French Present Tense Revision for Junior and Leaving Certs


The present tense is extremely important in French. It is the tense that you will use most frequently in your written pieces- so faites attention!

ETRE (to be) AVOIR (To have)
Je suis : I am J’ai: I have
Il/ Elle/ On est: He/ she/ one is Il/ Elle/ On a: He/ she/ one has
Nous sommes: We are Nous avons: We have
Ils sont: They are Ils/ Elles ont: They have



“Ce/il” (meaning this/it) will take “est” to say “it is.”

“C’est/ il est important de”: It’s/It is important to



Il y a means there is/ there are.



Example : Il est important d’agir ensemble pour lutter contre ce problème : It is important to act together to fight against this problem



Il y a beaucoup de débouchés dans ce métier : There are many job opportunities in this job



Singular words (only one) will also take the « il » form from verbs.

Example: Le gouvernement est/ Le gouvernement doit: The government is/ the government has to



Plural words (more than one) will take the “ils” form from verbs.

Example: Les gouvernements sont/ Les gouvernements doivent: The governments are/ the governments have to



ER verb endings are “e”,”es”,”e”,”ons”,ez”,”ent.”

IR verb endings are « is », « is », « it », « issons, » « issez, » issent. »

RE verb endings are “s”, “s”, “nothing”, “ons” , “ez,” “ent.”


The below irregular verbs are important for written pieces:




VOULOIR (to want) FAIRE (to do)
Je veux : I want Je fais: I do
Il/ Elle/ On veut: He/ She/ One wants to Il/ Elle/ On fait: He/ She/ One does
Nous voulons: We want to Nous faisons: We do
Ils veulent: They want to Ils font: They do




POUVOIR (To be able) DEVOIR (To have to)
Je peux : I can Je dois: I have to
Il/ Elle/ on peut: He/ she/ one can Il/ Elle/ On doit: He/ she/one has to
Nous pouvons: We can Nous doivons: We have to
Ils peuvent: They can Ils doivent: They have to



***Mix up the “nous” and the “on” in written/oral pieces to increase language marks***


On doit accepter que nous avons de la chance de vivre en Irlande aujourd’hui.

We have to accept that we are lucky to live in Ireland today.

If you are struggling to conjugate irregular verbs in your written piece simply place the full verb after the conjugated pouvoir/ vouloir/ devoir where applicable.


Le gouvernement doit résoudre les problèmes associés avec l’emigration : The government has to/ should resolve the problems associated with emigration


Le ministre de la Santé doit sensibiliser le public sur les risques de l’obésité :

The Health Minister must educate the public about the risks of obesity



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