French Conjugations of "Répondre" (to Answer)

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The French verb répondre means "to answer." It's a very useful addition to your French vocabulary and one that you probably hear often from your teacher. In order to use it correctly in sentences, though, you'll want to know how to conjugate it. This helps you say things like "I am answering" and "we answered." This French lesson will help you learn the basic conjugations you'll need.

The Basic Conjugations of Répondre

French verb conjugations are very similar to English. Where we add endings like -ing and -ed to indicate the present or past tense, French adds a variety of endings that match the subject pronoun as well. This does make it a bit more complicated, but it gets easier with each new verb you study.

Répondre is a regular -re verb, meaning it follows the same conjugation patterns as other verbs that end in -re. To begin, you must identify the verb stem (or radical), which is répond-. Since it is similar to "respond" and that means the same thing as "answer" in English, this one can be a little easier to remember.

Using the chart, you can study the various endings that are added to the stem to form the most basic and useful forms of répondre. Simply match up the subject pronoun with the tense that is appropriate for your sentence. For example, "I am answering" is je réponds and "we will answer" is nous répondrons.

Present Future Imperfect
je réponds répondrai répondais
tu réponds répondras répondais
il répond répondra répondait
nous répondons répondrons répondions
vous répondez répondrez répondiez
ils répondent répondront répondaient

The Present Participle of Répondre

The present participle for regular French verbs is formed by adding -ant to the verb stem. For répondre, that results in répondant.

Répondre in the Compound Past Tense

The only compound past tense we'll study in this lesson is the passé composé as it is used most often. It's an alternative to the imperfect and requires the use of the auxiliary verb avoir and the past participle répondu.

This one is relatively easy because the only conjugations you have to remember are the present tenses of avoir. Conjugate that to match the subject, then attach the past participle, which indicates that the action already took place. For example, "I answered" is j'ai répondu and "we answered" is nous avons répondu.

More Simple Conjugations of Répondre

It's a good idea to commit the conjugations of répondre above to memory first. Once you learn those, consider adding a few more simple forms to your vocabulary because they can be quite useful.

For instance, when the action of answering may or may not happen, you can use the subjunctive. The conditional implies that someone will answer only if something else happens. In formal French, you may encounter either the passé simple or the imperfect subjunctive, though these are rare and aren't necessarily a priority.

Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive
je réponde répondrais répondis répondisse
tu répondes répondrais répondis répondisses
il réponde répondrait répondit répondît
nous répondions répondrions répondîmes répondissions
vous répondiez répondriez répondîtes répondissiez
ils répondent répondraient répondirent répondissent

Very useful for répondrethe imperative form allows you to be assertive for demands such as "Answer!" When using it, skip the formalities and leave out the subject pronoun, simplifying it to, "Réponds !"

(tu) réponds
(nous) répondons
(vous) répondez
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Team, ThoughtCo. "French Conjugations of "Répondre" (to Answer)." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). French Conjugations of "Répondre" (to Answer). Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "French Conjugations of "Répondre" (to Answer)." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 4, 2023).