French Irregular Verbs – Pouvoir – Devoir – Vouloir

The French verbs pouvoir, vouloir and devoir are irregular but their conjugations resemble each other. They are important verbs that are often used with infinitives, or to soften commands or suggestions. Take a look below at some sentences with these verbs as well as their conjugation.

Tu dois travailler?- Do you have to work?
Je veux arriver demain matin.- I want to arrive tomorrow morning.
Tu ne peux pas arriver ce soir?- Can’t you arrive this evening?

As an aside note, when I order something in French, whether it is coffee or beer etc… I say ” Je veux prendre un café au lait s’il vous plaît” (I want to take a coffee with milk please.) or Je veux prendre les biere rouge s’il te plaît.” (I will take the red beer please.)

Just remember: Je vous prendre __________ s’il vous plaît. – I will take ________ please?

Pouvoir- to be able to/can
Present Indicative
je peux- I can/am able to
tu peux- you can/are able to
il/elle/ on peut- he/she/ it can/is able to
nous pouvons- we can/ are able to
vous pouvez – you can/ are able to
ils/elles peuvent- they can/ are able to

Passé Composé:
j’ai pu- I could/ was able to
tu as pu- you could/were able to
il/elle/on a pu- he/she/it could/ was able to
nous avons pu- we could/ were able to
vous avez pu- you could/ were able to
ils/elles ont pu- they could/ were able to

Imparfait:
je pouvais- I could/ was able to
tu pouvais- you could/ were able to
il/elle/ on pouvait- he/she/it could/ was able to
nous pouvions- we could/ were able to
vous pouviez- you could/ were able to
ils/elles pouvaient- they could/were able to

Futur Simple:
je pourrai- I will be able to
tu pourras- you will be able to
il/elle/on pourra- he/she/it will be able to
nous pourrons- we will be able to
vous pourrez- you will be able to
ils/elles pourront- they will be able to

Vouloir- to want
Present Indicative
je veux- I want
tu veux- you want
il/elle/on veut- he/she/it wants
nous voulons- we want
vous voulez- you want
ils/elles veulent- they want

Passé Composé:
j’ai voulu- I wanted
tu as voulu- you wanted
il/elle/on a voulu- he/she/ it wanted
nous avons voulions- we wanted
vous avez vouliez- you wanted
ils/elles voulaient- they wanted

Imparfait:
je voulais- I wanted
tu voulais- you wanted
il/elle/on voulait- he/she/ it wanted
nous voulions- we wanted
vous vouliez-you wanted
ils/elles voulaient- they wanted

Futur Simple:
je voudrai- I will want
tu voudras- you will want
il/elle/on voudra- he/she/it will want
nous voudrons- we will want
vous voudrez- you will want
ils/elles vouldront- they will want

Devoir- to must/ to have to/ to be supposed to
Present Indicative
je dois- I must/have to/am supposed to
tu dois- you must/have to/are supposed to
il/elle/on doit- he/she/it must/ has to/ is supposed to
nous devons- we must/ have to/ are supposed to
vous devez- you must/have to/ are supposed to
ils/elles doivent- they must/have to/ are supposed to

Passé Composé:
j’ai dû- I had/ must’ve/ was supposed to be
tu as dû- you had/ must’ve/ were supposed to be
il/elle/on a dû- he/she/it had/must’ve/ was supposed to be
nous avons dû- we had/ must’ve/ were supposed to be
vous avez dû- you had/must’ve/ were supposed to be
ils/elles ont dû- they had/must’ve / were supposed to be

Imparfait:
je devais- I had
tu devais- you had
il/elle/on devait- he/she/it had
nous devions- we had
vous deviez- you had
ils/elles devaient- they had

Futur Simple:
je devrai- I should/ must have/will have
tu devras- you should/ must have/ will have
il/elle/on devra- he/she/it should/ must have/ will have
nous devrons- we should/ must have/ will have
vous devrez- you should/ must have/ will have
ils/elles devront- they should/must have/ will have

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