How to Conjugate "Traverser" (to Cross) in French

A Quick Lesson in the Basic Conjugations of "Traverser"

The French verb traverser means "to cross," as in to traverse something. That makes it a little easier to remember, though you'll also need to know how to conjugate the verb. A short lesson will introduce you to the basic conjugations so you can use it in French to say things like "I crossed" or "we're crossing."

The Basic Conjugations of Traverser

French students who have studied other verbs will recognize the conjugation patterns used for traverser.

That's because this is a regular -er verb, meaning it follows the most common pattern found in the French language. If you have studied words like penser (to think) or porter (to carry), the infinitive endings used here will look familiar.

The most common conjugations are the imperative mood for the present, future, and imperfect past tenses. Using the chart, locate the correct conjugation by matching the subject pronoun with the appropriate tense for the subject. This will tell you which ending is added to the verb stem of travers-. For example, "I am crossing" is je traverse and "we crossed" is nous traversions

 Present Future Imperfect

The Present Participle of Traverser

Adding an -ant ending to the stem of traverser gives you the present participle of traversant.

Traverser in the Compound Past Tense

The passé composé is a compound past tense that is often used in French and you might find it easier than the imperfect. That's because you only need to conjugate the auxiliary verb avoir into the present tense to match the subject, then attach the past participle traversé.

The construction is rather easy. For example, "I crossed" is j'ai traversé and "we crossed" is nous avons traversé. Even though avoir is in the present tense, the past participle takes over the job of explaining that the action has already taken place.

More Simple Conjugations of Traverser

There are a number of other conjugations of traverser and each has a different purpose, but we're going to stick with the essentials for this lesson. As you expand your vocabulary, you might want to imply that the action of crossing may or may not happen. In that case, you'll use the subjunctive. If, however, the crossing won't happen unless something else does, you can use the conditional

On rare occasions, you might encounter the passé simple or imperfect subjunctive. While they're not essential additions to your French vocabulary, they are good to know.

 SubjunctiveConditionalPassé SimpleImperfect Subjunctive

Let's suppose that you need to tell someone to "Cross!" in an emergency or some other situation that requires a quick, short command.

In these instances, you can turn to the imperative form of traverser. When using it, skip the subject pronoun and simply say, "Traverse !"

(nous) traversons