How to Conjugate the French Verb "Réfléchir" (to Reflect)

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Réflécher is the verb that means "to reflect" or "to think" in French. It's a rather easy one to remember because it resembles the English word "reflect."

French students will also be happy to know that this is a pretty easy verb conjugation. After this lesson, you'll know the most basic ways to use réfléchir in the present, past, and future tenses.

The Basic Conjugations of Réfléchir

Verb conjugations allow us to give French verbs like réfléchir meanings such as "I reflected" in the past tense or "she is reflecting" in the present tense. While French does make you memorize more forms of each verb than English does, you can use what you've already learned with other verbs to study this one.

Réfléchir is a regular -ir verb, so it uses a very common conjugation pattern that tells us which ending to use. First, however, you must recognize the verb stem: réfléch-. Using that and the chart below, find the correct ending by looking for the subject pronoun and the tense that matches your subject. For example, "I am reflecting" is je réfléchis and "we will reflect" is nous réfléchirons.

Present Future Imperfect
je réfléchis réfléchirai réfléchissais
tu réfléchis réfléchiras réfléchissais
il réfléchit réfléchira réfléchissait
nous réfléchissons réfléchirons réfléchissions
vous réfléchissez réfléchirez réfléchissiez
ils réfléchissent réfléchiront réfléchissaient

The Present Participle of Réfléchir

The present participle of réfléchir is formed by adding -ssant to the verb stem. This results in the word réfléchissant.

Réfléchir in the Compound Past Tense

For the past tense, you can use the imperfect, though the passé composé is a good option as well. It's a compound that requires you to conjugate the auxiliary verb avoir to the present tense, then attach the past participle réfléchi. For example, "I thought" is j'ai réfléchi and "we thought" is nous avons réfléchi.

More Simple Conjugations of Réfléchir

While the conjugations above should be your first priority because they're used most often, there are a few more you may need to know. For instance, the subjunctive is used when you have a question about the act of thinking. Likewise, the conditional says that someone will think only if something else also happens. Though they're not used as often, it is a good idea to also know the passé simple and the imperfect subjunctive.

Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive
je réfléchisse réfléchirais réfléchis réfléchisse
tu réfléchisses réfléchirais réfléchis réfléchisses
il réfléchisse réfléchirait réfléchit réfléchît
nous réfléchissions réfléchirions réfléchîmes réfléchissions
vous réfléchissiez réfléchiriez réfléchîtes réfléchissiez
ils réfléchissent réfléchiraient réfléchirent réfléchissent

If you need to use réfléchir in short commands or requests, the imperative form is useful. This is the one instance when it's perfectly acceptable to skip the subject pronoun. You can shorten nous réfléchissons to réfléchissons.

(tu) réfléchis
(nous) réfléchissons
(vous) réfléchissez
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Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugate the French Verb "Réfléchir" (to Reflect)." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). How to Conjugate the French Verb "Réfléchir" (to Reflect). Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugate the French Verb "Réfléchir" (to Reflect)." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 10, 2023).