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Which tense(s) to learn in the beginning?

I have arrived at checkpoint 2 of French tree after the skill 'People 5' in about six months. I'm a slow learner, but I guess that I understood the skills well which I've completed. I've only faced present tense so far and I thought it would be better to learn the tenses and then I searched in various websites. There are so many tenses to remember. Oh God! I cannot learn all of them together, it's too many for my little mind.

So, please advise me which tense(s) should I first learn and move on so that I might not get frustrated by seeing a bundle of tenses together. Your suggestions are highly appreciated!

Thanks in advance!

May 3, 2020



I'm agree with Janet240859, but if you want really to learn news tenses, I think that you could to learn, in addition to the present, the "futur simple", the "passé composé", and the "imparfait", to be able to speak to the future or the past :) To learn these new times, you must have acquired the basics learned on Duolingo. And "Qui va lentement, va sûrement" !


Thank you so much.

[deactivated user]

    If you are not a natural linguist, you are best advised to stick to Duolingo for this, until you have the basic grammar covered - things are taught in a logical sequence, and in bite-sized chunks so you are not overloaded.

    Use other sites to reinforce or clarify what you have already covered in Duolingo, using both lessons and TIPS for each skill.

    And you will make faster - and more memorable - progress if you use this method for moving on through the tree: https://blog.duolingo.com/whats-the-best-way-to-learn-with-duolingo/

    It was written by the course designers.


    Thank you so much, it really took away most of my frustrations. Have a lingot.


    Just do it in the order of Duolingo, I am slow too, because I am old and things take a long time to sink in. It's not a race and enjoy those moments of 'I know that' which do come! I never do the timed revisions, I'm just not quick enough on the keyboard especially peering at the tiny accents. Duo won't expect you to know tenses it hasn't taught you. Bonne chance.


    Thank you. You've learned so much and your profile really impressive.


    Take a look at the verb tense order from the French contributor (=volunteer) team when they wrote the grammar tips and notes (updated for tree3): http://www.duome.eu/tips/en/zz


    Or take a look at the Portuguese T&N from our classic (non-CEFR) tree which is maintained by contributors:


    Then you can do a comparison to the French tree3 T&N and tenses.
    Even that they can't directly be mapped from PT to FR.


    The Italian from English course is also a classic course (like Portuguese).


    You also can find several dedicated "grammar / verb tense" skills in it.

    Whereas the EN->PT tree got updated in June 2018 and grammar skills got splitted into 1-3 sub skills.


    If you know how the "classic" trees did it previously from the contributor (volunteer) side -- like EN->FR (tree3) -- then you can start learning all the grammar basics names, how they relate to French (e.g Simple Past ES/PT -> Compound Past FR in speech) and in what order to pickup the Romance grammar stuff on your own (or grammar book) or do some external research.


    I would advise to take a look at verb tenses and tree design from other Romance laddering trees like



    Keep going through the skill tree. You'll get the various tenses drip-fed in as you go.


    Drip-feed is the best for the learner like me, otherwise it might burst my head. Thank you!


    Just like in English conjugation, do the present, past, future, and those in between (funny?). Youtube can help a lot, my favorite is Learn French by Alexa; Alexa is a charming person not the gadget, my second recommendation is Learn French with Pascal. Have fun.


    So what you're saying is you decided to ignore the order that Duo has nicely put together for you, look up stuff online, get overwhelmed? Yeah. That sounds about right.

    Have you considered moving through Duo normally? You'll get slowly exposed to the tenses. It's almost like someone thought of this and planned it out for you.

    Normally, if you were taking a class in college or high school, you would stick with present for some time. Maybe near the end of the first year, or in the second, you'd see simple past and simple future. I don't think I learned the more complex ones like conditional until 3rd or 4th year.


    I started with present tense. Master être, avoir and aller, I call them the three concubines, very important verbs. Then I moved to past tense or passé composé. Then l'imparfait, future simple, subjonctif présent and conditionnel présent. There are more but this is as far as I've gone. Hope this helps. Cheers!

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