French Verb Voir Conjugation

Instructor: Ada Pouplard

Ada has taught French at Tulane University and hold a master's degree in French Literature

In this lesson, you will learn how to conjugate the irregular verb 'voir,' which means 'to see.' Yes, 'voir' is one of those dreaded French irregular verbs! But have no fear, we will guide you step by step and give you a few tips 'pour y voir plus clair!'

A Few Facts About the Verb Voir

Voir is an Irregular Verb.

In French, there are three groups of verbs. The verbs of the first and second groups are regular, which means they follow a pattern--a regular verb usually keeps the same radical followed by the conjugated endings. Once you know how to conjugate one verb of either of those groups, you can easily conjugate all of the other verbs belonging to that group.

The verbs of the third group are irregular, which basically means that there's no strict pattern that can help you figure out how they're conjugated. They often have multiple radicals. They run wild and free! So you just need to learn them individually. Voir (pronounced vwahr) is one of these irregular verbs, and it means 'to see.'

Voir is a Transitive Verb

This means that, just like the verb 'to see' in English, it can be followed by a direct object.

  • Example: Je vois mon cousin aujourd'hui. (I am seeing my cousin today.)

Now... let's see if we can tame those wild conjugations.

Voir in the Present Tense

In the present tense, voir has two radicals: voi- and voy-.

je vois (zhuh-vwah)
tu vois (tü-vwah)
il/elle/on voit (eel/ehl/on-vwah)
nous voyons (noo-vwah-yon)
vous voyez (voo-vwah-yay)
ils/elles voient (eel/ehl-vwah)
  • Example: Du haut de la tour Eiffel, nous voyons tout Paris. (From the top of the Eiffel Tower, we see all of Paris)

Voir in the Imparfait

The imparfait, or imperfect, tense is simpler: Voir only has one radical, voy-, which is followed by the regular imparfait endings.

je voyais (zhuh-vwah-yay)
tu voyais (tü-vwah-yay)
il/elle/on voyait (eel/ehl/on-vwah-yay)
nous voyions (noo-vwah-yeeon)
vous voyiez (voo-vwah-yay)
ils/elles voyaient (eel/ehl-vwah-yay)
  • Example: Quand nous étions petits, nous voyions notre grand-mère tous les dimanches. (When we were little, we saw our grandmother every Sunday.)

Note the distinction between the first-person plural in the present tense, nous voyons, and the first-person plural in the imperfect, nous voyions, Despite the different spellings, the pronunciation is basically the same (just a tiny bit more emphasis on the ee sound in the imparfait).

Voir in the Passé Composé

In the passé composé, voir is conjugated with the auxiliary avoir followed by the past participle vu.

j' ai vu (zheh-vü)
tu as vu (tü-ah-vü)
il/elle/on a vu (eel/ehl/on-ah-vü)
nous avons vu (noo-ah-von-vü)
vous avez vu (voo-ah-vay-vü)
ils/elles ont vu (eel/ehl-on-vü)
  • Example: Hier, Sophie et Claire ont vu un tigre au zoo. (Yesterday, Sophie and Claire saw a tiger at the zoo.)

Voir in the Future Simple

In the future simple, voir takes on a completely different radical: ver-, which is followed by the regular future simple endings. This radical will come back later in the conditional.

je verrai (zhuh-vay-reh)
tu verras (tü-vay-rah)
il/elle/on verra (eel/ehl/on-vay-rah)
nous verrons (noo-vay-ron)
vous verrez (voo-vay-ray)
ils/elles verront (eel/ehl-vay-ron)
  • Example: Vous verrez vos amis demain soir. (You will see your friends tomorrow.)

Voir in the Conditional

In the conditional, voir takes on the same radical as in the future simple, i.e., ver-.

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