How to Conjugate the Irregular French Verb 'Voir' ('to See')

The French verb 'voir' is highly irregular, so you'll have to memorize it

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Voir (to see) is one of the 10 or so most common verbs of the thousands used in the French language. Below are the simple conjugations of the verb; they do not include the compound tenses, which consist of a form of the auxiliary verb with the past participle.

Voir, like the other most common French verbs, has irregular conjugations, so irregular that you just have to memorize the full conjugation because it doesn't fall into a predictable pattern.

This is where the conjugation tables below will come in handy. Study them and set them to memory because, if you plan on speaking French, there is every chance you will be using the verb voir. And to use it, you must conjugate it, which means you must know how to conjugate it correctly.

'Voir' as an Irregular French '-ir' Verb

Of course, voir does fit one pattern—it is an irregular French -ir verb, very irregular, like other idiosyncratic French-ir verbs, such as: asseoir, ouvrir, devoir, falloir, mourir, pleuvoir, pouvoir, recevoir, savoir, tenir, valoir, venir and vouloir.

These are all very irregular French -ir verbs with conjugations you just have to memorize in order to use them.

There are, however, two sets of irregular French -ir verbs that are conjugated similarly.

  1. The first group includes: dormirmentirpartirsentirservir and sortir, and all of their derivatives (such as repartir). These verbs all drop the last letter of the radical in the singular conjugations, as you can see in the table below.
  1. The second group includes: couvrir, cueillir, découvrir, offrir, ouvrir, souffrir and their derivatives (such as recouvrir). These verbs are all conjugated like regular French -er verbs, as you can see in the table below. Note that we said "like -er verbs," not like the -ir verbs that they are.

Meanings and Uses of 'Voir'

In use, voir usually means "to see," but it can also mean "to experience," "to imagine" or "to understand," depending on the context.

It can be used as an infinitive with other verbs, such as aller voir ("to go and see"), faire voir ("to show"), voir venir ("to see something or someone coming").

In form, voir can also be used as se voir with a pronominal or passive voice construction and meaning.

Expressions With 'Voir'

Because voir is such a useful verb, there are several idiomatic expressions with voir, such as:

voir la vie en rose
to see life through rose-colored glasses

voir venir
wait and see

ne rien avoir à voir avec/dans
to have nothing to do with

C'est mal vu.
People don't like that.

C'est quelque chose qui ne se voit pas tous les jours.
That's something you don't see every day.

C'est tout vu.
It's a foregone conclusion.

déjà vu
already seen

fais voir
Show me, Let me see!

Il faut voir.
We'll (have to wait and) see.  

Simple Conjugations of the Irregular French verb 'VOIR'

 Present Future Imperfect Present participle
jevoisverraivoyaisvoyant 
tuvoisverrasvoyais 
ilvoitverravoyaitPassé composé
nousvoyonsverronsvoyions   Auxiliary verb avoir
vousvoyezverrezvoyiez   Past participlevu
ilsvoientverrontvoyaient 
 
 Subjunctive Conditional Passé simple Imperfect subjunctive
jevoieverraisvisvisse
tuvoiesverraisvisvisses
ilvoieverraitvitvît
nousvoyionsverrionsvîmesvissions
vousvoyiezverriezvîtesvissiez
ilsvoientverraientvirentvissent
 
 Imperative
(tu)vois 
 
(nous) voyons 
(vous)voyez