(Original post by SBizzy)
How should I learn the french tenses? My teacher told me to learn them before we come back from summer break, so it can be easier for me.
You're already leaving it a bit late, aren't you? Better get on with it asap - there's no "quick & easy" way.
Presumably your teacher has given you a list of the tenses you need to know? For each of these, do the following:
- Learn the stem and the endings for all the regular verbs. There are three groups of verbs: those ending in -er
, in -ir
(where the ending in the nous
form is -issons)
and in -re/-ir
. You don't need to learn each of the verbs separately as all the verbs in any one regular group will behave in the same way. So just learn how to find the stem and learn the endings for each of these three groups.
- Then take your teacher's list of irregular verbs that you need to know (on the basis that he/she has given you one) and learn each tense for each of them. You will find that in most cases the endings are regular, it is the stems that change.
- You will also need to learn the auxiliary verb which goes with each verb, in order to be able to form the passé composé
(and other compound tenses which you'll come across later). There is no need to learn the passé composé
as a separate tense for each verb, as long as you know whether the verb takes avoir
and as long as you know the past participle (for example, mangé; fini; vendu; parti)
- Make sure that you know how to form reflexive verbs - conjugating these is easy enough, but you mustn't forget that you need both the subject and the reflexive pronoun every time (for example: je me lève; tu te réveilles; il se souvient...)
Your teacher is certainly right: knowing your tenses thoroughly will make your studies a lot easier. And to learn them really well, you need to practise. So learn first, then head for exercises so that you can get to the stage where you can do your conjugations without thinking about them. Your teacher might have provided exercises, but if not, there are plenty of free websites that allow you to do this (like BBC Bitesize) or you can buy a book (like the Collins Easy Learning French Verbs and Practice).