How to Conjugate "Préparer" (to Prepare) in French

A Quick Lesson That Will "Préparer" You for French Conversations

When you want to say "I am preparing" in French, you'll use the verb préparer, which means "to prepare." Yet, to get it into the present tense, you'll also need to know how to conjugate it. This lesson will introduce you to the simplest conjugations of this very common word so you can use it in the present, past, or future tense whenever you need to.

The Basic Conjugations of Préparer

Many French students dislike verb conjugations because there are many words that you have to memorize.

Where English often just adds an -ing or -ed ending, French changes the ending for every subject pronoun within each tense.

However, the good news is that préparer is a regular -er verb. It uses the same endings as verbs like monter (to go up) and réveiller (to wake up), along with the majority of other French verbs. This means that you can apply what you learned for those conjugations to this one and each new one becomes just a little easier.

We'll begin with the indicative mood, which includes the most basic conjugations for the present, future, and imperfect past tenses. These are the most important and you'll use them all the time, so concentrate on these before moving forward.

To begin, identify the verb stem (or radical): prépar-. Using the chart, you'll find the proper endings that match both the subject and the tense of your sentence. For example, "I am preparing" is je prépare and "we will prepare" is nous préparerons.

 Present Future Imperfect

The Present Participle of Préparer

As with most regular verbs, to form the present participle of préparer, you simply add an -ant to the radical.

This gives you the word préparant.

Préparer in the Compound Past Tense

Another way to express the past tense is with the passé composé. It's a compound and actually a little easier than memorizing all those imperfect forms.

To form it, begin by conjugating the auxiliary verb avoir into the present tense according to your subject. Then, simply attach the past participle préparé, which will indicate that someone has already prepared. For example, "I prepared" is j'ai préparé and "we prepared" is nous avons préparé.

More Simple Conjugations of Préparer

You will also find times in your French conversations when you want to imply uncertainty to the act of preparing. For those, you can use the subjunctive. On the other hand, if something will be prepared only if something else happens, then the conditional is useful.

Used with less frequency, you may also encounter either the passé simple or the imperfect subjunctive. They are good to know or, at the least, be able to recognize as a form of préparer.

 SubjunctiveConditionalPassé SimpleImperfect Subjunctive

When you need to quickly tell someone to prepare, it's acceptable to skip the subject pronoun and use the imperative form. For these, you'll shorten nous préparons to préparons.

(nous) préparons