Voler: Conjugation & Translation

Instructor: Jennifer Chrol

I have a Master's degree in English and French. I love teaching language at all ages and levels.

Here you will learn the two main uses for the verb ''voler'' as well as how to conjugate the verb in the present and past tense. You will also learn some idiomatic uses for the verb.

Introduction to the Verb Voler

The verb voler is a regular -er verb in French that can have two meanings. First it means 'to fly.' This can refer to a bird, a person, a plane, or any other object that can fly through the air. Second, it means 'to steal.' Any type of theft can be described with the word voler. So, what if you are having a conversation with someone who uses voler? Which one do they mean? In all likelihood they would not be saying, 'The bird is stealing the sky.' However, we could say that the bird is stealing the bread. It is important to use context clues to decide if the person is talking about flying or stealing. Both verbs can be used in any tense. Look at the charts below to see the conjugation of voler in the present and past tense.

Voler: Present Tense

When conjugating the verb voler, you follow the regular -er verb pattern.

VERB: voler (vohl-ay) - to fly or to steal

Subject Pronoun Verb Conjugation: Present Pronunciation Translation
je je vole (zhuh vohl) I fly, I steal
tu tu voles (too vohl) you fly, you steal (singular/informal)
il/elle/on il/elle vole (eel/el vohl) he/she flies, he/she steals
nous nous volons (noo vohl-ohn) we fly, we steal
vous vous volez (voo vohl-ay) you fly, you steal (plural/formal)
ils/elles ils/elles volent (eel/el vohl) they fly, they steal

Translation: The owl flies.
fly

Voler: Passé Composé

To conjugate in the passé composé, you use avoir.

VERB: voler (vohl-ay) - to fly or to steal

Subject Pronoun Verb Conjugation: Passé composé Pronunciation Translation
je j'ai volé (zhay vohl-ay) I flew, I stole
tu tu as volé (too ah vohl-ay) you flew, you stole
il/elle/on il/elle a volé (eel/el ah vohl-ay) he/she flew, he/she stole
nous nous avons volé (noo za-vohn vohl-ay) we flew, we stole
vous vous avez volé (voo za-vay vohl-ay) you flew, you stole
ils/elles ils/elles ont volé (eel/el zon vohl-ay) they flew, they stole

Translation: The thief stole the jewelry!
steal

Note that the noun for thief in French is voleur for masculine and voleuse for feminine.

Voler: Imparfait

VERB: voler (vohl-ay) - to fly or to steal

Subject Pronoun Verb Conjugation: Imparfait Pronunciation Translation
je je volais (zhuh vohl-ay) I flew, I stole
tu tu volais (too vohl-ay) you flew, you stole
il/elle/on il/elle volait (eel/el vohl-ay) he/she flew, he/she stole
nous nous volions (noo vohl-ee-ohn) we flew, we stole
vous vous voliez (voo vohl-ee-ay) you flew, you stole
ils/elles ils/ells volaient (eel/el vohl-ay) they flew, they stole

Translation: The airplane flew all through the night.
flying

Uses of Voler

Voler can be used to represent any kind of flying or stealing. It is useful to see examples of the different ways you can use the verb. For example, the same verb is used to say, 'He flies a plane' as you would use to say, 'The plane flies.' It can also be used to describe things moving fast. Here are more examples to help you understand this verb further.

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