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 chipsI've eaten the chips/crisps
    J'ai lu ta lettreI read your letter


  • Être is used with certain verbs derived from Latin deponent verbs to form the perfect tense. See below.
    Il est tombéhe fell
  • Être is also used to form the passive voice
    Il est poursuivi par la policehe is being followed by the police
  • To change the tense or, only the conjugation of être changes
    Il sera arrêté demainhe 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 pleurerhe 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 heureI'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. It mostly corresponds to the the English auxiliary use of make.

  • Il m'a rendu très tristehe made me very sad
  • Elle me rendra très joyeuxshe 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.

See also[edit]


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