Enseigner: Definition, Conjugation & Synonyms

Instructor: Susan Binkley

Susan has taught college-level French and has a PhD in French studies.

In this lesson we will show you how to use the verb 'enseigner,' which means 'to teach' in English. We'll look at a situation where it would be used, view the conjugation, and learn several sentences with the verb.

Using the Verb Enseigner

Enseigner: to teach

You've found a great use of your time in France: you've decided to volunteer for an after-school program, teaching French children all kinds of different activities.

You're at a get-together with the other volunteers, meeting them and talking about your volunteer work. You all share with each other what you're going to be teaching.

'J'enseigne' (pronounced: zhahn sen yuh) 'la danse.' 'I'm teaching dance,' you tell one volunteer named Claire. 'Tu enseignes' (pronounced: too ahn sen yuh) 'la danse aussi?' 'Are you teaching dance too?' you ask Claire.

'Non, j'enseigne la peinture.' She tells you that no, she's teaching painting. And her friend Anne is teaching music: 'Anne, elle enseigne' (pronounced: el ahn sen yuh) 'la musique.'

One of the new directors hears that you're both teaching: 'Vous enseignez?' (pronounced: voo zahn sen yay) 'Excellent!'

Then she motions to Daniel and Louis, and tells you that they are teaching too: 'Ils enseignent' (pronounced: eel zahn sen yuh) 'aussi. Ils enseignent le sport.'

'Le sport?' Claire asks. ' Ils enseignent le tennis?' ('Do they teach tennis?')

'Non,' she answers. 'Daniel enseigne le football, et Louis enseigne le karaté.' ('Daniel teaches football, and Louis teaches karate.')

'Le football?' you ask, and then pause for a moment as you think about that. 'Ah, oui!' you say. 'Football' en français, c'est 'soccer' en Amérique!' ('Oh, 'football' in French is 'soccer' in the US!')

Did you notice the different uses of enseigner (pronounced: ahn sen yay)? Enseigner is the infinitive form of the verb, or the basic form, of the verb 'to teach.' But we need to conjugate it, or put it in the appropriate form when we use it with a pronoun such as il to say 'he is teaching': il enseigne, in this case.

Forms of Enseigner

Let's take a look at Enseigner in the present tense for all the forms. Here's the conjugation chart:

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