How to Conjugate "Valoir" (to Value) in French

A Brief Lesson in a Tricky Verb Conjugation

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Valoir means "to be worth" in French. This verb is easier to remember if you associate it with the English word "value," which is how we often refer to how much something is worth. 

When you want to use valoir in the past tense "was worth" or the future tense "will be worth," you'll need to know its conjugations. A quick lesson will help you learn the simplest and most useful forms of valoir that you will need for conversations.

The Basic Conjugations of Valoir

French verb conjugations are required for correct grammar. They allow us to transform the verb into various tenses to indicate when the act took place. The trick with French, though, is that you have to learn a new form for each subject pronoun within each tense. This does give you more words to memorize, but it does get easier with time and with each new verb you add to your vocabulary.

Valoir is an irregular verb, so you cannot rely on any common conjugation patterns that you may already know. Instead, you will need to commit each of these to memory.

We'll begin with the indicative verb mood, which includes the most basic ways to say valoir in the present, future, and imperfect past tenses. Notice how the verb stem changes dramatically, sometimes including the val- stem and sometimes changing it to vau-. This is why valoir is one of the more challenging verbs to study.

Using the chart, pair the subject pronoun with the proper tense for your subject. For instance, "I am worth" is je vaux and "we were worth" is nous valions.

Present Future Imperfect
je vaux vaudrai valais
tu vaux vaudras valais
il vaut vaudra valait
nous valons vaudrons valions
vous valez vaudrez valiez
ils valent vaudront valaient

The Present Participle of Valoir

Possibly the easiest conjugation for valoir is the present participle. This one does follow a common rule, adding -ant to the verb stem to create valant.

Valoir in the Compound Past Tense

The compound past tense is known in French as the passé composé and it is common as well. To form it, you will need to conjugate the auxiliary verb avoir to the subject in the present tense, then add the past participle valu. For example, "I was worth" is j'ai valu and "we were worth" is nous avons valu.

More Simple Conjugations of Valoir

It's a good idea to finish your study of valoir with a few more simple conjugations. They each have their use in special circumstances and as you become more fluent, they may become useful. 

The subjunctive, for instance, calls the act into question in some way. The conditional, on the other hand, says it's dependent on something else. In formal writing, you may encounter the literary tenses of the the passé simple or the imperfect subjunctive.

Subjunctive Conditional Passé Simple Imperfect Subjunctive
je vaille vaudrais valus valusse
tu vailles vaudrais valus valusses
il vaille vaudrait valut valût
nous valions vaudrions valûmes valussions
vous valiez vaudriez valûtes valussiez
ils vaillent vaudraient valurent valussent

You may not need to use valoir in the imperative form because it's typically used for exclamations and it doesn't make much sense to say "Worth!" Yet, if you ever do find yourself in need of it, know that you can skip the subject pronoun.

(tu) vaux
(nous) valons
(vous) valez
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Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugate "Valoir" (to Value) in French." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). How to Conjugate "Valoir" (to Value) in French. Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Conjugate "Valoir" (to Value) in French." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 30, 2023).