How to Use the French Verb "Vivre" (to Live)

French Vivre conjugation

The French verb vivre (pronounced "veev-ruh") is a highly irregular -re verb with a conjugation that doesn't follow any pattern. Translated, it means "to live" and is one of the most common in the language. Other irregular -re verbs include: absoudre, boire, clore, conclure, conduire, confire, connaître, coudre, croire, dire, écrire, faire, inscrire, lire, moudre, naître, plaire, rire, suivre and vivre. 

Because these words do not follow the regular rules of conjugation, you'll have to memorize each one individually, something many students find challenging at first.

Usage and Expressions

Verbs that end in -vivre, such as revivre and survivre are conjugated the same as vivre. Note that the table below shows only simple conjugations. Compound conjugations, which include a form of the auxiliary verb avoir and the past participle, are not included.

  • Vivre vieux > to live to a ripe old age
  • Elle a vécu jusqu'à 95 ans. > She lived to 95.
  • Il ne lui reste plus longtemps à vivre. > He hasn't got much time left to live.
  • avoir vécu > to have had one's day
  • On ne vit plus. > This isn't a life. / This isn't what you call living.
  • Ils vécurent heureux et eurent beaucoup d'enfants. / And they lived happily ever after.
  • vivre avec quelqu'un > to live / reside with someone
  • être facile à vivre > to be easygoing / to be easy to live with or get along with
  • vivre aux crochets de quelqu'un > to sponge off someone
  • vivre d'amour et d'eau fraîche > to live on love alone
  • vivre des temps difficiles > to live through / experience difficult times
  • Elle a mal vécu mon départ. > She couldn't cope well after I left.
  • Il faut vivre l'instant présent. > We should live for the moment.

    Conjugation

     Present Future Imperfect Present participle
    jevisvivraivivaisvivant
    tuvisvivrasvivais 
    ilvitvivravivaitPassé composé
    nousvivonsvivronsvivions   Auxiliary verb avoir
    vousvivezvivrezviviez   Past participlevécu
    ilsviventvivrontvivaient 
     Subjunctive Conditional Passé simple Imperfect subjunctive
    jevivevivraisvécusvécusse
    tuvivesvivraisvécusvécusses
    ilvivevivraitvécutvécût
    nousvivionsvivrionsvécûmesvécussions
    vousviviezvivriezvécûtesvécussiez
    ilsviventvivraientvécurentvécussent
     Imperative
    (tu)vis 

     
    (nous) vivons 
    (vous)vivez