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Chanter in French: Definition & Conjugation

Instructor: Rebecca Rosenbarker

Rebecca has taught French and English as a Second Language (ESL). She has a master's degree in ESL. Rebecca currently lives in France.

This lesson introduces the French verb ''chanter,'' including its definition and pronunciation. The verb's conjugation is shown in the present tense, future tense, and passé composé. A short quiz to test your knowledge follows this lesson.

Chanter in French: Definition & Conjugation

Picture yourself finally getting to visit Paris, something you've been dreaming of for several years. Once you get there, you meet your friend Alice, who invites you to join her at the Paris Opera. You present your ticket, find your seats, and the curtain goes up. The performance starts, and Alice whispers to you, 'Ils chantent bien!' From the context, do you know what Alice is saying?

Alice used the verb chanter (shan-TAY), which means to sing, to tell you that the performers sing well. Let's examine the verb further to see how it can be used with different subjects and in different tenses.

La femme sur la photo chante. The woman in the picture is singing.
Opera Singer Performing

The Verb Chanter in the Present Tense

The verb chanter is a regular -er verb in French, which means its conjugation pattern is the same as other regular -er verbs. To conjugate chanter as well as other regular -er verbs in the present tense, take the infinitive form of the verb (chanter), and remove the final -er from the verb (chanter becomes chant-). Then, you add the endings seen in the chart below.

Here is this conjugation pattern in the present tense:

Subject Pronoun Conjugation Pronunciation
Je chante shante
Tu chantes shante
Il/Elle/On chante shante
Nous chantons shan-tohn
Vous chantez shan-tay
Ils/Elles chantent shante

You saw an example of this in Alice's statement above, but let's take a look at a few more examples. Let's say you get to meet some of the singers after the performance at the opera. What might you say to them?

  • Vous chantez vraiment bien. You sing really well.
  • Je chante mal. I sing badly.

The Verb Chanter in the Future Tense

As a regular -er verb, the conjugation of the verb chanter in the future tense also follows a predictable pattern. Here is this conjugation pattern in the future tense:

Subject Pronoun Conjugation Pronunciation
Je chanterai shan-ter-ay
Tu chanteras shan-ter-ah
Il/Elle/On chantera shan-ter-a
Nous chanterons shan-ter-ohn
Vous chanterez shan-ter-ay
Ils/Elles chanteront shan-ter-ohn

Let's see some examples of chanter used in the future tense. Here are some other phrases you could say or you might hear as you meet the opera singers after the performance.

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