How to Conjugate "Utiliser" (to Use) in French

A Quick Lesson in the Conjugations for a Very Useful Verb

In French, the verb utiliser means "to use." This is pretty easy to remember because it looks and sounds like the English word "utilize."

French students will be happy to know that the conjugations are almost as easy. That's because it's a regular verb, so transforming utiliser into the French for "using" or "used" follows a very common rule. This lesson will explain everything you need to know.

The Basic Conjugations of Utiliser

French verb conjugations are a bit of a challenge because you have to memorize a new verb for every tense as well as every subject pronoun within that tense.

This gives you five extra words to study, but utiliser is a regular -er verb. It uses the same infinitive endings as the majority of French verbs, making each new one easier to memorize.

The indicative mood is where we find the basic present, future, and imperfect past tenses. These should be your top priority when studying utiliser. Using the stem (or radical) utilis- and the chart, match the subject pronoun to the appropriate tense to find the proper ending. For instance, "I am using" is j'utilise and "we will use" is nous utiliserons.

If you practice these in context using short sentences it will help you learn them faster. Luckily, utiliser is such a useful word that you'll have endless opportunities to use it.

 Present Future Imperfect

The Present Participle of Utiliser

The present participle of utiliser is utilisant. This was created by simply adding -ant to the verb stem. That's another rule you can keep in mind that works for almost every verb ending in -er.

Utiliser in the Compound Past Tense

When it comes to the past tense, you have the choice between the imperfect or a compound known as the passé composé.

This one requires a quick construction using the auxiliary verb avoir and the past participle utilisé.

When forming the passé composé, conjugate avoir into the present tense appropriate to the subject. Then, attach the past participle, which indicates the act of using already happened. For example, "I used" is j'ai utilisé and "we used" is nous avons utilisé.

More Simple Conjugations of Utiliser

Among the other useful and equally simple conjugations of utiliser that you may need are the subjunctive and the conditional. Where the subjunctive questions that the action will take place, the conditional says that it's dependent on something else.

While it's not a bad idea to add the the passé simple or imperfect subjunctive to your vocabulary, it's often not a necessity. These are used only on occasion, but you should be able to at least recognize each as a form of utiliser.

 SubjunctiveConditionalPassé SimpleImperfect Subjunctive

The one conjugation that does not require the subject pronoun is the imperative.

For this, you can simplify your sentence from tu utilise to utilise.

(nous) utilisons
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Lawless, Laura K. "How to Conjugate "Utiliser" (to Use) in French." ThoughtCo, Nov. 17, 2017, Lawless, Laura K. (2017, November 17). How to Conjugate "Utiliser" (to Use) in French. Retrieved from Lawless, Laura K. "How to Conjugate "Utiliser" (to Use) in French." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 17, 2018).