Learn about regular and irregular verbs with avoir in the perfect tense – le passé composé in French.

    Le passé composé is a tense that you’ll use to talk about something that happened in the past. To be able to form le passé composé – the perfect tense in French, you will need to know avoir – to have or être – to be in the present tense as well as the participe passé – the past participle of the verbs. You’ll see some regular verbs examples below as well as a few irregular ones that you will need to learn. In this lesson, we will focus on the verbs using avoir.

    -ER verbs with avoir in the perfect tense

    Let’s start with some verbs ending in -ER like , manger (to eat), jouer (to play), aimer (to like). You’ll need to use avoir in the present tense and add the past participle of the verb. If you want to say, “I have played” or “I played”, you need to know:

    • I have = J’ai
    • The past participle of “to play” is played . In French, past participles of regular verbs ending in er will lose their ending and will be replaced by é.

    See some examples below:

    J'ai manger X mangé √ jouer X joué √ aimer X aimé √

    Français (French)
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    J'ai aimé
    I have liked or I liked
    Tu as aimé
    You have liked or you liked
    Il a aimé
    He has liked or he liked
    Elle a aimé
    She has liked or she liked
    On a aimé
    One has liked or one liked
    Nous avons aimé
    We have liked or we liked
    Vous avez aimé
    You have liked or you liked (More than one or formal)
    Ils ont aimé
    They have liked or they liked (male or male and female)
    Elles ont aimé
    They have liked or they liked (female only)

    -IR verbs with avoir in the perfect tense

    Let’s look at some verbs ending in -IR like , finir (to finish), mentir (to lie), choisir (to choose). You’ll need to use avoir in the present tense and add the past participle of the verb. If you want to say, “I have finished” or “I finished”, you need to know:

    • I have = J’ai
    • The past participle of “to finish” is finished . In French, past participles of regular verbs ending in ir will lose their ending and will be replaced by i.

    See some examples below:

    J'ai finir X fini √ mentir X menti √ choisir X choisi √

    Français (French)
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    J'ai choisi
    I have chosen or I chose
    Tu as choisi
    You have chosen or you chose
    Il a choisi
    He has chosen or he chose
    Elle a choisi
    She has chosen or she chose
    On a choisi
    One has chosen or one chose
    Nous avons choisi
    We have chosen or we chose
    Vous avez choisi
    You have chosen or you chose (More than one or formal)
    Ils ont choisi
    They have chosen or they chose (male or male and female)
    Elles ont choisi
    They have chosen or they chose (female only)

    -RE verbs  with avoir in the perfect tense

    Let’s look at some verbs ending in -RE like, entendre (to hear), perdre (to lose), attendre (to wait), vendre (to sell). You’ll need to use avoir in the present tense and add the past participle of the verb. If you want to say, “I have heard” or “I heard”, you need to know:

    • I have = J’ai
    • The past participle of “to hear” is heard . In French, past participles of regular verbs ending in re will lose their ending and will be replaced by u.

    See some examples below:

    J'ai entendre X entendu √ attendre X attendu √ vendre X vendu √

    Français (French)
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    J'ai vendu
    I have sold or I sold
    Tu as vendu
    You have sold or you sold
    Il a vendu
    He has sold or he sold
    Elle a vendu
    She has sold or she sold
    On a vendu
    One has sold or one sold
    Nous avons vendu
    We have sold or we sold
    Vous avez vendu
    You have sold or you sold (More than one or formal)
    Ils ont vendu
    They have sold or they sold (male or male and female)
    Elles ont vendu
    They have sold or they sold (female only)

    Irregular verbs with avoir in the perfect tense

    There are quite a few irregular verbs. For those you will need to learn their past participles since they won’t follow the same patterns as explained previously. Look at the table below and make sure you know as many of them.

    J'ai avoir X eu √ être X été √ faire X fait √ ouvrir X ouvert √ prendre X pris √ mettre X mis √ suivre X suivi √ boire X bu √ croire X cru √ voir X vu √ savoir X su √ connaître X connu √ dire X dit √ lire X lu √ écrire X écrit √ pouvoir X pu √ vouloir X voulu √ devoir X dû √ tenir X tenu √

    Français (French)
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    Avoir - J'ai eu
    To have - I have had or I had
    Être - Tu as été
    To be - You have been or you were
    Faire - Il a fait
    To do - He has done or he did
    Ouvrir - Elle a ouvert
    To open - She has opened or she opened
    Prendre - On a pris
    To take - One has taken or one took
    Mettre - Nous avons mis
    To put - We have put or we put
    Suivre - Vous avez suivi
    To follow - You have followed or you followed (More than one or formal)
    Boire - Ils ont bu
    To drink - They have drank or they drunk (male or male and female)
    Croire - Elles ont cru
    To believe - They have believed or they believed (female only)
    Voir - J'ai vu
    To see - I have seen or I saw
    Savoir - Tu as su
    To know - You have known or you knew
    Connaître - Il a connu
    To know - He has known or he knew
    Dire - elle a dit
    To say - She has said or she said
    Lire - On a lu
    To read - One has read or one read
    Écrire - Nous avons écrit
    To write - We have written or we wrote
    Pouvoir - Vous avez pu
    To be able to - You have been able to or you were abe to(More than one or formal)
    Vouloir - Ils ont voulu
    To want - They have wanted or they wanted (male or male and female)
    Devoir - Elles ont
    To have to - They have had to or they had to (female only)
    Tenir - J'ai tenu
    To hold - I have held or I held
    Recevoir - Tu as reçu
    To receive - You have received or you received

    Elsewhere on the web - BBC Bitesize

    Check the BBC Bitesize guide about verbs in the perfect tense.

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    Learn and practise more about the perfect tense..

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