Telephoner Conjugation

Instructor: Susan Binkley

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

In this lesson, we'll learn the French verb 'telephoner.' This word looks a lot like the English word 'telephone.' We'll look at some common situations where you might hear it, view the conjugation, and learn a few sentences with the verb.

Using the Verb Téléphoner

phone

You're planning a huge birthday bash for a friend and have made a long list of people to invite. What an evening (une soirée; pronounciation: swah ray) it's going to be! As you start to plan, you talk to yourself about who you need to call: 'Hmmm…je téléphone' (pronounciation: zjuh tay lay phone) 'à Claire, à Hélène, à Pierre…' Then you realize you need some help spreading the word about the party, so you ask some friends to make some phone calls. You say to Clara, 'Tu téléphones à Jean-Paul et David?' She answers, 'Oui, bien sûr. Je téléphone à Daniel, aussi' ('Yes, of course. I'm calling Daniel, too').

Did you notice the forms of téléphoner that you used? This French verb looks very much like the English equivalent 'to telephone,' although we're more likely to say 'to call.' Téléphoner is the infinitive form of the verb or the basic, generic form. When we use it with a pronoun such as je to say 'I'm calling,' we use the appropriate form or conjugation of the verb: je téléphone.

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

Forms of Téléphoner

Here is the conjugation chart for téléphoner:

VERB: téléphoner (tay lay phone ay)
Subject Pronoun Conjugation Pronunciation Translation
je je téléphone (zhuh tay lay phone) I call, I am calling
tu tu téléphones (too tay lay phone) You call, you are calling
il/elle/on il/elle/on téléphone (eel/el/ohn tay lay phone) he/she call, we call; he/she is calling, we are calling
nous nous téléphonons (noo tay lay phone ohn) we call, we are calling
vous vous téléphonez (voo tay lay phone ay) you call, you are calling
ils/elles ils/elles téléphonent (eel/el tay lay phone) they call, they are calling

The conjugation of this verb is the same as other verbs ending in -er. Since this verb fits the normal pattern of verbs ending in -er, we call this a 'regular' -er verb.

Other Examples of Téléphoner

Let's get back to planning for the soirée (also called la fête; pronunciation: la fett), and look at some more examples of téléphoner.

You suggest to Claire that Pierre and Thomas call some people too, so you say to her, 'Ils téléphonent à Sandrine et Victor.' As for Sandrine, she'll call Diane: 'Elle téléphone à Diane.'

Then you remember you'll also need to make calls to order the food, so you suggest to Claire, 'Téléphonons à la boulangerie' (pronounciation: la boo lahn zhury; 'Let's call the bakery').

You may have noticed that in all of these examples, the verb is followed by à. In French, the preposition à is necessary after the form of téléphoner and before the name of the person being called. In English, we say, 'I'm calling Richard,' but in French, the sentence would look like this: 'Je téléphone à Richard.'

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