How to Conjugate "Respecter" (to Respect) in French

An Introduction to a Very Useful Verb Conjugation

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If you guessed that respecter means "to respect" in French, you would be correct. However, when you want to say things such as "she respected" in the past tense or "we will respect" in the future tense, the verb will need to be conjugated. The purpose of this French lesson is to help you learn the most basic forms of respecter.

The Basic Conjugations of Respecter

French verb conjugations can be quite complicated.

Not only do you have to memorize quite a few words, you also have to watch out for verbs that don't follow the rules. The great news is that respecter likes rules and it follows the most common conjugation pattern found in French.

Respecter is a regular -er verb and the endings you learn here are used for the majority of French verbs. That does make each new one you learn just a little easier than the last. 

The first step in any conjugation is to find the verb stem. For respecter, that is respect-. To this, a variety of endings are added to correspond with both the subject pronoun and the tense of your sentence. For example, an -e is added for the present je respecte (I am respecting) and -ions is added for the imperfect nous respections (we respected).

 Present Future Imperfect
jerespecterespecterairespectais
turespectesrespecterasrespectais
ilrespecterespecterarespectait
nousrespectonsrespecteronsrespections
vousrespectezrespecterezrespectiez
ilsrespectentrespecterontrespectaient

The Present Participle of Respecter

When you add -ant to these regular verbs, you're always forming the present participle. For respecter, that gives you the word respectant. Not only is it a verb, it may also be a noun or adjective under certain circumstances.

Respecter in the Compound Past Tense

The passé composé is a common way to express the past tense in French.

It's a compound that requires two elements: the present tense conjugate of avoir and the past participle respecté. When you combine the two, you get phrases such as j'ai respecté (I respected) and nous avons respecté (we respected).

More Simple Conjugations of Respecter

While respecter does have more conjugations, a few more of the simplest will round off this lesson and give your vocabulary a solid foundation. Verb moods like the subjunctive can help you imply uncertainty to the act of respecting, for instance. At the same time, the conditional is very useful if that action is dependent on something.

Used with less frequency, the passé simple and the imperfect subjunctive are also good to study. These are literary tenses and found more often in written French than in conversation.

 SubjunctiveConditionalPassé SimpleImperfect Subjunctive
jerespecterespecteraisrespectairespectasse
turespectesrespecteraisrespectasrespectasses
ilrespecterespecteraitrespectarespectât
nousrespectionsrespecterionsrespectâmesrespectassions
vousrespectiezrespecteriezrespectâtesrespectassiez
ilsrespectentrespecteraientrespectèrentrespectassent

If you find yourself in need of forcefully or directly demanding respect, you can use the imperative.

When you do use it, it's perfectly fine to drop the subject pronoun: tu respecte becomes respecte.

 Imperative
(tu)respecte
(nous) respectons
(vous)respectez