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The French Verb Être Conjugation and Pronunciation

Camille Chevalier-Karfis By Camille Chevalier-Karfis - updated on Nov 2, 2020

All conjugations of the French verb être + classic French pronunciation & modern French pronunciation with clear audio recordings + examples & translations.

The French irregular verb être, is one of the most important verbs in the French language.

In this article, you can find the conjugations of être in the present, simple past, imperfect, future of the indicative mood, the conditional present and past, the present subjunctive, as well as the imperative present and the gerund.

The aim of this free French lesson is not to explain the use of the tenses, but to give you the various conjugations of être and more importantly provide you with the recordings of both the formal and spoken modern French pronunciation of être.

This lesson comes with audio recordings. Please press on the headphone next to a verb form to hear my recording of this verb form.

READ ME – Formal vs. Modern French Pronunciation of Être 

There’s a big difference between

  1. formal French – the upscale French used in a very formal situation and by traditional French learning methods
  2. modern spoken French – used a lot in France when people speak in a casual, everyday environment.

The French verb être being so common, its pronunciation is going to change quite strongly between formal and modern spoken French.

Formal French Pronunciation

In more formal French, various forms of être involve liaisons, such as:

  1. Je suis anglais: I am English – the final silent S of suis becomes a Z sound in liaison which starts the following word: Z-anglais.
  2. Vous êtes à Paris: You are in Paris – There are 2 liaisons in a row here:
    – The silent S of vous becomes a Z sound which starts êtes
    – The silent S of êtes becomes a Z sound which starts à

Modern Spoken French

In informal modern French, the pronunciation changes quite a bit:

  1. “Je suis” glides into a “shui” sound, with usually no liaison after: shui anglais.
  2. Vous êtes” will always have a strong liaison. But the second liaison with à will drop and the strong final t sound of êtes will glide into the à: “Vous êtes à Paris“.

And now let’s dig into the various conjugations of être – to be in French.

I will also share important remarks about the French verb être. You may want to first read my article secrets of French verb conjugations for more general tips about how to master French verbs.

About the Audio Recordings In This Free French Lesson

Throughout this lesson, examples are given in the masculine except for “elle” and “elles”.
The subject pronoun “on” will be understood like a “we” plural masculine.

In the audio recording below, I’ll use:

  1. first, a formal, very enunciated French pronunciation,
  2. then, when applicable I will also recored the spoken modern French pronunciation (#3 in my examples above).

If I didn’t record a modern version, it means there’s no significant difference between both, unless otherwise specified.

Sometimes only the example is going to have a modern pronunciation: probably a liaison after the verb which I didn’t make.

Press on the link next to the headphones to hear the pronunciation.

1 – Être – Present Indicative

Let’s learn the conjugation of être in the present indicative, affirmative.

A – Être – Present Indicative Affirmative

Je suis
Je suis (modern)
Je suis canadien.
Je suis canadien.
I am Canadian.
Tu es
Tu es (modern)
Tu es charmant.
Tu es charmant.
You are charming.
Il est
Il est presque minuit.
It is almost midnight.
Elle est
Elle est ici.
She is here.
On est
On est contents.
We are happy.
Nous sommes
Nous sommes fatigués.
We are tired.
Vous êtes

Vous êtes à Paris.
Vous êtes à Paris.
You are in Paris.
Ils sont
Ils sont (modern)
Ils sont très gentils.
Ils sont très gentils.
They are very kind.
Elles sont
Elles sont (modern)
Elles sont en France.
Elles sont en France.
They are in France.

B – Être And Liaisons

What’s A Liaison?

In French, a liaison takes place when a word ends in a silent letter and the next word starts with a vowel sound. Sometimes, that silent letters will become the first sound of the next word.

Liaisons With Être

There are many liaisons with être. Some between the subject pronouns and the verb form. Some after the verb form.

Let’s take some examples:

Elle est ici = “est” is pronounced “ay” but the “t” carries on in liaison to start the next word “ici” .
Note that “elle” ends in a strong consonant sound which is going to glide into the “est”. This is not a liaison but a gliding.

Vous êtes à Paris = there are 2 liaisons here :
1- between “vous” and “êtes” – there is a strong liaison in Z that will always take place. Nobody would ever say “voo/ayt” in French.
2- between “êtes” and “à” – that liaison in Z is likely be dropped in spoken French. This is not a rule. It’s a lazy mouth situation!!

Liaisons – Formal Vs Everyday French

Liaisons will differ tremendously between formal French and everyday spoken French.

The same French person will, depending on the context, use a more or less formal French language register, and therefore speak using a liaison in one occasion, and not do it in another occasion.

The spoken pronunciation will even be stronger in the negative.

Let’s see the various possible pronunciation of this sentence:

  1. Vous n’êtes pas à Paris – [voo nêt pa za pari] – very formal French pronunciation.
    Someone reading poetry or a very eloquent speaker in a formal situation would speak that way.
  2. Vous n’êtes pas à Paris – [voo nêt paa pari] common modern spoken French pronunciation
    I would say that most of the time, even in a somewhat formal situation.
    The difference is: no liaison after pas
  3. Vous n’êtes pas à Paris – [voo zêt paa pari] common modern spoken French pronunciation.
    I do say this a lot… but it doesn’t feel good to teach it… Lots of people would frown upon teaching this pronunciation to foreigners, yet would use it themselves without noticing it in a relaxed setting….
    It’s the way most people speak nowadays in France in a relaxed setting.
    The difference are: the n’ disappear, there’s a liaison between vous and êtes – wrong since there should be a n’ in there…. – no liaison after pas)
  4. Vous n’êtes pas à Paris – [ziet paa pari] drastic modern spoken French pronunciation – I don’t speak like that myself but you’ll hear it.
    The difference: on top of everything in 3, the voo is skipped.

As a student, I suggest you start by learning the formal way of speaking French. Then, as you become more fluent, and in the right context, you may ease up into a more spoken French pronunciation.

In any case, you need to understand both formal and everyday French pronunciations since you’ll hear both!

In the audio recordings, pay attention to where I make liaisons: make sure you mimic my pronunciation.

Would The Modern Pronunciation Affect Written French?

Unless you’re texting in French, it shouldn’t. The French are still attached to the way they write their language. Yet, many people will tell you that many French people make a lot of mistakes when they write, and that with the influence of texting, the younger generation doesn’t care as much as we used to…

French is alive. Like it or not, it’s bound to evolve.

How Do You Develop An Ear For Liaison And Glidings?

The only way to develop and ear for liaisons and glidings is to train with audio featuring both overly enunciated classic French pronunciation and modern spoken French pronunciation, like it’s the case in my French audiobooks.

And now, let’s see the conjugation of être in the present indicative negative.

C – Être – Present Indicative Negative

When you listen to the formal enunciated pronunciation you may notice I am probably not pronouncing être in the negative as you expected me to.

In French nowadays, even in a formal context, even if someone had a very enunciated and clear pronunciation, there would be some glidings with the “ne”…

In everyday spoken French, the “ne” often totally disappear, and the liaison or gliding of the affirmative form remains. So how do you know the sentence is negative? The “pas”.

If you wonder why sometimes the ne becomes n’, you need to read my lesson about elision in French.

Je ne suis pas
Je ne suis pas (modern)
Je ne suis pas canadien.
Je ne suis pas canadien.
I am not Canadian.
Tu n’es pas
Tu n’es pas (modern)
Tu n’es pas charmant.
Tu n’es pas charmant.
You are not charming.
Il n’est pas
Il n’est pas (modern)
Il n’est pas minuit.
Il n’est pas minuit.
It is not midnight.
Elle n’est pas
Elle n’est pas (modern)
Elle n’est pas ici.
Elle n’est pas ici.
She is not here.
On n’est pas
On n’est pas contents.
We are not happy.
Nous ne sommes pas
Nous ne sommes pas (modern)
Nous ne sommes pas fatigués.
Nous ne sommes pas fatigués.
We are not tired.
Vous n’êtes pas
Vous n’êtes pas (modern)
Vous n’êtes pas à Paris.
Vous n’êtes pas à Paris.
You are not in Paris.
Ils ne sont pas
Ils ne sont pas (modern)
Ils ne sont pas très gentils.
Ils ne sont pas très gentils.
They are not very kind.
Elles ne sont pas
Elles ne sont pas (modern)
Elles ne sont pas en France.
Elles ne sont pas en France.
They are not in France.

D – Why Drill In The Negative ?

Many of you have learned that to make a French verb negative, you add “ne” and “pas”. You did a couple of written exercises. Then moved on to studying something else.

And it’s really too bad.

In real life, a lot of times when you speak you’ll be using the French verbs in the negative. You won’t have time to think. You won’t have time to “build” your negative.

That’s why drilling in the negative is so important.

My French verb drill audiobooks feature the conjugations and the pronunciations of the most common French irregular verbs. In the affirmative, negative and interrogative forms. With audio drills and quizzes…

The aim of these audiobooks is not to teach you the meaning of the tenses, but for you to acquire reflexes and the right pronunciation of the various French verb conjugations. Check it out!

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E – On Est Vs On N’est

Because of the strong liaison in N after On, there’s no difference in pronunciation between “on est” and “on n’est pas“. It’s only the “pas” that tells you it’s negative… More about the subject pronoun on in French.

F – Vous Êtes Pas

So, theoretically, you know it’s supposed to be “vous n’êtes pas“. But we’ve learned there’s a very strong liaison in Z in “vous êtes“. It’s logic, natural for people to say “vous êtes”… And we’ve also seen that the “ne” part of the negative tends to disappear in spoken French.

So you will hear people say “vous êtes pas” instead of “vous n’êtes pas“. It’s really not correct, but it’s very common. You may even just hear “zêt pa” but that would be an extreme gliding…. I wouldn’t say that myself.

G – Is Être Always To Be In English?

The verb être is important in French not only because it means “to be”, a very common verb, but also because it is what’s called “an auxiliary verb”.

This means just like in English, être is used to form tenses.

To Be In English

In English, when you saying “she is studying French” you’re using “is” to create a tense, the present progressive: to be + a verb in ING.

In this sentence “is” doesn’t mean “to be”. The verb is “study” and it’s being conjugated in the present progressive tense to indicate you are in the middle of studying.

To Be In French

In French, we use être with some verbs to form compound tenses such as passé composé, a tense of the past. You’ll find more about the verbs using être in passé-composé in this article.

When être is part of these tenses, it may not translate as “to be” at all… Être in this case is just a tool to form a tense, it has no meaning of its own.

Hier, elle est allée à la boulangerie = yesterday, she went to the bakery – yesterday, she has been to the bakery.
In this sentence, “est” doesn’t translate as “to be / is” but is part of a tense : “est allée” which usually translates as “went”, but could translate as “has been”, “did go”…

Don’t Waste Your Precious Time

If you ask me, it’s totally useless to memorize the various conjugations of a verb before you study thoroughly the tenses.

Too often, translating from English won’t work. You need to understand when we use that tense in French.

Unfortunately, for many of you, learning French was all about “eating” French conjugations… There’s more to French than the irregular verb conjugations!

Maybe it’s time you start learning French the smart way…

The present tenses is explained thoroughly in my beginner French audio method.

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2 – Être – Past Participle

The past participle of a verb is used to form compound tenses like passé-composé. We’ll talk more about it below.

The past participle of être is “été“.

Note that the past participle été will never agree with anything… It’s impossible to write étées in French…

Don’t mistake the past participle of être été with the French word for summer: l’été. Same spelling and pronunciation, different meaning and grammatical value!

So now let’s see how to conjugate the French verb être in the “passé composé.

3 – Être – Simple Past Indicative

Le passé composé is a past tense that can be translated as the simple past (I was) or the present perfect in English (I have been). I’ve also seen it called the compound past.

For the verb être, it is formed with the auxiliary verb avoir  in the present indicative tense and the past participle of être = été

In the conjugation chart below, I’ll record both formal and when applicable, a more modern pronunciation.

A – Être – Simple Past – Affirmative

J’ai été
J’ai été content.
I have been happy.
Tu as été
Tu as été (modern)
Tu as été charmant.
Tu as été charmant.
You were charming.
Il a été
Il a été formidable.
He was wonderful.
Elle a été
Elle a été ici.
She has been here.
On a été
On a été étudiants.
We have been students
Nous avons été
Nous avons été (modern)
Nous avons été fatigués.
Nous avons été fatigués.
We have been tired.
Vous avez été
Vous avez été (modern)
Vous avez été très utiles.
Vous avez été très utiles.
You have been very useful.
Ils ont été
Ils ont été (modern)
Ils ont été gentils.
Ils ont été gentils.
They have been kind.
Elles ont été
Elles ont été (modern)
Elles ont été impatientes.
Elles ont été impatientes.
They have been impatient.

Doing the liaison between the auxiliary avoir and été is now extremely formal in French. It’s possible… but rare.

So I suggest you use a middle gliding: still pronounce nicely and clearly the subject pronouns but dismiss the liaison between avoir and été.

Let’s move on to the negative, shall we?

B – Être – Passé Composé – Negative

Je n’ai pas été
Je n’ai pas été (moderne)
Je n’ai pas été content.
Je n’ai pas été content.
I have not been happy.
Tu n’as pas été
Tu n’as pas été (moderne)
Tu n’as pas été charmant.
Tu n’as pas été charmant.
You weren’t charming.
Il n’a pas été
Il n’a pas été (moderne)
Il n’a pas été formidable.
Il n’a pas été formidable.
He wasn’t wonderful.
Elle n’a pas été
Elle n’a pas été (moderne)
Elle n’a pas été ici.
Elle n’a pas été ici.
She hasn’t been here.
On n’a pas été
On n’a pas été (moderne)
On n’a pas été étudiants.
On n’a pas été étudiants.
We haven’t been students
Nous n’avons pas été
Nous n’avons pas été (moderne)
Nous n’avons pas été fatigués.
Nous n’avons pas été fatigués.
We haven’t been tired.
Vous n’avez pas été
Vous n’avez pas été (moderne)
Vous n’avez pas été très utiles.
Vous n’avez pas été très utiles.
You haven’t been very useful.
Ils n’ont pas été
Ils n’ont pas été (moderne)
Ils n’ont pas été gentils.
Ils n’ont pas été gentils.
They haven’t been kind.
Elles n’ont pas été
Elles n’ont pas été (moderne)
Elles n’ont pas été impatientes.
Elles n’ont pas été impatientes.
They haven’t been impatient.

Please let me insist… You don’t have to apply that modern pronunciation. Actually, if you are a student of French in school, your teacher may very much disapprove of this modern French pronunciation often considered “poor” French by scholars.

However even I would speak this way in a relaxed environment. So would a waiter, or my 80 years-old mom… So you need to understand it.

Now let’s see what the conjugations of the French verb être are in the other main tense of the past: l’imparfait.

The foundations of French grammar, such as the various French pronouns, adverbs, adjectives, the many ways of asking questions etc… are explained in depth and illustrated within the story of my intermediate French audiobook method.

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4 – Être – Imperfect Indicatif

L’imparfait, the French imperfect tense is another French past tense. The “imparfait” is used to talk about ongoing or repeated actions in the past.

It can be translated to English as “was being” or “used to be”, although it can sometimes also be translated as the simple “was”, depending on the context….

As I said above, you cannot learn how to use French tenses by translating from English. You need to understand when and why we use that tense in French.

So let’s look at the conjugation of être in the imparfait.

A – Être – Imparfait – Affirmative Conjugation

Notice that the conjugations of the imparfait of être are irregular, as the stem is ét-.

J’étais (modern)
J’étais content.
I used to be happy.
Tu étais
Tu étais (modern)
Tu étais charmant.
Tu étais charmant.
You were being charming.
Il était
Il était formidable.
He was wonderful.
Elle était
Elle était ici.
Elle était ici.
She used to be here.
On était

On était étudiants.
On était étudiants.
We were students
Nous étions
Nous étions fatigués.
We were being tired.
Vous étiez
Vous étiez très utiles.
You were very useful.
Ils étaient
Ils étaient (modern)
Ils étaient gentils.
Ils étaient gentils.
They were being kind.
Elles étaient
Elles étaient (modern)
Elles étaient impatientes.
Elles étaient impatientes.
They used to be impatient.

Now let’s see what happens in the negative.

B – Être – Imperfect – Negative Conjugation

Je n’étais pas
Je n’étais pas (modern)
Je n’étais pas content.
Je n’étais pas content.
I didn’t use to be happy.
Tu n’étais pas
Tu n’étais pas(modern)
Tu n’étais pas charmant.
Tu n’étais pas charmant.
You weren’t being charming.
Il n’était pas
Il n’était pas (modern)
Il n’était pas formidable.
Il n’était pas formidable.
He wasn’t wonderful.
Elle n’était pas
Elle n’était pas (modern)
Elle n’était pas ici.
Elle n’était pas ici.
She didn’t use to be here.
On n’était pas
On n’était pas étudiants.
On n’était pas étudiants.
We weren’t students
Nous n’étions pas
Nous n’étions pas (modern)
Nous n’étions pas fatigués.
Nous n’étions pas fatigués.
We were not being tired.
Vous n’étiez pas
Vous n’étiez pas (modern)
Vous n’étiez pas très utiles.
Vous n’étiez pas très utiles.
You weren’t very useful.
Ils n’étaient pas
Ils n’étaient pas (modern)
Ils n’étaient pas gentils.
Ils n’étaient pas gentils.
They were not being kind.
Elles n’étaient pas
Elles n’étaient pas (modern)
Elles n’étaient pas impatientes.
Elles n’étaient pas impatientes.
They didn’t use to be impatient.

Let’s leave the past to look at être in the future, and more importantly, its pronunciation.

5 – Être – Future Indicative

Notice that the conjugation of the future tense of être is irregular, as the stem is ser-.

With the French R pronunciation being so important for the pronunciation of the future tense, I believe pronouncing the e in serai etc… will soon be out-dated.

So for this tense, you may consider mimicking the modern pronunciation.

A – Être in the Future Affirmative Pronunciation

Je serai
Je serai (moderne)
Je serai content.
Je serai content.
I will be happy.
Tu seras
Tu seras (moderne)
Tu seras charmant.
Tu seras charmant.
You will be charming.
Il sera
Il sera (moderne)
Il sera formidable.
Il sera formidable
He will be wonderful.
Elle sera
Elle sera (moderne)
Elle sera ici.
Elle sera ici.
She will be here.
On sera
On sera (moderne)
On sera étudiants.
On sera étudiants.
We will ben students
Nous serons
Nous serons (moderne)
Nous serons fatigués.
Nous serons fatigués.
We will be tired.
Vous serez
Vous serez (moderne)
Vous serez très utiles.
Vous serez très utiles.
You will be very useful.
Ils seront
Ils seront (moderne)
Ils seront gentils.
Ils seront gentils.
They will be kind.
Elles seront
Elles seront (moderne)
Elles seront impatientes.
Elles seront impatientes.
They will be impatient.

B – Être – Future Negative Pronunciation

Let’s see the conjugation of the French verb être in the future indicative negative.

I bet any student of French hearing this modern French pronunciation of être in the negative for the first time would be extremely surprised! Hence the importance to always learn French – even French verb conjugations – with audio !

You enjoy this free French lesson? We’re a 2 person company based in France… Please consider supporting FrenchToday on Patreon or purchasing our unique audiobooks to learn French.

Je ne serai pas
Je ne serai pas (moderne)
Je ne serai pas content.
Je ne serai pas content.
I won’t be happy.
Tu ne seras pas
Tu ne seras pas (moderne)
Tu ne seras pas charmant.
Tu ne seras pas charmant.
You won’t be charming.
Il ne sera pas
Il ne sera pas (moderne)
Il ne sera pas formidable.
Il ne sera pas formidable.
He won’t be wonderful.
Elle ne sera pas
Elle ne sera pas (moderne)
Elle ne sera pas ici.
Elle ne sera pas ici.
She won’t be here.
On ne sera pas
On ne sera pas (moderne)
On ne sera pas étudiants.
On ne sera pas étudiants.
We won’t be students
Nous ne serons pas
Nous ne serons pas (moderne)
Nous ne serons pas fatigués.
Nous ne serons pas fatigués.
We won’t be tired.
Vous ne serez pas
Vous ne serez pas (moderne)
Vous ne serez pas très utiles.
Vous ne serez pas très utiles.
You won’t be very useful.
Ils ne seront pas
Ils ne seront pas (moderne)
Ils ne seront pas gentils.
Ils ne seront pas gentils.
They won’t be kind.
Elles ne seront pas
Elles ne seront pas (moderne)
Elles ne seront pas impatientes.
Elles ne seront pas impatientes.
They won’t be impatient.

C – Être In The Near Future

So être in the simple future is rather easy. But I’m sorry to say it’s not very used in French nowadays…

In French nowadays, we mostly use the near future, which is the equivalent to the English “going to + verb”. In French the near future is formed with the present tense conjugation of the verb aller (to go) + the infinitive (être). More in my free lesson on the 2 French future tenses.

So instead of saying “je serai gentil”, it’s quite likely we’d say: “Je vais être gentil” – I’m going to be nice.

Once again, the tenses of the past and future indicative are explained in depth and illustrated within the story of in my upper intermediate audio method. The story is recorded twice: using a classic and then a modern spoken French pronunciation.

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6 – Être – Pluperfect

Most of you have no idea what the pluperfect is… Honestly, it’s not often used in English nowadays, but it’s a compound tense like passé-composé.

The pluperfect describes an action completed prior to another action in the past.

When I was fifteen, I had already been very sick.

In English, it’s formed by “had” and the past participle, as in: he had gone by then.

In French, the plus-que-parfait is still used. It’s formed it with être or avoir in the imparfait indicative, and the main verb in the past participle.

Être uses avoir to form its pluperfect.
So avoir in the imparfait… and été.

Quand j’avais quinze ans, j’avais déjà été très malade.

Here is the conjugation of être in the pluperfect. I’ll record it only once, in the affirmative, using a “medium” formal pronunciation since this is a rather formal tense: I will not do a liaison between avoir and été, which would be very formal, but I will not do the modern gliding like saying “t’avais été” which are possible.

J’avais étéJ’avais été content.
I had been happy.
Tu avais étéTu avais été charmant.
You had been charming.
Il avait étéIl avait été formidable.
He had been wonderful.
Elle avait étéElle avait été ici.
She had been here.
On avait étéOn avait été étudiants.
We had been students
Nous avions étéNous avions été fatigués.
We had been tired.
Vous aviez étéVous aviez été très utiles.
You had been very useful.
Ils avaient étéIls avaient été gentils.
They had been kind.
Elles avaient étéElles avaient été impatientes.
They had been impatient.

In the negative, the “ne” and the “pas” will go around the conjugated auxiliary verb avoir, like with any compound tense.

7 – Être – Future Perfect

Another obscure tense in English. Used only in a very specific situation in French as in English. Another compound tense like passé-composé.

The future perfect – futur-antérieur in French, describes an action that will be completed prior to another action in the future.

When you will get home, I will have finished my homework.

In English, it’s formed by “will have” and the past participle, as in: I will have finished.

In French, the futur-antérieur is formed it with être or avoir in the future indicative, and the main verb in the past participle.

Être uses avoir to form its future perfect.
So avoir in the futur… then été.

Quand tu rentreras, j’aurai fini mes devoirs.

Here is the conjugation of être in the future perfect. I’ll record it only once, in the affirmative, using a rather formal pronunciation since this is a rather formal tense.: I will not do a liaison between avoir and été, which would be very formal, but I will not do the modern gliding like saying “t’auras été” which are possible.

J’aurai étéJ’aurai été content.
I will have been happy.
Tu auras étéTu auras été charmant.
You will have been charming.
Il aura étéIl aura été formidable.
He will have been wonderful.
Elle aura étéElle aura été ici.
She will have been here.
On aura étéOn aura été étudiants.
We will have been students
Nous aurons étéNous aurons été fatigués.
We will have been tired.
Vous aurez étéVous aurez été très utiles.
You will have been very useful.
Ils auront étéIls auront été gentils.
They will have been kind.
Elles auront étéElles auront été impatientes.
They will have been impatient.

Now that we’ve seen the major tenses of the indicative mood, let’s study the conjugation of être in the other French moods.

8 – Être – Conditional Present

The conditional mood in French is the equivalent to the English “would + verb.”

Notice that it uses the same irregular stem as the future tense, so it’s going to be the same pronunciation in the beginning of the verb.

A – Être- Conditional Present Affirmative Pronunciation

Je serais
Je serais (modern)
Je serais content.
Je serais content.
I would be happy.
Tu serais
Tu serais (modern)
Tu serais charmant.
Tu serais charmant.
You would be charming.
Il serait
Il serait (modern)
Il serait formidable.
Il serait formidable.
He would be wonderful.
Elle serait
Elle serait (modern)
Elle serait ici.
Elle serait ici.
She would be here.
On serait
On serait (modern)
On serait étudiants.
On serait étudiants.
We would be students
Nous serions
Nous serions fatigués.
We would be tired.
Vous seriez
Vous seriez très utiles.
You would be very useful.
Ils seraient
Ils seraient (modern)
Ils seraient gentils.
Ils seraient gentils.
They would be kind.
Elles seraient
Elles seraient (modern)
Elles seraient impatientes.
Elles seraient impatientes.
They would be impatient.

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B – Être – Conditional Negative Conjugaison

Let’s see the conjugation of the French verb être in the conditional present negative.

Je ne serais pas
Je ne serais pas (modern)
Je ne serais pas content.
Je ne serais pas content.
I wouldn’t be happy.
Tu ne serais pas
Tu ne serais pas (modern)
Tu ne serais pas charmant.
Tu ne serais pas charmant.
You wouldn’t be charming.
Il ne serait pas
Il ne serait pas (modern)
Il ne serait pas formidable.
Il ne serait pas formidable.
He wouldn’t be wonderful.
Elle ne serait pas
Elle ne serait pas (modern)
Elle ne serait pas ici.
Elle ne serait pas ici.
She wouldn’t be here.
On ne serait pas
On ne serait pas (modern)
On ne serait pas étudiants.
On ne serait pas étudiants.
We wouldn’t be students
Nous ne serions pas
Nous ne serions pas (modern)
Nous ne serions pas fatigués.
Nous ne serions pas fatigués.
We wouldn’t be tired.
Vous ne seriez pas
Vous ne seriez pas (modern)
Vous ne seriez pas très utiles.
Vous ne seriez pas très utiles.
You wouldn’t be very useful.
Ils ne seraient pas
Ils ne seraient pas (modern)
Ils ne seraient pas gentils.
Ils ne seraient pas gentils.
They wouldn’t be kind.
Elles ne seraient pas
Elles ne seraient pas (modern)
Elles ne seraient pas impatientes.
Elles ne seraient pas impatientes.
They wouldn’t be impatient.

9 – Être – Past Conditional

The conditional is also used in the past. In English, mostly to convey the notions of “could have, should have, would have“. Follow the link to read more about it in my article.

I would have been happy if he had warned me.

In French, the past conditional is quite used. Especially when making hypothesis in French

So I’ll record it for you, using a formal pronunciation for this rather formal tense.

The form is easy: the past conditional is a compound tense like the passé-composé. I bet you can guess it by now…
Avoir in the present conditional and été…

J’aurais été content s’il m’avait prévenu.

I’m going to record this tense of the conditional only once since it has more to do with the pronunciation of “avoir” than ‘être”… I’ll use a rather formal pronunciation, but won’t make the liaison with the auxiliary avoir and été. It’s possible though, but very formal nowadays. Modern glidings are also possible.

A – Conjugation of Être in the Past Conditional

J’aurais étéJ’aurais été content.
I would have been happy.
Tu aurais étéTu aurais été charmant.
You would have been charming.
Il aurait étéIl aurait été formidable.
He would have been wonderful.
Elle aurait étéElle aurait été ici.
She would have been here.
On aurait étéOn aurait été étudiants.
We would have been students
Nous aurions étéNous aurions été fatigués.
We would have been tired.
Vous auriez étéVous auriez été très utiles.
You would have been very useful.
Ils auraient étéIls auraient été gentils.
They would have been kind.
Elles auraient étéElles auraient été impatientes.
They would have been impatient.

B – Past Conditional Second Form

A second form to the past conditional? You must be kidding!

That form does exist though. But full disclosure: I had to look it up. Why should student of French learn it? Pleeeeeease!

You want to see it? Here it is. Please don’t bother learning it unless your teacher specifically asked you…

For the fun of it, I’m going to record it. I’ll use the super formal pronunciation since if you were to use that form, it could only be in a super formal setting…

  1. j’eusse été
  2. tu eusses été
  3. il eût été
  4. elle eût été
  5. on eût été
  6. nous eussions été
  7. vous eussiez été
  8. ils eussent été
  9. elles eussent été

Even if you were an advanced student of French, I can’t see why you’d need to learn this tense. Your time will be better used mastering the French subjunctive. Coming up next!

10 – Être – Present Subjunctive

The subjunctive mood conjugation of être highly irregular. 

Let me remind you the French subjunctive in a nutshell.

  1. Often, 2 different people are involved: the first one wanting/hoping/ fearing… that the other one do something.
  2. Sometimes, it is an expression followed by the subjunctive, such as “il faut que”.

Should you need a deeper review, I invite you to read my complete guide to the French subjunctive.

So let’s conjugate être in the subjunctive affirmative.

A – Être – Present Subjunctive Affirmative

Que je soisIl veut que je sois heureux.
He wants me to be happy.
Que tu soisElle ordonne que tu sois charmant.
She demands you be charming.
Qu’il soitIl est dommage qu’il soit presque minuit.
It’s too bad it’s almost midnight.
Qu’elle soitJe doute qu’elle soit ici.
I doubt she’d be here.
Qu’on soitOn redoute qu’il soit triste.
We fear he may be sad.
Que nous soyonsC’est normal que nous soyons fatigués.
It’s normal we are tired.
Que vous soyezNous aimerions que vous soyez à Paris.
We would love for you to be in Paris.
Qu’ils soientPierre désire qu’ils soient très gentils.
Pierre wants them to be very kind.
Qu’elles soientIl faut qu’elles soient en France.
It’s necessary that they’d be in France.

Believe it or not, many French people make mistakes in the subjunctive. Don’t get me wrong: the French subjunctive is a common tense, still very much used. But it’s still fancy French. And you’ll hear many mistakes.

B – Être – Present Subjunctive Negative

So, here is the thing… The subjunctive is not really used in the negative. I mean it’s technically possible :

Il faut que tu ne sois pas en France.
It’s important for you to not be in France.

But honestly, how often are you going to say that?

The first part may be in the negative:

Il ne faut pas que tu sois en France
You shouldn’t be in France

is different from

Il faut que tu ne sois pas en France
It’s important for you to not be in France.

See what I mean?

So I won’t conjugate être in the subjunctive negative here.

C – Être – Other Tenses Of The Subjunctive

As for all the other tenses of the subjunctive, we simply don’t use them. If you want to embarrass your French friends, ask them to conjugate être in the subjunctive imperfect… I mean we studied it in school at one point, and may read it from time to time in older literature or fancy essays… But that’s about it.

11 – Être – Imperative Present

The imperative mood is used to give commands, both positive and negative. 

They have the same verb form, but the negative commands include ne…pas around the verb.

Here again, the imperative is a pretty fancy French tense… Unless you are yelling orders all the time, we really don’t use it all that much… So I’ll record it only once.

(Tu) sois !Sois gentil !
Be kind!
Ne sois pas gentil!
Don’t be kind!
(Nous) soyons !Soyons heureux !
Let’s be happy!
Ne soyez pas heureux!
Let’s not be happy!
(Vous) soyez !Soyez patients !
Be patient!
Ne soyez pas patients!
Don’t be patient!

12 – Être – Present Participle/Gerund

One of the uses of the present participle is to form the gerund (usually preceded by the preposition en).

The gerund is much less used in French than it is in English. It is sometimes used to stress the fact that 2 actions are simultaneous actions.

Present Participle/Gerund of être is: étant

J’ai passé mon examen en étant malade.
I took my exam while being sick.

Voilà ! That’s all you need to know about the conjugation and pronunciation of être.

Did you enjoy this free French lesson? There are over 800 separate audio files and writing, recording and mostly editing/ processing the audio for this lesson took me several days’ work.

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