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Crier in French: Definition & Conjugation

Instructor: AJ Dana-Yoblonski

Dual citizen of France and Canada. Journalist - French print media (L'Obs, Paris Match, Le Parisien, ...) / Private tutor (grammar: English, French, Latin; literature) / Institutional communications officer

In this lesson, we'll go over the basic conjugation of the French verb 'crier,' which means 'to shout' in French. We will also see how and when this verb is used.

Introducing the Verb Crier

Es-tu prêt à crier? ('Are you ready to shout?') your friend Samuel asks you, as your favorite band is about to sing your favorite song. That's usually what people do at a concert: They shout when they applaud and they shout when they sing along. Oui, j'ai envie de crier! ('Yes, I want to shout!') you answer Samuel.

The verb we use to express the action 'to shout' is crier (kree-yay). As with the English version of the word, we can use crier in different contexts and with different prepositions and postpositions. Let's look at some of the ways that we can use crier in everyday conversation.

Pejoratively

Crier can be used to mean 'to scream' or 'to yell,' as in:

  • Ne me crie pas dessus.: Don't yell at me. (negative imperative form)
  • Le bébé n'arrête pas de crier.: The baby won't stop screaming.

Ne me crie pas dessus.
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Neutrally

When used neutrally, it means 'to shout' or 'to speak loudly,' though not necessarily at someone else.

  • Crier son amour pour quelqu'un.: 'To shout one's love for someone.'
  • Crier pour être entendu.: 'To shout in order to be heard.'

Proverbially

It can be used in a proverb, such as in:

  • Ne le crie pas sur tous les toits.: 'Don't shout it over every rooftop.' (When you use this French saying, you are telling someone to remain discreet--not to tell to many people about a secret or other piece of information.)

Ne le crie pas sur tous les toits.
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Forms of Crier

Let's get back to the concert. The band is about to sing your all-time favorite song. You're shouting, your friend is shouting and everyone else around you is shouting. How would you discuss this in French? Let's look the different forms of crier you might need:

Subject Pronoun Crier Conjugation Pronunciation Meaning
Je crie (jö kree) I shout / I am shouting
Tu cries (tu kree) You shout / you are shouting
Il, elle, on crie (eel, ehl an kree) He, she, we shout / he, she is shouting / we are shouting
Nous crions (noo kree-yan) We shout / we are shouting
Vous criez (voo kree-yay) You shout / we are shouting
Ils, elles crient (eel, ehl kree) They shout / they are shouting

Elle crie
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The verb crier is a regular -er verb in French. However, it has a specific pronunciation: The -e is always silent, which means that the verb is pronounced the same way for all subject pronouns except for nous and vous.

Let's go over the imperative form, one of the easiest in French, as it only has 3 subject pronouns: you singular, you plural and we.

Crier Imperative Conjugation Pronunciation Meaning
Crie! (kree) Shout! (singular)
Crions! (kree-yan) Let's shout!
Criez! (kree-yay) Shout! (plural)

When a verb is conjugated at the imperative form in French, you do not add the subject pronoun. It is implicit.

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