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French Grammar Lesson 4

The two most important verbs in French


Now that we have two pronouns – “vous” and “tu” – we should give them some verbs so they can do something!

The two most important verbs in French are:

Avoir = to have

Être = to be

These verbs are irregular so they are conjugated oddly. You just have to learn them.


Être, au présent (to be, present conjugation form)

Je suis                        I am

Tu es                           You are (friendly)

Il est                            He is

Nous sommes              We are

Vous êtes                     You are (formal)

Ils sont                         They are


Avoir, au présent (to have, present conjugation form)

J’ai                            I have

Tu as                        You have (friendly)

Il a                            He has

Nous avons               We have

Vous avez                 You have (formal)

Ils ont                       They have


There are some big differences in French and in English with the use of these two verbs.

Examples (the texts in italic are not proper and are only provided to show differences):


In English you would say:

“I am 25 years old.” (The bad French translation is: “Je suis 25 années vieux.”)

In French it is:

J’ai 25 ans.” (The bad English translation is: “I have 25 years .

In English you would say:

“I am hot.” (The bad French translation is: “Je suis chaud.”)

In French you would say:

J’ai chaud.” (The bad English translation is: “I have hot.”)


But don’t get the idea that every time you’d normally say “I am” in English you say “I have” in French. That’s not true at all. In the majority of cases, these two words are used in French exactly as they are in English. You can see this below:

In English you say:

“I have 2 boys and a girl.”

In French it is just the same:

J’ai 2 garçons et une fille.


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