How to Conjugate "Regretter" (to Regret) in French

You Won't "Regret" Adding This Verb to Your Vocabulary

Regretful senior woman near window

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As you might suspect, the French verb regretter means "to regret." While the English-French similarity makes remembering the word easy enough, it still needs to be conjugated to make a complete sentence. It's not a very challenging verb, though, and French students with some experience will find this lesson relatively easy.

The Basic Conjugations of Regretter

Regretter is a regular -er verb, so transforming it to mean "regretted," "regretting," or "will regret" uses the same endings as most French verbs. If you have previously studied common words like tomber (to fall) or tourner (to turn), the same rules you already know will apply here.

The conjugation patterns are most apparent in the indicative mood, which includes the frequently used present, future, and imperfect past tenses. The chart will show you, for instance, that an e is added to the verb stem (regrett-) to form je regrette (I am regretting). If you add -ions, you get the imperfect nous regrettions (we regretted).

After a few verbs, these endings become easier to remember and practicing regretter in simple sentences will also help.

Present Future Imperfect
je regrette regretterai regrettais
tu regrettes regretteras regrettais
il regrette regrettera regrettait
nous regrettons regretterons regrettions
vous regrettez regretterez regrettiez
ils regrettent regretteront regrettaient

The Present Participle of Regretter

The present participle of regretter uses the same -ant ending as all other regular verbs with this ending. This gives you the word regrettant, which, at times, can act as a noun or adjective as well as a verb.

Regretter in the Compound Past Tense

In French, the compound past tense is known as the passé composé. It requires two elements, the first of which is the present tense conjugate of the auxiliary verb avoir. The other is the past participle regretté. The two combine to form phrases such as j'ai regretté (I regretted) and nous avons regretté (we regretted).

More Simple Conjugations of Regretter

You will find a few more basic conjugations helpful in your French conversations. For instance, should you feel that the act of regretting is uncertain, the subjunctive can help you imply that. Similarly, the conditional says that someone will have regrets only if something else happens as well.

Both the passé simple and imperfect subjunctive are literary forms. They're used almost exclusively in French literature rather than conversation, though they are good to know.

Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive
je regrette regretterais regrettai regrettasse
tu regrettes regretterais regrettas regrettasses
il regrette regretterait regretta regrettât
nous regrettions regretterions regrettâmes regrettassions
vous regrettiez regretteriez regrettâtes regrettassiez
ils regrettent regretteraient regrettèrent regrettassent

Should you find yourself needing to use regretter in short and very direct statements, you can use the imperative. The main thing to remember here is that the subject pronoun is not required: use regrette rather than tu regrette.

Imperative
(tu) regrette
(nous) regrettons
(vous) regrettez