Simple French Conjugations for "Voler" (to Fly, Steal)

A Lesson in Conjugating a Simple Verb With Two Meanings

The French verb voler has two very interesting meanings. While it may be used for "to fly," as in an airplane or as a bird does, it may also mean "to steal," as in robbing someone or taking something. In orer to use voler properly, you will need to commit its conjugations to memory. A quick lesson will introduce you to the essentials you need to know.

The Basic Conjugations of Voler

French verb conjugations can be a challenge because you have more words to memorize than you would in English.

That's because the verb changes not only with the tense but for every subject pronoun within each tense as well.

The good news is that voler is a regular -er verb. It follows some very common rules of conjugation and you'll use these for the majority of French verbs. That makes each new one you study just a bit easier than the last.

The first step in any conjugation is to find the radical of the verb (it's stem). In this case, that is vol-. With that, use the table to study the different endings you need to apply for the present, future, and imperfect past tenses. For example, "I am flying" is je vole and "we stole" is nous volions.

 Present Future Imperfect
jevolevoleraivolais
tuvolesvolerasvolais
ilvolevoleravolait
nousvolonsvoleronsvolions
vousvolezvolerezvoliez
ilsvolentvolerontvolaient

The Present Participle of Voler

The present participle of regular verbs is formed by adding -ant to the radical.

For voler, this gives us volant.

Voler in the Compound Past Tense

The passé composé is common in the French language. It is the compound past tense and it's relatively easy to construct. You will begin by conjugating avoir, the auxiliary verb, to fit your subject in the present tense. Then, all you need to do is add the past participle volé.

This gives us j'ai volé for "I flew" and nous avons volé for "we stole."

More Simple Conjugations of Voler

Whenever you need to bring the act of flying or stealing into question, the subjunctive can be used. If, however, the act is dependent on something, then you'll need the conditional. In written French, you'll likely encounter the passé simple or the imperfect subjunctive forms of voler as well.

 SubjunctiveConditionalPassé SimpleImperfect Subjunctive
jevolevoleraisvolaivolasse
tuvolesvoleraisvolasvolasses
ilvolevoleraitvolavolât
nousvolionsvolerionsvolâmesvolassions
vousvoliezvoleriezvolâtesvolassiez
ilsvolentvoleraientvolèrentvolassent

The French imperative form drops all formality, along with the subject pronoun. When using it for short sentences, you can simplify it from tu vole to vole.

 Imperative
(tu)vole
(nous) volons
(vous)volez
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ThoughtCo. "Simple French Conjugations for "Voler" (to Fly, Steal)." ThoughtCo, Feb. 26, 2018, thoughtco.com/voler-to-fly-or-to-steal-1371020. ThoughtCo. (2018, February 26). Simple French Conjugations for "Voler" (to Fly, Steal). Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/voler-to-fly-or-to-steal-1371020 ThoughtCo. "Simple French Conjugations for "Voler" (to Fly, Steal)." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/voler-to-fly-or-to-steal-1371020 (accessed May 25, 2018).