How to Use the Irregular French Verb "Recevoir"

Learn Present, Past, and Other Tenses.

Woman receiving gift from man
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The French verb recevoir (pronounced "ruh-say-v'wah") is one of the more challenging to learn because it's highly irregular once you get into the past tense and other conjugations. Translated as "to receive" or "to get", this verb is so irregular that it doesn't fit in any pattern. 


Recevoir is what's commonly known in French as an irregular ir- verb. These verbs don't follow the regular patterns of conjugation, so students have to memorize them individually.

Other ir- verbs include: asseoir, courir, devoir, falloir, mourir, pleuvoir, pouvoir, recevoir, savoir, tenir, valoir, venir, voir and vouloir.

Verbs 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

Uses and Expressions

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 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