1st group verbs in French: Everything You Should Know

In French, verbs are classified into three main groups based on their endings and conjugation patterns. In the event, you are trying to grasp the 1st group verbs in French, this post is definitely going to do the heavy lifting for you.


What Is The 1st Group Verbs In French?

 The first group, also known as the “-er” verbs, is the largest and most common group of verbs. It is considered as a group of regular verbs. These verbs are also called “-er” verbs because their infinitive form ends in “-er.” 

French First Group Verbs Conjugation

First group verbs follow a regular conjugation pattern. To conjugate a 1st group verb, you remove the “-er” ending from the infinitive form and add the appropriate endings based on the subject pronoun. For example, let’s take the verb “parler” (to speak):

Je parle (I speak)
Tu parles (You speak, singular informal)
Il/elle/on parle (He/she/one speaks)
Nous parlons (We speak)
Vous parlez (You speak, plural/formal)
Ils/elles parlent (They speak)

This pattern is similar for other regular 1st group verbs.

Examples Of First Group Verbs In French

The first group includes many common verbs in French. Some examples include:

Aimer (to like/love)
Chanter (to sing)
Danser (to dance)
Écouter (to listen)
Manger (to eat)
Nager (to swim)
Regarder (to watch)
Voyager (to travel)
Infinitive endings:

French 1st Group Verbs Infinitive Endings 

All 1st group verbs have the same infinitive endings, which is “-er.” These endings are pronounced as the sound “ay.”

Are All ER Verbs First Group Verbs?

No. There is only 1 verb in French that is ended with ER and that is not a first group. the verb ALLER, 

Aller has its own unique conjugation pattern. 

How To Use French Fist Group Verb

1st group verbs are used in various contexts, just like verbs in any language. They can be used to express actions, describe habits, talk about daily routines, and more. With their regular conjugation pattern, they are relatively easy to learn and form an essential part of building sentences in French.

French first Group Verbs That Change Their Stems

While most 1st group verbs follow a regular conjugation pattern, a small subset of verbs undergo stem changes in certain conjugations. The stem change occurs in the singular forms (je, tu, il/elle/on) and affects the pronunciation of the verb stem. For example, the verb “acheter” (to buy) undergoes a stem change from “achet-” to “achèt-” in the singular forms: j’achète, tu achètes, il achète.

How To Use A First Group Verb As A Reflexive Verb

Many 1st group verbs can also be used as reflexive verbs by adding the reflexive pronoun “se” before the verb. In case you do not know, reflexive verbs indicate that the subject is performing the action on themselves. For example, “se laver” means “to wash oneself.” The reflexive pronoun changes based on the subject: je me lave, tu te laves, il se lave, etc.

1st group verbs in common expressions in French.

For example, “aller chercher” means “to go fetch,” “parler fort” means “to speak loudly,” and “manger à la maison” means “to eat at home.” Learning these expressions can greatly enhance your ability to communicate effectively in French.

Importance of 1st group verbs:

Mastering the conjugation of 1st group verbs is crucial for building a solid foundation in French grammar. Once you become familiar with the regular pattern, you’ll be able to apply it to other verbs within the same group. This knowledge will also serve as a basis for understanding conjugation patterns in the second and third verb groups in French.

1st Group Verb endings:

When conjugating 1st group verbs, you add specific endings to the verb stem based on the subject pronoun. Here are the endings for regular verbs in the present tense:
Je (-e)
Tu (-es)
Il/elle/on (-e)
Nous (-ons)
Vous (-ez)
Ils/elles (-ent)
For example, for the verb “parler” (to speak), the endings are: je parle, tu parles, il/elle/on parle, nous parlons, vous parlez, ils/elles parlent.

Formation of Past Tense For 1st Group Verbs:

To form the past tense of 1st group verbs, you use the auxiliary verb “avoir” (to have) and the past participle of the verb. The past participle for regular 1st group verbs is formed by replacing the “-er” ending with “-é.” For example, for the verb “parler,” the past participle is “parlé.” The past tense is constructed as follows:
J’ai parlé (I spoke)
Tu as parlé (You spoke, singular informal)
Il/elle/on a parlé (He/she/one spoke)
Nous avons parlé (We spoke)
Vous avez parlé (You spoke, plural/formal)
Ils/elles ont parlé (They spoke)

Common verb derivatives:

Many verbs derived from 1st group verbs retain the “-er” ending and follow the same conjugation pattern. For example, “manger” (to eat) has the derivative “démanger” (to itch), which follows the regular 1st group conjugation. Similarly, “aimer” (to like/love) has the derivative “désaimer” (to dislike), which also follows the same pattern.

Frequency Of 1st Group Verbs 

1st group verbs are incredibly common in everyday French conversation and writing. They cover a wide range of actions, emotions, and states of being, making them essential for effective communication in various contexts.

Other verb forms: In addition to the present and past tenses, 1st group verbs can be conjugated in other tenses and moods such as the future, conditional, subjunctive, and imperative. Each tense and mood follows specific rules and endings, but the verb stem remains the same as in the present tense for regular verbs.

1st Group Verbs Negative Forms:

When negating 1st group verbs in French, you typically place the word “ne” before the verb and “pas” after it. For example, “Je ne parle pas” means “I don’t speak.” This structure applies to negating other tenses and moods as well.

Verb infinitives as nouns: In French, the infinitive form of 1st group verbs can also be used as nouns. When used in this way, they are often preceded by the preposition “à” or “de.” For example, “J’ai envie de manger” means “I feel like eating.”

Verb agreement: 1st group verbs usually do not require agreement with the subject in terms of gender and number. However, there are a few exceptions where agreement is necessary, such as when the subject is a pronoun or when there are two subjects joined by “et” (and). For example, “Elle parle” (She speaks) remains the same regardless of whether the subject is singular or plural, male or female.

1st Group Verbs Past Participle And Gerunds:

1st group verbs have participles and gerunds that are used in compound tenses and as verbal nouns, respectively. The past participle of regular 1st group verbs is formed by replacing the “-er” ending with “-é.” For example, “manger” (to eat) has the past participle “mangé.” The gerund is formed by adding “-ant” to the verb stem, such as “parlant” (speaking).



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