Why doesn't duolingo give us the base form of the verbs!?

I would love to be shown the base form of the verb and conjugate it myself, but instead it shows each word individually already conjugated. It makes it so confusing trying to figure out which one is which and what means what.

October 8, 2018


I agree and have found DuoLingo quite lacking when it comes to making such useful, relevant info available "at a glance." Verb conjugations and their many exceptions and irregularities are very important when learning a language and I'm surprised the popups which appear when you hover over words don't show the complete info about the word. I've been using FluentU as well as DuoLingo and it seems to give a lot more useful info when you click on words.

October 8, 2018

@JamesTPhilips @coto.i


thanks for pointing this out!

Interestingly, both and offer verb conjugation tables where Lingvist also offers popup "grammar notes" within the exercises (incl. verb tense tables).

Mondly shows me for the topic/lesson review what verbs have been taught and how the conjugation tables (incl. some tenses) look like when I finish the lesson.

I think both of this would be the better approach than only a green verb conjugate button which is removed.

Interestingly, all the "example sentences" (there is sometimes a table with multiple sentences) and verb detail informations are available in our words list and the "More detail" button; but it is IMHO just way too overcomplicated to access it and these informations are not handy within lesson exercises or reviews.

I think that is the problem that the "Words list" and features may still be on the old Python code, and may not be 100% ready for the 2017 (re-written) Scala web portal.

Duolingo staff has also removed the underlined word translations from the "sentence discussion" so you cannot jump directly to the "Verb more detail" summary page anyways...

Loading time of threads including "sentence discussions" on a NEW browser tab with the suddenly slowed down discussion forum server for a few days/weeks is just horrible and you would not really be able to work with it that way, even if you wanted to use it as a workaround!

Best regards / Viele Grüße

October 10, 2018
  • 1578

Duolingo had this feature but it disappeared without explanations some time ago. I've read that Duo's CEO himself didn't like it... Thanks, Luis! :(

When you were clicking on the Conjugate button a popup with the conjugations table would appear. At the beginning of the tree, just the present tense was there. Then, as you learned more tenses, they were added to your table. What could have been more convenient?

More here:

October 9, 2018

When you learn on Duolingo, you can open another page, a conjugation site. For learning French, I like this one:
Write any form of the verb (e.g. DEVIENT), than click on the infinitive form what you see belove (DEVENIR).

October 8, 2018


October 9, 2018

You can learn verb infinitives on flashcard applications like Memrise, AnkiSRS, SuperMemo, etc.

You can even do that with proper L1 English -> L2 target language RECALLS with full typing support when you clear your backlog queue.

If I had not done this with a proper spaced repetition on a daily basis, I hardly would have been able to remember all the Portuguese verbs which Duolingo had thrown at me: Present 1 (~70 verb), Present 2, Present3...

Too much complicated for a true beginner who starts learning a language totally from scratch.

The worst about Duolingo:
It asks for too less translations in your target language.
Instead of the EN-FR course will focus pretty much on reading French and translations (by typing or tapping) into English on a higher ratio (I even have this problem on higher L4/L5 crowns for my EN-PT tree for the first four skills!!). A reverse course French->English would improve this, but it makes more sense to start it a bit later (e.g 60-85% course progress with EN-FR).

If you only do this in the first 3-6 months, then you will hardly be able to RECALL words in your target language when you have to type them out, you want to text chat on or when speaking.

October 8, 2018

[deactivated user]

    I strongly recommend investing in a Bescherelle. You can find cheaper copies second-hand online, either in English for beginners and intermediates and 100% French for advanced learners. It will show the infinitive of every single verb at the back of the book, together with the main definition. Bonne chance.

    October 9, 2018

    I guess only a moderator can really answer your question, but this is the way textbooks work as well. You get a couple of chapters of small talk (comment s'appelle, j'aime le sport, je suis de montreal, etc.) before they come out and give you a verb conjugation table based on an infinitive form.

    For example, I'm looking at Nouveaux Copains Level 1 (HBJ, 1989) and I see that the first verb conjugation table doesn't appear till page 59. It has "Structures de base" and the verb "venir" conjugated in six voices (present indicative only) followed by some practice exercies.

    I'm also looking at Spanish For Mastery 1 (Heath Publishers, 1982) and it doesn't have a verb table till page 73. It has a section beginning with "el presente de verbos que terminan en -ar" and it conjugates "hablar" in six voices (present indicative only) followed by some practice exercises.

    duolingo operates in a similar fashion. You get words for foods, animals, clothing, and the like, before being presented with a verb conjugation table. But they do eventually get around to it. Verbs Present 1 appears about a fifth of the way down the tree. It startes with a "tips and notes" section showing a table with six voices and three verbs (parler, finir, dormir) conjugated in all six voices. Later, Present 2 gives a verb table with ouvrir and vendre (albeit with some weird formatting. note that vendre forms cannot be seen).

    Also note that if you click on the "words" tab (at the top, between "home" and "discussion") you will get a list of words, many of which are verbs. Pick any of those verbs and click on it and a panel will open up on the right. At the bottom of that panel is a button with "more details." Click on that and you'll get a verb conjugation table starting with the infinitive form of the verb.

    October 9, 2018

    The list of words has each conjugated version of the word as individual words. And I just now found out while typing this that when you click "More Details" then click the tab "other" it shows you the infinitive. Not sure why it's so hard to find. It'd be nice if it was shown when you hover over the word in the sentence, or put the infinitives in the words list. It just makes things harder the way it is.

    October 10, 2018

    I agree. As student of French, from an English speaking background, I would have preferred to see the verbs conjugated as 1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person & singular or plural. Although, at this point I've gotten used to the Je | tu | il/elle/on | nous | vous | ils/elles forms.

    Also, why does DL not emphasize the formal (vous) vs informal (tu) in their teachings? I am an older student (re) learning French so perhaps this is a generational difference in that todays French speakers are not concerned with such formalities. If a speaker does use the formal "vous" to address (2nd person singular) should they still use, what I would call the, (2nd person plural) verb? DL would suggest, yes. IDK.

    October 9, 2018

    [deactivated user]

      I see lots of sample sentences with vous. Are you saying that Duolingo doesn't formally have a write-up about the difference between vous and tu?

      October 29, 2018

      I don't know that a separate, formal write-up of the differences is required. I was thinking more along the lines of a few sentences in the Tip and Notes (in one or more sections) reminding the student of the formal and informal. I don't think that is mentioned much if at all. Again, maybe this is a generational thing, speaking (or not) in a formal or informal manner, for me that was one of the appeals of learning French. I'm older and maybe the ways of the world are changing. Sincere question: Do native French speakers still follow the formal and informal uses of vous and tu?

      October 29, 2018

      [deactivated user]

        In Québec, we hardly use vous. In the most formal settings we may begin with vous as a formality in the very first sentences, but then we ask each other if tu is okay. Vous is more common in other parts of the francophonie. I am guessing that Duolingo assumes most French students already know of vous/tu. For me, it is very simple. I address older people and people of higher ''rank'' by vous. Within a few sentences, they will let me know very directly they prefer tu.

        October 30, 2018


        October 30, 2018

        It bothered me at first but then I realized it's like learning the language as you would if you were a child. It took some adjusting but now I like it. When I see a conjugated verb I didn't know, I try to guess the infinitive and then look it up in a dictionary. Learning works both ways.: infinitive <->conjugations or conjugations<->infinitive.

        I find now when I'm talking with my online French teachers and they throw a new verb at me I'm better at guessing its meaning and infinitive form.

        I think it has improved the elasticity of my old brain.

        October 10, 2018
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