Conjugating the Irregular French Verb 'Vivre' ('to Live')

'Vivre' is very irregular, so to learn it you have to memorize it

French Vivre conjugation

Vivre is a highly irregular French -re verb with a conjugation that doesn't follow any pattern. French irregular verbs with infinitives ending in -re fall into five groups that display some patterns: those conjugated like prendre, battre, mettre and rompre, and those ending in -craindre, -peindre and -oindre. 

'Vivre' Is Very Irregular

Vivre doesn't fit into any of those categories. Instead, it is lumped together with -re verbs whose conjugations are so unusual or unwieldy that you have to memorize each one separately.

Try working on one verb a day until you've mastered them all: absoudre, boire, clore, conclure, conduire, confire, connaître, coudre, croire, dire, écrire, faire, inscrire, lire, moudre, naître, plaire, rire, suivre and vivre.

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': Use and Expressions

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.

Simple Conjugations of the Irregular French '-er' Verb 'Vivre'

 Present Future Imperfect Present participle
ilvitvivravivaitPassé composé
nousvivonsvivronsvivions   Auxiliary verb avoir
vousvivezvivrezviviez   Past participlevécu
 Subjunctive Conditional Passé simple Imperfect subjunctive

(nous) vivons