Perdre: Translation & Conjugation

Instructor: Susan Binkley

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

This lesson will show you how to use the French verb 'perdre', which means 'to lose' in English. We'll look at a common situation where you might hear this word, view the conjugation, and look at example sentences using the verb.

Using the Verb Perdre

Uh-oh. Your friend Robert can't find his backpack and he thinks he left it on the train from Dijon to Paris. So you're at the lost-and-found (objets trouvés) in a Paris train station. While a clerk is looking for the bag, you and your friend Marie try to console Robert.

'Je perds' (pronounced: zhuh pair) 'toujours mon sac-à-dos' (I am always losing my backpack), says Marie.

'Et moi, je perds toujours mes clés' (I always lose my keys), you say. 'Tu perds' (pronounced: too pair) 'toujours tes clés?' (Do you always lose your keys?), you ask Robert.

'Non, mais je perds toujours mes lunettes de soleil', he answers (No, but I always lose my sunglasses).

Marie responds that her roommate Jeanne loses her sunglasses all the time, too:

'Elle perd' (pronounced: el pair) 'toujours ses lunettes de soleil, aussi!'

Did you notice the forms of perdre (pronounced: pair druh) that are used? Perdre is the basic form form of the verb, called the infinitive. When we use a verb with a pronoun such as elle to say 'She loses,' we use the appropriate form, or conjugation: elle perd.

Now, let's take a look at the verb conjugation in the present tense for all the forms.

Forms of Perdre

Here's the conjugation chart for perdre:

Subject Pronoun Perdre Conjugation Pronunciation Translation
je je perds (zhuh pair) I lose, I am losing
tu tu perds (too pair) you lose, you are losing
il/elle/on il/elle/on perd (eel/el/ohn pair) he/she loses, he/she is losing
nous nous perdons (noo pair dohn) we lose, we are losing
vous vous perdez (voo pair day) you lose, you are losing
ils/elles ils/elles perdent (eel/el paired) they lose, they are losing

This verb fits the normal pattern of verbs ending in -re, so we call this a regular -re verb. The conjugation of this verb is the same as the others that follow the pattern for verbs ending in -re, such as vendre.

Other Examples of Perdre

Let's get back to the objets trouvés desk at the train station. Your friend Jeanne comes up and gives you an update on a soccer game that some other friends are playing at a nearby park. Apparently, your friends Paul and Bernard have lost their match:

'Paul et Bernard, ils perdent le match!'

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