Present tense – présent


Let's Define It!

What's the *present tense*?

The present tense (in French: le présent) is equivalent to the English present indicative.

The French present tense can take these three meanings in English:

  • Je mange --> I am eating (present progressive/continuous)
  • Je mange --> I eat (habitual action)
  • Je mange --> I do eat 

1) You  can use the présent to describe current actions/situations/states.

For example, "Adèle est intelligente" Adele is intelligent.

2) You  can use the présent to describe habitual actions.

For example, "Vous arrivez en retard tous les jours"  You arrive late every day.

3) You  can use the présent to describe general/absolute facts or truths.

For example, "La terre est ronde." The earth is round.

4) You  can use the présent to talk about actions happening almost immediately.

Elle arrive. She is arriving.

Nous partons à l'instant. We are leaving now.

You  can use the présent in conditional clauses (si + present -->)

For example, "Fais tes devoirs si tu veux sortir avec tes copains". Do your homework if you want to go out with your friends.

You  can use the présent in the passé composé. The auxiliary is conjugated in the present and followed by the past participle.

J'ai passé mes vacances au Pérou. I spent my vacation in Peru.

Elles sont arrivées des vacances. / They have arrived from vacation.




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 are some sentences in the present tense (underlined).

  • Elle a mis les oranges dans son sac. She placed the oranges in her bag.

  • Nous plongeons sous l'eau. We dive under the water.

  • Je parle avec ma soeur au téléphone. I talk with sister on the phone


Let's Take a Quiz!

What did you learn?