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Two different ways to conjugate "essayer"???

Are there two different ways to conjugate "essayer"? One is from Barron's 501 Verbs that uses Tu essayes, and Duo's that uses Tu essaies. The past tense form is also different with these two conjugations. Why the difference? Is one more acceptable? or is there another reason? Duo's use of tu essaies is found at comment/35817863.

May 12, 2020



Yes. There are two ways. They are both acceptable. You will be understood either way.


Both are correct. French has a few words that can be written differently (first example is a key: une clé or une clef)


One thing that's interesting about the Bescherelle site is that it let's you filter for «Orthographe traditionnelle» or «Orthographe rectifiée».


This gives a little background: https://youtu.be/cys1QAeho-U


That's interesting. French Verb Drills by R. de Roussy de Sales lists only the spelling essaie in a group of "Verbs ending in -yer that change y to i", along with aboyer, appuyer, employer, envoyer, ennuyer, essuyer, nettoyer, and payer. I knew that I had seen some of them spelled the alternative way (with a y) but I don't remember ever looking it up.

At one point (1:27) in the video he says that the prior pluralization of cheval as chevals is an urban legend. This was also interesting. I did look that up once and found that many words ending in -al in vulgar latin were pluralized -aus in French, as chevaus, etc., owing to the way the L gets pronounced by the latinate tongue when it immediately precedes an S. This S got transcribed with an abbreviative by medieval monks in a way that looks like our letter X and once moveable type came along they just used an X.

What is interesting is that in Portuguese the L before S also has that sound. So that the word tal sounds like you think it should (like it does in Spanish), but tals ends up sounding like "tauz" even though they didn't change the spelling.


It's always fun to learn how words get borrowed/transformed as they move w/in languages. Dany650m found the reason why/how "London" became «Londres».



Very interesting. I remember learning the Spanish word Londres long before learning the French word Londres but I never looked up who invented it first. It seems that it wasn't the Spanish or the French. We can thank Asterix and his kind (the pre-Franko Celts), along with a subsequent orthographic error, for the word Londres.


C'est très marrant.


Ils ont beaucoup de choses excellentes.


Thank you, I'll read these!


There is also " je m'assieds, je m'assois" ;)


The same with payer

  • je paie/paye
  • tu paies/payes



Hummm..thanks, I didn't realize that.


Using the y as in 'tu essayes' is older. Like clef. Modern spelling is tu essaies d'utiliser la clé


It would actually always be with an "y" for the 1st and 2nd person plural nous essayons, vous essayez.

For the rest of it, I find particularly convenient to use the "aie" form (j'essaie, tu essaies, il essaie, ils essaient). It makes the sentence less heavy and easier to pronounce.


Thank you! It was confusing when seeing this newer conjugation for the first time.


Thanks for the clarification, slipped my mind.

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