When your native language is English, the French conjugation, is… challenging. So much more difficult to memorize than in English right? Every tense is different, every ending is different, sometimes they even look like different words entirely! It’s frustrating.

So, I have something really good for you that I use with my students that makes French verbs A LOT EASIER: 6 tips that you can learn once and for all and keep reapplying. Today is part 1. Next week will be part 2.

Plus! I have a special little present for you, if you are in the Seattle area or are traveling near my city before November 20th… Mmmmh what could it be???

But let’s start with the video. Vous êtes prêt?

Before we start I need to remind you that there are 3 groups in French conjugation.

The first group, le premier groupe, is for regular verbs ending in ER. For example, aimer = to love.

The second group, le deuxième groupe, is for regular verbs ending in IR. For example, choisir = to choose.

The third group, le troisième groupe, is for all the other verbs, the irregular verbs, the misfits. For example, savoir = to know.

Remember these 3 groups throughout this video, it will help you.

Tip numéro 1

Which helping verb do I choose for the passé composé? Should I use être or should I use avoir? There is no logic behind this however, most French verbs take avoir in the passé composé so, when in doubt, just pick avoir. For example, j’ai aimé, j’ai choisi, j’ai su.

I lied, there is one rule. Pronominal verbs, such as s’appeler, se rappeler, se rencontrer, etc. always take être. For example, nous nous sommes rencontrés.

Tip numéro 2

Should I use the imparfait or the passé composé? These are the 2 most common tenses to express the past in French. Just remember that the imparfait is the background tense, it’s the action that lasts in the past, it’s how you describe emotions, feelings, weather.

Par example, Hier j’étais triste. Yesterday I was sad. Hier il y avait du soleil. Yesterday there was some sun.

You’ll also use the imparfait when in English you use either the ing form or “used to”.

For example, I was working when you called. Je travaillais quand tu as téléphoné. Je travaillais is the background action so it’s the imparfait. Tu as téléphoné is passé composé.

Or, When I lived in Europe, I used to take the bus everywhere. Quand j’habitais en Europe, je prenais le bus partout.

Tip numéro 3

Great, now you know when to use the imparfait. But what if you don’t remember what the imparfait looks like for the verb aimer? Granted that you know your present tense, here’s a perfect way to always know how to build your imparfait.

First we look at the present tense with the subject nous. Nous aimons. Then you take the 3 letters ons out so you are left with aim. Now, all of you have to do is simply add your imparfait endings for each subject!

The endings of the imparfait: ais, ais, ait, ions, iez, aient.

J’aimais, tu aimais, elle / il / on aimait, nous aimions, vous aimiez, elles / ils aimaient

Now learn these, memorize them, they will help you for ever woohoo! Stay tuned because next week is part 2.


And now, you’ve been patient enough, here is your little present!



Yes, I have a special treat for you! A 25% discount to a fantastic French show in Seattle, not a French Truly event, yet definitely a French Truly approved one and beyond!

Did I get your interest? Want to see a great French show in Seattle? Last week I went to the beautiful ACT Theater, slightly ashamed to say it was my first time, lovely place! 

Les Liaisons Dangereuses simply is a story a Francophile must know. A delightful psychological novel by French author Pierre Choderlos de Laclos published in 1782, only a few years before the French Revolution. Witty, hilarious, and deeply human at the same time, the play will keep you on your toes and highly entertained from beginning to end. The set is beautiful, the costumes are gorgeous, the actors are so talented engaging, dynamic, and in this cleverly thought out room, you feel close to the stage, in the heart of the plot, no matter where you are sitting.

So why did I go see this play? I received an email from the theater marketing staff who wanted to see if I would help them spread the word on the show, invited me to attend so I could assess for myself, I happily accepted, invited my friend Paola along and we simply loved it. For all the reasons mentioned above. Wonderful show! The ACT Theater really did a great job!

ACT then passed on the promotional code ACT25 for me to share with you all my French Truly friends and here it is! 

Get 25% when you mention this code while booking and you’re good to go! Just so you know, I don’t get anything out of this, besides going to see the show, I just want to share this with you because I know you will truly enjoy it.

Alors amusez-vous bien!

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