How to Conjugate the Irregular French Verb 'Soutenir' ('to Support')

'Soutenir' is conjugated like other verbs ending in '-tenir' and '-venir'

Nurse Helping Man Walk
Alcohol Can Delay Healing of Fractures. © Getty Images

Soutenir ('to support," "to give support to," "to defend," "to maintain") is a common French verb that belongs to one of the groups within irregular -ir verbs that display some conjugation patterns: a first group of verbs that are conjugated like partir; a second group conjugated like verbs ending in -llir, -frir,  or -vrir; almost all of which are conjugated like regular -er verbs; and a third group ending in -enir, such as tenir ("to hold") and venir ("to come"), which follow a shared conjugation pattern in the present tense.

The verb soutenir belongs to the third group of irregular -ir verbs ending in -enir that are conjugated like tenir and venir. Note that the conjugations in the table at the bottom of the page are only those for simple tenses; compound conjugations of soutenir, which include a form of the auxiliary verb avoir and the past participle soutenu, are not included.

There's one major difference in the compound tenses of tenir, venir, and their derivatives: Tenir and its derivatives use avoir as their auxiliary verb, while venir and most of its derivatives use être. There are many verbs conjugated like these two major French verbs.

Other FRENCH VERBS ENDING IN '-TENIR'

Verbs that end in -tenir are all conjugated the same way. They all take avoir as their auxiliary verb.

  • s'abstenir > to refrain, abstain from
  • appartenir > to belong to
  • contenir > to contain
  • détenir > to detain
  • entretenir > to look after, support, foster, keep alive
  • maintenir > to maintain
  • obtenir to obtain
  • retenir > to retain
  • tenir > to hold, keep

FRENCH VERBS ENDING IN '-VENIR'

Most verbs that end in -venir use être as their auxiliary verb. A few, such as circonvenir, prévenir, and se souvenir (see below) use avoir.

  • advenir > to happen
  • circonvenir > to circumvent, get around
  • contrevenir > to contravene
  • convenir > to suit, be suitable
  • devenir > to become
  • intervenir > to intervene
  • parvenir > to reach, achieve
  • prévenir > to warn
  • provenir > to come from, be due to
  • revenir > to come back
  • se souvenir de to remember
  • subvenir > to provide for
  • survenir > to occur, take place
  • venir > to come

Expressions and Examples With 'Soutenir'

  • Sa présence m'a beaucoup soutenue dans cette épreuve. > His presence was a great comfort to me in this ordeal
  • Tu soutiens toujours ta fille contre moi ! > You always side with your daughter against me !
  • soutenir une équipe > to be a fan of / to support a sports team
  • Je pense que nous sommes libres mais elle soutient le contraire> I think that we're free but she claims (that) the opposite is true.
  • Il soutient que tu mens. > He keeps saying that you're a liar.
  • soutenir la comparaison avec > to stand / to bear comparison with
  • soutenir un siège militaire > to withstand a siege
  • soutenir sa thèse > to defend one's thesis
  • se soutenir (reciprocal pronominal) > to stand by each other, to stick together
  • se soutenir (intransitive pronominal) > to hold oneself up, to support oneself
  • Le vieillard n'arrivait plus à se soutenir sur ses jambes. > The old man's legs could no longer support / carry him.
  • Elle se soutenait avec peine. > She could hardly stay upright.

HOW TO MEMORIZE FRENCH VERB CONJUGATIONS

Tip: Concentrate on the most useful tenses (présent, imparfait, passé composé) and get used to using them in context. Once you've mastered them, move on to the rest.

Training with an audio source may also be helpful. There are many liaisons, elisions, and modern glidings used with French verbs, and the written form may mislead you such that you end up using the wrong pronunciation.

Simple Conjugations of the Irregular French '-ir' Verb 'Soutenir'

 Present Future Imperfect Present participle
jesoutienssoutiendraisoutenaissoutenant
tusoutienssoutiendrassoutenais 
ilsoutientsoutiendrasoutenaitPassé composé
nous soutenonssoutiendronssoutenions   Auxiliary verbavoir
voussoutenezsoutiendrezsouteniez   Past participle soutenu
ilssoutiennentsoutiendrontsoutenaient 
 
 Subjunctive Conditional  Passé simple Imperfect subjunctive
jesoutiennesoutiendraissoutinssoutinsse
tusoutiennessoutiendraissoutinssoutinsses
ilsoutiennesoutiendraitsoutintsoutînt
noussoutenionssoutiendrionssoutînmessoutinssions
voussouteniezsoutiendriezsoutîntessoutinssiez
ilssoutiennentsoutiendraientsoutinrentsoutinssent
 
 Imperative 
(tu)soutiens   
 
(nous) soutenons  
(vous)soutenez 
Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Lawless, Laura K. "How to Conjugate the Irregular French Verb 'Soutenir' ('to Support')." ThoughtCo, Oct. 30, 2017, thoughtco.com/soutenir-to-support-1370917. Lawless, Laura K. (2017, October 30). How to Conjugate the Irregular French Verb 'Soutenir' ('to Support'). Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/soutenir-to-support-1370917 Lawless, Laura K. "How to Conjugate the Irregular French Verb 'Soutenir' ('to Support')." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/soutenir-to-support-1370917 (accessed January 22, 2018).