OK, one more post on French verbs before I end this digression in James29's log.
Arnaud wrote:As emk explained, you usually take the infinitive (or root+r) and add an ending of the verb "avoir".
Ex: Savoir au futur-> je saurai (sau+r+ai->root+r+ending), manger au futur->je mangerai (manger+ai->infinitive+ending)
is one of the truly irregular verbs, and it does pretty much whatever it pleases. Here's a list of the truly irregular French verbs:
- These are all incredibly common: être, avoir, aller, faire, pouvoir, vouloir, savoir, devoir, falloir, valoir. You'll see these everywhere, and you'll want to know all their common uses.
- These are all also irregular or weird, but you don't need to care until you reach a fairly high level: pleuvoir, parfaire. -raire, adirer, douer. There are a few that even rarer than this, but you really don't care about those.
All those nice hints I gave above? They don't necessarily apply to these verbs. You'll probably have to treat these as special cases.
If you exclude the verbs mentioned above, the remaining French verbs have 7 principle parts: the infinitive, the singular stem, the unstressed (or "atonic") stem, the stressed (or "tonic") stem, the past participle, the future stem, and the simple past stem. You don't care about the simple past stem except when reading fiction, and even then, you mostly need a vague ability to recognize a handful of common verbs.
If we ignore the irregular verbs list above, and if we leave out the infinitive and the simple past stem, here's how French verbs actually work. (This is taken from an ongoing project of mine, which tries to explain this in more detail.)
(1) Ending varies for certain groups and verbs. The -er
verbs, in particular, have their own set of endings here. (2) The -t is omitted after d, t and hard c. (3) The future tense endings are same as the present tense endings of avoir
minus any leading av-
. (4) The conditional endings are identical to the imperfect endings, but they use another stem.
In addition to the above, there's one purely spelling-related fix you need to know. From my notes:
emk wrote:Many -er verbs contain a soft c or g sound. When we add endings to the verb, we need to make sure we preserve this sound. If the ending begins with e or i, we're all set. If not, we need to tweak the stem:
manger: mang + ons = mangeons
commencer: commenc + ons = commençons
This overall logic is fairly trustworthy: I've tested it against French verb databases using actual code, and it will generate correct conjugations for virtually everything you'll ever encounter, even at the C1 level and up. I'll leave you with a code snippet that picks out one supposedly regular -er
verb that has a second, irregular past participle when used as a euphemism:
Code: Select all
REMOVE = 'er'
PAST_PARTICIPLE = u'é|u' # By analogy to foutu.
Someday I want to turn this into a French verb conjugation website. But that will need to wait until I finish some other projects.