Etudier: Definition, Conjugation & Synonyms

Instructor: Susan Binkley

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

The French verb 'etudier' means 'to study' in English. This lesson will show you how to use that verb. We'll look at a common situation where you might hear it, view the conjugation, and learn a few sentences with the verb.

Using the Verb Etudier

A semester study-abroad in Paris! You're looking forward to your time at a French university, and the first item on the agenda is a getting-to-know-you social with the other students. One way to learn more about your fellow classmates is to figure out what they're planning to study. But how do you do that in French? Let's find out by joining a conversation:

J'étudie (pronounced: zhay-too-dee) les maths (I study math), says Julie.

Tu étudies (pronounced: too-ay-too-dee) les maths? (You study math?), you ask.

Then you tell Julie that Pauline and Jacques, across the room, study math too:

Ils étudient (pronounced: eel-zay-too-dee) les maths aussi! (They study math, too!)

Pauline then walks over and tells you that Louis studies biology and Claire studies Spanish:

Il étudie (pronounced: eel-ay-too-dee) la biologie et elle étudie (pronounced: el-ay too-dee) le français.

Il Etudie.
étudier

Did you notice the forms of étudier (pronounced: ay-too-dyay) that are used? Etudier is the infinitive form of the verb 'to study,' which means it is the basic, generic form. When we use it with a pronoun such as je to say 'I study,' we use the appropriate form, or conjugation: j'étudie.

Let's take a look at the verb conjugation in the present tense for all the forms of the word.

Forms of Etudier

Here's the conjugation chart for étudier:

Subject Pronoun Etudier Conjugation Pronunciation Translation
je j'étudie (zhay-too-dee) I study, I am studying
tu tu étudies (too ay-too-dee) you study, you are studying
il/elle/on il/elle/on étudie (eel/el/ohn ay-too-dee) he/she studies, he/she is studying
nous nous étudions (noo zay-too-dyohn) we study, we are studying
vous vous étudiez (voo zay-too-dyay) you study, you are studying
ils/elles ils/elles étudient (eel/el zay-too-dee) they study, they are studying

The conjugation of this verb is the same as the other verbs that follow the pattern for verbs ending in -er. Since this verb fits the normal pattern of verbs ending in -er, we call this a regular -er verb.

Since étudier begins with a vowel, je drops the e and it is replaced with an apostrophe. So it looks like this: j'étudie.

Other Examples of Etudier

Let's get back to that social and learn about the other students studying abroad.

Julie turns to Pauline and asks if she studies a lot:

Tu étudies beaucoup?

Oui, she tells her. J'étudie trop! (Yes, I study too much!)

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