Appendix:French auxiliary verbs

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Main category: French auxiliary verbs

Auxiliary verbs are verbs that accompany the main verb in a clause in order to make distinctions in tense, mood, voice or aspect.

French auxiliary verbs[edit]


  • Avoir is the principal verb used to form the perfect tense. It combined with the past participle to describe actions that happened (usually only once) in the past.
    J'ai mangé les chips (I've eaten the chips/crisps)
    • J'ai lu ta lettre (I read your letter)


  • Être is used with certain verbs derived from Latin deponent verbs to form the perfect tense. See below.
    Il est tombé (he fell)
  • Être is also used to form the passive voice
  • Il est poursuivi par la police (he is being followed by the police)
  • To change the tense or, only the conjugation of être changes
    Il sera arrêté demain (he will be arrested tomorrow)


Faire is used to mean to do in the sense "oblige/coerce someone to do something". Always followed by the infinitive of a verb

  • Il m'a fait pleurer (he made me cry)
  • J'aime les hommes qui me font rire (I like men that make me laugh)


  • Aller as well as meaning to go is used to form the immediate future.
  • Je vais manger dans une heure (I'm going to eat in an hour)
  • Nous allions partir, mais on a oublié de fermer la porte (we were going to leave, but we forgot to close the door)


Rendre is used like faire above, but it is always qualified by an adjective, not a verb

  • Il m'a rendu très triste (he made me very sad)
  • Elle me rendra très joyeux (she will make me very happy)

French verbs which take être[edit]

The following verbs take être when forming compound tenses (pluperfect and present perfect). These verbs are all intransitive in French. Certain verbs however use avoir when used transitively.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Also used transitively, when it takes avoir