Learn to Conjugate "Tourner" (to Turn) in French

An Introductory Lesson to the Conjugations of a Regular Verb

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If you guessed that the French verb tourner means "to turn," you would be correct. The similarities between the English and French make it easy to remember. French students will be happy to know that this is a regular verb, so conjugating it isn't too difficult, either.

The Basic Conjugations of Tourner

Among all the French verb conjugations you can study, tourner falls into the largest category. As a regular -er verb, the conjugation pattern you see here is the same for the majority of French verbs, including retourner (to return), tomber (to fall), and countless others. Consider studying a few at a time to make each just a little easier to remember.

To begin, the indicative mood includes the basic forms of tourner. Here you will find the present, future, and imperfect past tenses, which you will use frequently in French conversations.

Start by recognizing the verb stem (or radical) as tourn-. From there, use the chart to learn which ending is applied that corresponds to both the subject pronoun and the tense of your sentence. You will get results such as je tourne (I am turning) and nous tournerons (we will turn).

Present Future Imperfect
je tourne tournerai tournais
tu tournes tourneras tournais
il tourne tournera tournait
nous tournons tournerons tournions
vous tournez tournerez tourniez
ils tournent tourneront tournaient

The Present Participle of Tourner

As with all regular -er verbs, the present participle is formed by adding -ant to the radical. This produces the word tournant.

Tourner in the Compound Past Tense

You will use the past participle tourné and an auxiliary verb when forming the passé composé of tourner. This is the compound past tense used often in French. 

To form it, conjugate avoir to the present tense, then add tourné. This results in things like j'ai tourné (I turned) and nous avons tourné (we turned).

More Simple Conjugations of Tourner

Your use of tourner in French conversations will have a good foundation if you concentrate on the forms above. It will be even better if you know the subjunctive and the conditional forms. Each has their use in further defining your meaning: the subjunctive questions the act of turning and the conditional says its dependent on conditions.

In written French, it is very likely that you will find the passé simple and the imperfect subjunctive. While they may not be used frequently, they are still good to know.

Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive
je tourne tournerais tournai tournasse
tu tournes tournerais tournas tournasses
il tourne tournerait tourna tournât
nous tournions tournerions tournâmes tournassions
vous tourniez tourneriez tournâtes tournassiez
ils tournent tourneraient tournèrent tournassent

When you want to tell someone to "Turn!" or use tourner in similarly direct sentences, the imperative is used. This is where you can skip the subject pronoun and simplify it to "Tourne !"


(tu)         tourne

(nous)    tournons​​

(vous)     tournez

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Team, ThoughtCo. "Learn to Conjugate "Tourner" (to Turn) in French." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, thoughtco.com/tourner-to-turn-1370966. Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). Learn to Conjugate "Tourner" (to Turn) in French. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/tourner-to-turn-1370966 Team, ThoughtCo. "Learn to Conjugate "Tourner" (to Turn) in French." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/tourner-to-turn-1370966 (accessed March 24, 2023).