How to Conjugate "Réveiller" (to Wake up)

A Simple Lesson in a Useful French Verb Conjugation

In French, the verb réveiller means "to wake up" or "to awaken." You can remember it by thinking of the "reveille" of a bugle waking soldiers up in the morning. When you want to say things like "I woke up" or "he is waking," you'll need to know how to conjugate the verb. A quick lesson will show you how that's done.

The Basic Conjugations of Réveiller

Some French verbs are simpler to conjugate than others and réveiller falls into the easier category.

That's because it is a regular -er verb, meaning it follows the most common conjugation rules found in the language. If you've studied similar words, you should be a little more comfortable memorizing this one.

As with all conjugations, we must first identify the verb stem: reveill-. To this, a variety of infinitive endings are added to create the various conjugations. All you have to do to learn these endings is look for the subject pronoun and the proper tense in the chart. For instance, "I am waking up" is je réveille and "we woke up" is nous réveillions. You can make these easier to remember by practicing them every morning when you wake up.

 Present FutureImperfect

The Present Participle of Réveiller

As with most French verbs, an -ant ending is added to the verb stem to create the present participle.

For réveiller, that forms the word réveillant.

Réveiller in the Compound Past Tense

A common way to express the past tense in French is the compound known as the passé composé. To form this, you'll need the auxiliary verb avoir as well as the past participle réveillé. It comes together quickly: "I woke up" is j'ai réveillé and "we woke up" is nous avons réveillé.

Notice how avoir was conjugated into the present tense according to the subject. Also, the past participle doesn't change, but it does take over the job of indicating that the act has already happened.

More Simple Conjugations of Réveiller

At times, you may need a few more simple forms of réveiller. The subjunctive, for example, implies some uncertainty to the action while the conditional says someone will wake up only if something else happens (the alarm goes off, perhaps). The passé simple and the imperfect subjunctive are used less frequently but are good to know nonetheless.

 SubjunctiveConditionalPassé SimpleImperfect Subjunctive

The imperative verb mood is very useful with a verb like réveiller. It allows you to quickly command someone to "Wake up!" When using it, skip the subject pronoun and simply say, "Réveille !"

(nous) réveillons