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Prendre: Meaning & Conjugation

Instructor: Tracey Phelan

Tracey has a master's degree in education and has taught grades 4-12, from beginners to advanced level students in both French and Spanish.

Take a peek at prendre, the verb that means 'to take'! In this lesson, we will learn the conjugation, meaning and usage of the irregular verb, prendre.

Introduction to Prendre

Pirate Pierre likes to take everything!

He meets up with another boat and needs to tell the crew what he's going to take.

Pierre: Je prends de l'argent! (zhuh pron duh lar-john) (I'm taking the money!)

Fifi: Vous prenez mon argent? (voo pren-ay maw-nar-john) (You're taking my money?)

Pierre: Oui, et nous prenons le bateau aussi! (wee ay noo preh-non luh ba-toh aw-see) (Yes, and we're taking the boat too!)

Pierre le Pirate aime prendre le tout (Pirate Pierre likes to take everything)
Pierre the Prendre Pirate

Forms of Prendre

Did you notice that when Pierre talked about himself, there was a 'd' in his verb, but when he talked about himself along with the rest of his plundering pack, the 'd' dropped out? This is because prendre is an irregular verb in its conjugation.

VERB: Prendre (pron-druh) - to take

Subject Pronoun Prendre Conjugation Pronunciation Translation
je je prends zhuh pron I take/am taking
tu tu prends too pron you take/are taking
il/elle/on il/elle/on prend eel/el/ohn pron he/she/one takes/is taking
nous nous prenons noo preh-non we take/are taking
vous vous prenez voo preh-nay you (all) take/are taking
ils/elles ils/elles prennent eel/el pren they take/are taking

This verb is irregular because the je, tu, il/elle/on forms all keep the 'd' from the infinitive prendre, but the nous, vous, and ils/elles forms drop the 'd,' and the ils/elles form even adds an extra 'n'!

You could say that when you're talking about one person, there is a 'd' in the conjugation, but for more than one, no 'd'!

These spelling changes also cause pronunciation changes as well. Note that when the 'd' is present in the je, tu, il/elle/on forms, prend sounds more like 'on,' but without the 'd,' pren has an 'en' sound instead.

Usage of Prendre

Now that we know how to properly conjugate it and say it, let's look at some ways to use the verb prendre besides plundering.

Education

In French just like in English, we 'take' courses and tests.

Pierre prend un cours d'apprendre à conduire un bateau. (Pierre is taking a course in boat-driving)


Pierre prend un examen (Pierre takes an exam)
Exam

Transportation

In French, also like in English, we 'take' cars, boats, buses and trains to travel.

Pierre prend son bateau pour voyager. (Pierre takes his boat to travel)


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