TNs, U21: Verbs: Present 2(Group 3 Verbs, Transitive & Intransitive, Confusing Verbs)

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Group 3 Verbs

As you learned in "Verbs Present 1", Group 3 verbs are considered irregular, but some sparse patterns do exist among the -ir and -er verbs in this group.

Subject G1 parler G2 finir G3 dormir G3 ouvrir G3 vendre
je parle finis dors ouvre vends
tu parles finis dors ouvres vends
il/elle/on parle finit dort ouvre vend
nous parlons finissons dormons ouvrons vendons
vous parlez finissez dormez ouvrez vendez
ils/elles parlent finissent dorment ouvrent vendent

Among the G3 -ir verbs, some conjugate like dormir, while verbs like ouvrir conjugate as though they're -er verbs. Note that singular conjugations of dormir drop the last letter of the root. Also, while some -re verbs (such as attendre, entendre, and perdre) conjugate like vendre, dozens of other conjugation patterns exist, so it's best to memorize each verb's conjugation individually.

Here are some useful conjugation websites to use while you are learning the various conjugations.

Even native speaking French school children must spend time writing and rewriting verb conjugations, so take the time to learn them from memory and don’t be discouraged if it requires daily effort.

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

Sentences can have grammatical objects, which are nouns that are affected by a verb. There are two types of objects: direct objects, which are nouns acted upon, and indirect objects, which are nouns that are indirectly affected by the action.

  • Ben threw the ball at him.

In this example, "Ben" is the subject, "the ball" is the direct object, and "him" is the indirect object. You can usually recognize indirect objects in English by looking for a preposition after a verb. Identifying objects is important, especially in French.

Verbs can be transitive, intransitive, or both. Transitive verbs can have direct objects, while intransitive verbs cannot. However, both types of verbs can have indirect objects.

  • Transitive: Je lance une chaussure. — I throw a shoe.
  • Intransitive: Je parle à Jacques. — I am speaking to Jacques.

Parler is an interesting example because it's intransitive for everything but language names.

  • Transitive: Je parle anglais. — I speak English.

French verbs can be tricky for Anglophones because some transitive verbs in French have intransitive English translations and vice versa. Pay attention to this.

  • Transitive: Le chat regarde le chien.
  • Intransitive: The cat is looking at the dog.
  • Intransitive: Il téléphone à son ami.
  • Transitive: He is calling his friend.

Confusing Verbs

Like their English counterparts, voir "to see" and regarder "to watch" differ based on the subject's intention. If the subject is actively watching or looking for something, use regarder. Otherwise, use voir.

  • Le chat regarde le poisson. — The cat is watching the fish.
  • Elle peut voir la ville. — She can see the city.

Similarly, the verbs entendre “to hear” and écouter “to listen” differ whether it is a passive event that happens naturally (entendre) or an action that is done consciously (écouter). Use écouter if the subject is actively listening, if not, use entendre.

  • Il entend les oiseaux. — He hears the birds.
  • J’écoute la symphonie. — I am listening to the symphony.

Important: If you find any errors in the Tips and Notes, have questions related to the grammar points above, or would like to discuss the topic in depth, please feel free to comment below. We ask that you keep your comments on topic so that this post stays educational and everyone can benefit from them. Any spam or unrelated comments will be deleted.

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2 months ago


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