How to Conjugate the French Verb "Rester" (to Stay)

Learn the French Words for "Staying" and "Stayed"

Caucasian girl sitting on kitchen floor feeding dog
"Reste!" is how to say 'stay' to your dog in French. Terry Vine/Getty Images

Rester is the French verb that means "to stay" or "to remain." This is a very useful word and one you'll want to add to your vocabulary.

To use rester properly, you'll need to study its conjugations. This will allow you to say "I am staying," "he stayed" and similar phrases. The good news is that rester is a regular verb, so it's a little easier to memorize than others.

The Basic Conjugations of Rester

Rester is a regular -er verb, meaning it follows a very common conjugation pattern.

If you have studied other French verbs like passer (to pass) or visiter (to visit), you can apply the same infinitive endings you already know to this verb.

The indicative mood is the most common and these are the forms of rester that you'll use most often for the basic present, future, and imperfect past tenses. Using the verb stem (or radical) rest-, you will add a variety of endings to match both the subject pronoun and the tense of your sentence.

The chart will help you memorize these various forms. For example, "I am staying" is je reste and "we will stay" is nous resterons. Your daily life should have plenty of opportunities to practice this verb and the more you use it, the easier it is to remember.

 Present Future Imperfect

The Present Participle of Rester

When we add an -ant ending to the stem of rester, the result is the present participle restant.

Rester in the Compound Past Tense

While there are other compound forms you can study, we'll focus on the most common for this lesson. The passé composé is used for the past tense and requires the auxiliary verb être as well as the past participle resté.

The only conjugation required for this is être into the present tense for the subject.

The past participle remains unchanged and takes care of implying that the action happened in the past. For example, "I stayed" is je suis resté and "we stayed" is nous sommes resté.

You can see how this can be much easier than memorizing all those imperfect forms, but don't skip those just to save time. Your French teacher may require you use them.

More Simple Conjugations of Rester

The rester conjugations above should be your top priority, though there are a few more simple conjugations you may need from time to time. They each have their own purpose and are good to know.

For instance, when the action is uncertain, the subjunctive is used. In an "if...then" situation, you can use the conditional. Less frequently, you may even need the the passé simple or imperfect subjunctive, though these tend to be for formal uses.

 SubjunctiveConditionalPassé SimpleImperfect Subjunctive

If you want to command your dog to "Stay!" in French, you can use the imperative form. For this, you can skip the subject pronoun and simplify it to "Reste !" Of course, it has other uses, but the idea of training your dog in French is a fun idea.

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Lawless, Laura K. "How to Conjugate the French Verb "Rester" (to Stay)." ThoughtCo, Dec. 11, 2017, Lawless, Laura K. (2017, December 11). How to Conjugate the French Verb "Rester" (to Stay). Retrieved from Lawless, Laura K. "How to Conjugate the French Verb "Rester" (to Stay)." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 20, 2018).