How to Conjugate the French Verb 'Rater' ('to Miss, Fail')

Simple conjugations for the French verb rater

Rater, pronounced "rah tay," is a French verb that's conjugated like all French regular -er verbs. It means literally "to miss, fail, go wrong, make a mess of," as in:

  • Ça ne rate jamais. > It never fails.
  • Anne a raté son train. > Anne missed her train.
  • Robert a raté son pizza. > Robert made a mess of his pizza.

Expressions and Usage

  • La bombe a raté sa cible. > The bomb missed its target.  
  • rate le bac > fail the high school diploma
  • rater le bus, le coche > to miss the bus, coach / miss the window of opportunity
  • rater la correspondance > miss the connection
  • Tue viens de la rater. > You just missed her.
  • Occasion à ne pas rater > an opportunity not to be missed
  • (familiar) Je t'avais dit qu'elle serait en retard, et ça n'a pas raté ! > I told you she'd be late, and sure enough she was !
  • Tais-toi. Tu vas tout faire rater ! > Be quiet or you'll ruin everything !
  • Le coup a raté.  > The gun failed to go off. 
  • (Familiar) J'ai raté mon coup. > I made a mess of it.
  • C'est une émission à ne pas rater. > This programme is a must.
  • Il rate toujours les mayonnaises. > His mayonnaise always goes wrong.
  • Rater sa vie > to make a mess of one's life
  • (pronominal reflexive) Il s'est coupé les cheveux lui-même, et il s'est complètement raté !  > He cut his hair himself and made a complete mess of it !
  • Elle est tombée de vélo, elle ne s'est pas ratée ! > She fell off her bike, but she didn't hurt herself.

    'Rater' Is a Regular French '-er' Verb

    The majority of French verbs are regular -er verbs, as rater is. (There are five main kinds of verbs in French: regular -er, -ir, -re verbs; stem-changing verbs; and irregular verbs.)

    To conjugate a regular French -er verb, remove the -er ending from the infinitive to reveal the verb's stem.

    Then add the regular -er endings to the stem. Note that all regular -er verbs share conjugation patterns in all tenses and moods.

    Below are all the simple conjugations of the verb rater. The compound conjugations, which include a conjugated form of the auxiliary verb avoir and the past participle raté, are not included.

    You can apply the same endings in the table to any of the regular French -er verbs listed below.


    French regular -er verbs, by far the largest group of French verbs, share a conjugation pattern. Here are just a few of the most common regular -er verbs:

    • aimer > to like, to love
    • arriver > to arrive, to happen
    • chanter > to sing
    • chercher > to look for
    • commencer* > to begin
    • danse > to dance
    • demander > to ask for
    • dépenser > to spend (money)
    • détester > to hate
    • donner > to give
    • écouter > to listen to
    • étudier** > to study
    • fermer > to close
    • goûte > to taste
    • jouer > to play
    • laver > to wash
    • manger* > to eat
    • nager* > to swim
    • parler > to talk, to speak
    • passe > to pass, spend (time)
    • penser > to think
    • porter > to wear, to carry
    • regarder > to watch, to look at
    • rêver > to dream
    • sembler > to seem
    • skier** > to ski
    • travailler > to work
    • trouve > to find
    • visiter > to visit (a place)
    • voler > to fly, to steal

    *All regular -er verbs are conjugated according to the regular -er verb conjugation pattern, except for one small irregularity in verbs that end in -ger and -cer, known as spelling-change verbs.

    **Though conjugated just like regular -er verbs, watch out for verbs that end in -ier.

    Simple Conjugations of the Regular French '-er' Verb 'Rater'

     Present Future ImperfectImperative
     SubjunctiveConditionalPassé simpleImperfect subjunctive

    Present participle: ratant