99 Most Common French Verbs and How to Use Them

Être, avoir, faire, dire, parler…what do all these words have in common? If you guessed that they are all French verbs (words that show an action, occurrence or state of being), then you are right! 

Verbs make up some of the basic vocabulary needed to learn a language and are the perfect launching pad for a beginner. However, not all verbs are created equal, as some are used with far more frequency than others. We have compiled a list of the most common French verbs and their translations to help you learn French in a flash! 

Être (to be)

Être is the most common verb in the French language and one of the two auxiliary verbs used in French.

Je suis française. (I am French.)

Tu seras à l’école demain. (You will be at school tomorrow.)

C’était la présidente en 2014. (She was president in 2014.)

Nous étions sous pression. (We were under pressure.)

Vous serez en avance. (You will be early.)

Elles sont encore loin. (They are still far away.)

Avoir (to have) 

Avoir is the second most common verb in the French language (maybe you already guessed it…) and the second auxiliary verb used in French.

J’ai deux frères. (I have two brothers.)

Tu as de très beaux yeux. (You have very beautiful eyes.)

Ils ont du retard. (They are late.)

Vous avez un grand cœur. (You have a big heart.)

Faire (to do/to make) 

The French verb faire does the work of two verbs in English: “to do” and “to make”.

Je fais un gâteau pour son anniversaire. (I am making a cake for his birthday.)

Elle fait ses devoirs. (She is doing her homework.)

Nous faisons du sport. (We are doing a workout.)

Elles ne font pas de dessert (They aren’t making a dessert.)

Dire (to say/to tell) 

Dire is another French verb that does the heavy lifting of two English verbs: “to say” and “to tell”.

Je dis toujours la vérité. (I always tell the truth.)

Tu dis n’importe quoi. (You are talking nonsense.)

Il dit tout à sa mère. (He tells his mother everything.)

Ils ne disent rien (They aren’t saying anything.) 

Pouvoir (to be able to)

The French verb pouvoir is used to express ability or opportunity and request permission or ask for things, just like the modal verb “can” in English. It is an essential verb to know when traveling! 

Je peux parler français. (I can speak French.)

Pouvez-vous parler anglais? (Can you speak English?)

Il peut aller tout seul chez le médecin. (He can go to the doctor by himself.)

Nous pouvons prendre un taxi. (We can get a taxi.)

Aller (to go)

Aller is a very useful verb to know because it can be combined with other verbs to form a future tense. In the present tense, it means “to go”.

Je vais chez ma cousine. (I am going to my cousin’s place.)

Elle va au supermarché. (She is going to the supermarket.)

Nous n’allons pas au travail demain. (We aren’t going to work tomorrow.)

Ils vont au parc après l’école. (They are going to the park after school.)

Voir (to see)

Voir is used in a literal sense and means “to see” in English, but it can also be used figuratively to mean “to understand”.

Je vois beaucoup mieux avec mes lunettes. (I can see much better with my glasses.)

Tu vois ce que je veux dire? (Do you understand what I’m trying to say?)

Elle voit le médecin demain. (She is going to see the doctor tomorrow.)

Voyez-vous les voitures là-bas? (Can you see the cars over there?)

Nous voyons le chat noir. (We can see the black cat.)

Savoir (to know)

Savoir is one of two verbs (the other is connaître) that means “to know” in English. The difference between the two is subtle, but the best way to tackle this gray line is to think of savoir as knowing “something” – whether it is a fact, skill, or answer to a question.

Je sais parler trois langues. (I know how to speak three languages.)

Tu sais faire du vélo. (You know how to ride a bike.)

Elle ne sait pas ce qu’elle veut. (She doesn’t know what she wants.)

Elles savent tout. (They know everything.)

Vouloir (to want)

Vouloir is another great verb to know when traveling, since it is used to ask for things or make requests. 

Je veux un café au lait. (I want a milky coffee.)

Il veut prendre le train. (He wants to take the train.)

Voulez-vous quelque chose? (Do you want something?)

Nous voulons sortir ce soir. (We want to go out tonight.)

Ils veulent aller à la plage. (They want to go to the beach.)

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Venir (to come)

Despite its irregular conjugation, venir’s meaning in English is simple and straightforward: “to come”.

Oui, je viens ce soir. (Yes, I am coming tonight.)

Tu viens avec ton amie. (You are coming with your friend.)

Il vient avec nous. (He is coming with us.)

Vous ne venez pas à la soirée. (You aren’t coming to the party.)

Nous venons plus tard. (We are coming later.)

More Common French Verbs

Now that you have learned the top 10 essential French verbs, it’s time to move on to the next most searched for French verbs on our online conjugator

11. falloir (to need)

12. devoir (to have to)

13. croire (to believe)

14. trouver (to find)

15. donner (to give)

16. prendre (to take)

17. parler (to speak/to talk)

18. aimer (to love/to like)

19. passer (to pass/to go through/to cross)

20. mettre (to put/to put on)

21. demander (to ask for)

22. tenir (to hold)

23. sembler (to seem)

24. laisser (to leave/to let)

25. rester (to stay)

26. penser (to think)

27. entendre (to hear/to mean)

28. regarder (to look at/to watch)

29. répondre (to answer)

30. rendre (to give back)

31. connaître (to know)

32. paraître (to seem)

33. arriver (to arrive/to happen)

34. sentir (to smell/to feel)

35. attendre (to wait)

36. vivre (to live)

37. chercher (to look)

38. comprendre (to understand)

39. porter (to carry/to wear)

40. devenir (to become)

41. entrer (to come in/to go in)

42. retenir (to remember)

43. écrire (to write)

44. appeler (to call)

45. tomber (to fall)

46. reprendre (to take back)

47. commencer (to start)

48. suivre (to follow)

49. montrer (to show)

50. partir (to go)

51. mourir (to die)

52. ouvir (to open)

53. lire (to read)

54. arrêter (to stop)

55. servir (to serve)

56. jeter (to throw)

57. recevoir (to receive)

58. monter (to go up)

59. lever (to raise/to get up)

60. agir (to act) 

61. perdre (to lose)

62. écouter (to listen)

63. continuer (to continue)

64. sourire (to smile)

65. apercevoir (to see)

66. reconnaître (to recognize)

67. ajouter (to add)

68. jouer (to play)

69. marcher (to walk/to work)

70. garder (to keep)

71. manquer (to miss)

72. retrouver (to find)

73. descendre (to go down)

74. rappeler (to remind)

75. quitter (to leave)

76. tourner (to turn)

77. finir (to finish)

78. crier (to shout)

79. courir (to run)

80. permettre (to allow)

81. songer (to think about)

82. offrir (to offer)

83. présenter (to present)

84. apprendre (to learn)

85. souffrir (to suffer)

86. exister (to exist)

87. envoyer (to send)

88. expliquer (to explain)

89. manger (to eat)

More Beginner French Resources with Frantastique

Got the common French verbs and their conjugations mastered? Take a look at our basic French grammar guide so you can steer clear of the common French mistakes English speakers make!

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