Learn About the Irregular French Verb Recevoir

woman receiving gift from man
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Recevoir ("to receive, to get") is an irregular French -ir verb, so irregular that it doesn't fit in any pattern. Too bad, because there are two groups of irregular -ir verbs that do demonstrate some patterns. One group includes sortir, partir, dormir and other similar verbs; a second includes couvrir, offrir, souffrir and other similar verbs. 

'Recevoir' Is Highly Irregular

But recevoir is lumped with -ir verbs so irregular they don't fit into any pattern.

The conjugations of these verbs just have to be memorized one at a time: asseoir, courir, devoir, falloir, mourir, pleuvoir, pouvoir, recevoir, savoir, tenir, valoir, venir, voir and vouloir.

Ironically, even though recevoir doesn't fit into any larger group, it does form its own subgroup. All verbs like recevoir that end in -cevoir are conjugated the same way. These include:

  • apercevoir > to catch sight of, to foresee
  • concevoir > to conceive
  • décevoir > to disappoint
  • percevoir > to perceive
  • recevoir > to receive

The table below includes only simple conjugations of the irregular French -ir verb recevoir. It does not include compound tenses, which include a form of the auxiliary verb avoir and the past participle.

'Recevoir': Uses and Expressions

recevoir une salaire > to get paid

recevoir un prix > to be awarded a prize / to be given a prize or award

recevoir un cadeau > to get / receive / be given a gift

recevoir courrier / coup de téléphone > to get mail / to get a telephone call

Veuillez recevoir, Madame, l'expression de mes sentiments les meilleurs ou mes salutations distinguées > Yours sincerely

recevoir un coup sur la tête > to receive a blow to the head

recevoir quelqu'un à dîner > to invite someone to dinner

J'ai été mal reçu. > I was made to feel unwelcome.

La maison peut recevoir six personnes. > The house sleeps six people.

Le médecin reçoit/ne reçoit pas aujourd'hui. > The doctor is / isn't seeing patients today.

se faire recevoir > to get told off

Je n'ai de conseils à recevoir de personne ! > I don't have to take advice from anybody!

Elle sait merveilleusement recevoir. > She's a marvelous hostess. / She's marvelous at entertaining.

Simple Conjugations of the Irregular French '-ir' Verb 'Recevoir'

 Present Future Imperfect Present participle
ilreçoitrecevrarecevaitPassé composé
nousrecevonsrecevronsrecevions   Auxiliary verb avoir
vousrecevezrecevrezreceviez   Past participlereçu
 Subjunctive Conditional Passé simple Imperfect subjunctive

(nous) recevons