Sourire: Definition & Conjugation

Instructor: Susan Binkley

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

In this lesson, we will learn about the verb ''sourire,'' which means 'to smile' in English. We will look at a common situation where you might hear it, view the conjugation, and learn a few other expressions with the verb.

Using the Verb Sourire

You're at a family reunion ready to give a big smile for the camera, saying, Un grand sourire! (pronounced: uhn grahn soo-reer). Everyone is taking pictures with an appareil-photo (camera) (pronounced: ap aray photo) or a mobile (cell phone) (pronounced: moe beel). Your aunt wants you and your sis to flash 'a big smile!' Your cousin then tells you to smile for her picture by saying, Souris! (pronounced: soo rie). You insist that you are already smiling and tell her, Je souris! (pronounced: zhuh soo rie) ('I am smiling!').

Do you see the verb sourire in these examples? All of these examples use the French verb to smile or sourire (pronounced: soo rear). In French, you don't ask someone to smile for a picture with, 'Say cheese!', like we do in English, even though the French love cheese (fromage; pronounced: fro majh)! Instead, they ask for a smile.


Forms of sourire

Let's take a look at the conjugation of this verb:

VERB: sourire (soo rear)
Subject Pronoun Sourire Conjugation Pronunciation Translation
je je souris (zhuh soo rie) I smile/I am smiling
tu tu souris (too soo rie) you smile, you are smiling
il/elle/on il/elle/on sourit (eel/el/ohn soo rie) he/she/we smile or he/she/we are smiling
nous nous sourions (noo soo rie ohn) we smile, we are smiling
vous vous souriez (voo soo rie ay) you smile, you are smiling
ils/elles ils/elles sourient (eel/el soo rie) they smile, they are smiling

The forms, or conjugation, for this verb pretty much need to be memorized because they don't fit the normal pattern of other verbs ending in -re. We call this an irregular verb.

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