How to Conjugate the French Verb "Tenir"

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In French, the verb tenir means "to hold" or "to keep." In its most common form, the verb describes literal physical action, as in "She holds a suitcase." But you can also use it to express an emotional attachment you have to something, such as a pet or a treasured possession. Tenir can also be used to express causality, much as the phrases "due to" or "because of" do in English, or to indicate the recipient of an action.



Tenir is an irregular verb. Here's how you conjugate it:

 PresentFutureImperfectPresent participle
iltienttiendratenaitPassé composé
nous tenonstiendronstenions   Auxiliary verbavoir
vousteneztiendrezteniez   Past participle tenu
 SubjunctiveConditional Passé simpleImperfect subjunctive
(tu)tiensVerb conjugation pattern  Tenir is an irregular verb
All French verbs ending in -venir and -tenir are
conjugated this way.         Using tenir   Expressions with tenir
(nous) tenons 

Related Verbs

There are a number of related verbs that use tenir as their root. All French verbs that end in tenir are conjugated the same way.

Some of the most common include:

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

soutenir   to support

Verbs that end in venir follow the same conjugation pattern, except that most of them need être as the auxiliary verb.