Stem – radical


Let's Define It!

What's a *stem*?

stem (or radical in French) - we see this term a lot when dealing with conjugation.

So what's a stem? It's the part of a verb which remains unchanged, i.e. invariable. Next, the invariable spelling of the stem needs to be attached to different endings to indicate tense, number, and this combination results in all the possible conjugated forms of that verb.

For example, to conjugate the verb marcher (to walk), you take the stem march- to which you add the endings of the tense you want to use.

Keep in mind that there are quite a few French verbs having irregulars stems (usually, 3rd-group verbs). For example, aller, venir and many more.


Let's Pronounce It!

What does it sound like in French?


Let's Have an Example or Two!

Can a little reinforcement do the trick?

Here is the verb marcher we used as an example in the section above. Look at the stem of this verb when conjugated in the  present and future. The stem is underlined and in bold.


je marche

tu marches

il marche

nous marchons

vous marchez

ils marchent


je marcherai

tu marcheras

il marchera

nous marcherons

vous marcherez

ils marcheront


Let's Take a Quiz!

What did you learn?