retraite > to retire
  •    Prendre une décision > to make a decision
  •    Prendre un verre (informal) > to have a drink
  •    Qu'est-ce qui t'a pris ? > What's gotten into you?
  •   Être pris > to be tied up, busy

Below are the important simple conjugations of the French irregular verb prendre, and all verbs that share its conjugation. It does not include conjugations of the compound forms of prendre, which include some form of the auxiliary verb avoir and the past participle pris

Simple Conjugations of the French Verb 'Prendre'

 Present Future Imperfect Present participle
ilprendprendraprenaitPassé composé
nousprenonsprendronsprenions   Auxiliary verb avoir
vousprenezprendrezpreniez   Past participlepris
 Subjunctive Conditional Passé simple Imperfect subjunctive
(nous) prenons