Conjugate 'Retrouver,' to Remember in French

Older couple looking at an photo of themselves in their youth.
PeopleImages / Getty Images

An interesting and very useful French verb, retrouver, has a few meanings. You can use it for "to find again," "to remember," "to recover," or "to regain." The re- prefix indicates "again" and it is added to the verb trouver, which means "to find." Because of this association, you may want to study the two words together.

Before you can use retrouver in conversation, however, you will need to learn its conjugations. This will help you say things such as "I remembered" or "we found again" in French. It isn't a difficult verb, either, and a quick lesson will help you learn the basics.

The Basic Conjugations of Retrouver

Among all the French verb conjugations you can study, retrouver falls into the largest and simplest category. That is because it is a regular -er verb and it follows a very common conjugation pattern you may already know from other verbs.

To begin, we'll study the indicative mood and the basic present, future, and imperfect past tenses. Knowing that the verb stem is retrouv-, you can use the chart to find the correct ending you'll need. Simply match the subject pronoun with the tense to produce words such as je retrouve (I am finding again) and nous retrouverons (we will find again).

Present Future Imperfect
je retrouve retrouverai retrouvais
tu retrouves retrouveras retrouvais
il retrouve retrouvera retrouvait
nous retrouvons retrouverons retrouvions
vous retrouvez retrouverez retrouviez
ils retrouvent retrouveront retrouvaient

Present Participle

As with all regular -er verbs, the present participle of retrouver requires an -ant ending. This produces the word retrouvant.

Compound Past Tense

Using the past participle retrouvé, you can form the passé composé, a common form of the past tense. First, however, you must conjugate the auxiliary verb avoir into the present for the subject. It comes together quickly: j'ai retrouvé means "I found again" and nous avons retrouvé means "we found again."

More Simple Conjugations

In some French conversations, you may also have the need for either the subjunctive or the conditional. The former brings uncertainty to whether something has been found again or remembered. The latter says that the prospect of finding or remembering something is dependent on something else.

In written French, you will likely encounter the passé simple and the imperfect subjunctive. These are literary tenses and reserved for that purpose, but they're still good to memorize.

Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive
je retrouve retrouverais retrouvai retrouvasse
tu retrouves retrouverais retrouvas retrouvasses
il retrouve retrouverait retrouva retrouvât
nous retrouvions retrouverions retrouvâmes retrouvassions
vous retrouviez retrouveriez retrouvâtes retrouvassiez
ils retrouvent retrouveraient retrouvèrent retrouvassent

When you're excited about someone finding or remembering something, the French imperative can be used. The important thing to remember here is that it's okay to drop the subject pronoun.

(tu) retrouve
(nous) retrouvons
(vous) retrouvez
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Team, ThoughtCo. "Conjugate 'Retrouver,' to Remember in French." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). Conjugate 'Retrouver,' to Remember in French. Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "Conjugate 'Retrouver,' to Remember in French." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 8, 2023).