French Verb ETRE - être (to be)

The verb in French for be, (to be) is the verb être.

Être is one of the most important verbs in French. Learners of the language therefore must learn it thoroughly. It's an irregular verb, pretty much following its own patterns of endings.

It is also used to make certain COMPOUND TENSES in French, for certain verbs of motion and for reflexive verbs. (Don't worry if you don't know what these mean. You can cover them later). Compound tenses are words like "I had gone", "they had come" etc.
Take a couple of minutes to read aloud ALL the verb conjugations of être below -

(1) by ROW and by (2) COLUMN,

... then check out more on this word below the verb table.

to be: être
Imagine Shakespeare says, "to be or not to be
is an ATTRActive thought!" VERB CONJUGATION TABLE: être
Simple Tenses être

am / is / are
suis es est sommes êtes sont
Past Imperfect

was / were
étais étais était étions étiez étaient
Simple Past
Passé Simple

was / were
fus fus fut fûmes fûtes furent

will be
serai seras sera serons serez seront

would be
serais serais serait serions seriez seraient

may be
sois sois soit soyons soyez soient
Compound Tenses être
Present Perfect
Passé Composé

have been
ai été as été a été avons été avez été ont été
Past Perfect

had been
avais été avais été avait été avions été aviez été avaient été
Future Perfect
Futur Antérieur

will have been
aurai été auras été aura été aurons été aurez été auront été
Conditional Perfect
Conditionnel Passé

would have been
aurais été aurais été aurait été aurions été auriez été auraient été

sois soyons soyez

MORE on the FRENCH VERB être

French for 'to be' is etre

Je suis en France: I am in France.
Il est Français: He is French.
La France est en Europe: France is in Europe.
Elle était contente: She was happy.


  • The French verb for be être is an auxiliary. An auxiliary verb is one that is used to build other tenses like the compound tenses. These are phrases like:
    I had come: je suis venu (or je suis venue for a female talking)
    we had gone: nous sommes allés), and such like.
  • Learn to conjugate être.
  • French Verbs List.
  • Repeating these tables aloud 10 times throughout the day will better embed the patterns into your subconscious, and your long term memory.
  • Reciting aloud is a great way for you to practice your pronunciation, and helps you to memorize the conjugations.

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