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Se Souvenir: Definition & Conjugation

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 ''se souvenir'', which means 'to remember' in English. We'll look at a situation where you will see it used, view the conjugation, and learn a few sentences with the verb.

Using the Verb Se Souvenir

What a great year it's been! You're finishing up a year in France on a study abroad program. You and your friends from the group are reminiscing about everything you've seen and done in the past year.

Anne asks if you remember a particular server at a café: 'Tu te souviens (pronounced: too tuh soo-vyehn) de Jean-Luc?'

'Oui, je me souviens (pronounced: zhuh muh soo-vyehn) bien de Jean-Luc!' Yes, I remember Jean-Luc really well!, you reply. And you also remember the delicious crème caramel that you had at that café: 'Et je me souviens de la crème caramel!'

Then you ask Anne and Justin if they remember Versailles: 'Vous vous souvenez (pronounced: voo voo soo-venay) de Versailles?'

'Oui,' Justin responds, 'nous nous souvenons (pronounced: noo noo soo-ven-ohn) bien de Versailles.'

He then adds that Paul really liked visiting Monet's gardens at Giverny and remembers it well: 'Il se souvient (pronounced: eel suh soo-vyehn) de Giverny'.

And Robert and Louis? Anne says that they really liked their great French teacher and remember her well: 'Ils se souviennent (pronounced: eel suh soo-vyenn) bien de Mme Dupuis.'

So much to remember from this great year abroad!

Je me souviens. = I remember.
se souvenir

Did you notice the different uses of se souvenir (pronounced: suh soo-veneer)? Se souvenir is the infinitive form of the verb, or the basic form. 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 remembers:' il se souvient, in this case.

You might also have noticed that after the verb, the word de appeared before what was remembered. This preposition--de--has to be used after the verb and before the noun (or object) that follows. The English verb 'to remember' doesn't really work that way, so you'll need to keep this in mind when using se souvenir in French

Forms of Se Souvenir

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

Subject Pronoun Se Souvenir Conjugation Pronunciation Translation
je je me souviens zhuh muh soo-vyehn I remember
tu tu te souviens too tuh soo-vyehn you remember
il/elle/on il/elle/on se souvient eel/el/ohn suh soo-vyehn he/she remembers
nous nous nous souvenons noo noo soo-ven-ohn we remember
vous vous vous souvenez voo voo soo-ven-ay you remember
ils/elles ils/elles se souviennent eel/el suh soo-vyehnn they remember

The conjugation of se souvenir is what we call irregular because it is not conjugated the same as most other verbs ending in -ir. But it is conjugated similarly to the verb venir ('to come'), which is also considered irregular.

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