French -ir verbs are a common verb form that usually follows one of two major conjugation patterns, which shown below. Note that -oir verbs are a distinct French verb pattern from –ir verbs and have their own conjugation pattern.
Regular -IR verbs
In present tense, the -ir verb pattern is this:
|drop the -ir and add…|
|je ____is||nous ____issons|
|tu ____is||vous ____issiez|
|il ____it||ils ____issent|
Common regular -IR verbs
- Choisir → je choisis, nous choississons
- Finir → je finis, nous finissons
Semi-Irregular -IR verbs
There are many “semi” irregular -ir verbs. They follow a different but still recognizable conjugation pattern. The singular side of the chart follows the -RE verb conjugation pattern, and the plural side follows the basic -ER verb pattern.
Below, the asterisk (*) represents the final letter before the -ir ending. This letter gets dropped on the singular side but is used on the plural side.
|drop the -*ir and add…|
|je ____s||nous ____*ons|
|tu ____s||vous ____*ez|
|il ____t||ils ____*ent|
Common semi-irregular -IR verbs
Sample conjugations for these irregular verbs are given below for context.
- Dormir → je dors, nous dormons
- Sortir → je sors, nous sortons
- Partir → je pars, nous partons
- Servir → je sers, nous servons
- Courir → je cours, nous courons
Irregular -IR verbs
Don’t be tempted to apply a regular conjugation pattern to the verbs below. Pay special attention to venir. You will use it often in French.
|Venir (and other -enir verbs)|
|je viens||nous venons|
|tu viens||vous venez|
|il vient||ils viennent|
|je meurs||nous mourons|
|tu meurs||vous mourez|
|il meurt||ils meurent|
|Ouvrir (and other -vrir/-frir verbs)|
|tu ouvres||vous ouvrez|
|il ouvre||ils ouvrent|
Pronunciation of the -IR verb endings
On the left side of the chart (the singular forms), neither the final s nor the final t is pronounced, meaning the last sound you hear pronounced is the i (a long “e” sound in English).
For regular -ir verbs, note that the -ent ending on the ils/elles form is still not pronounced, just as with the other verb patterns. The final sound you hear pronounced is iss (pronounced like the “-ease” in “crease”).
Past tense -IR verbs
Most -ir verbs have a past participle that ends in i. Simply drop the -ir ending and add an i in its place.
Je sors (present) → Je suis sorti (past)
Je choisis (present) → J’ai choisi (past)
Irregular past participles for -ir verbs
However, just as with present tense conjugations, certain common -ir verbs have irregular past participles.
Venir → Tu es venu
Mourir → Il est mort
Courir → Vous avez couru
-IR verbs conjugated with être
As you saw above, several common -ir verbs are conjugated with être instead of avoir in order to construct the past tense (passé composé). They are:
If this structure doesn’t sound familiar to you, you may need to brush up on how to use the past tense with the être verbs.