Lesson 5: Transportation

-uire Verbs

-uire verbs are conjugated irregularly.


French Verb • Present Indicative
conduire to drive
(past participle – conduit)
first personje conduisjeuh cohndweeI drivenous conduisonsnoo cohndweezohwe drive
second persontu conduistoo cohndweeyou drivevous conduisezvoo cohndweezayyou drive
third personil conduiteel cohndweehe drivesils conduisenteel cohndweezthey drive
(masc. or mixed)
elle conduitell cohndweeshe drives
on conduitoh cohndweeone driveselles conduisentell cohndweezthey drive (fem.)

Other -uire Verbs

  • produire – to produce
  • traduire – to translate
  • reduire – to reduce


ouvrirto open
fermerto close

-rir Verbs

These verbs are conjugated irregularly, and normally follow the -er conjugation scheme. A common -rir verb is ouvrir.


  • j’ouvre
  • tu ouvres
  • il ouvre
  • nous ouvrons
  • vous ouvrez
  • ils ouvrent
  • past participle: ouvert

Other Standard -rir verbs

In past participle form, -ir is replaced with -ert for these verbs.

  • couvrir – to cover
  • découvrir – to discover
  • offrir – to offer
  • souffrir – to suffer

-rir Verb Exceptions

Courir – To Run

  • je cours
  • tu cours
  • il court
  • nous courons
  • vous courez
  • ils courent
  • past participle: couru

Mourir – To Die

  • je meurs
  • tu meurs
  • il meurt
  • nous mourons
  • vous mourez
  • ils meurent
  • past participle: mort(e)(s)1

1Mourir is the only -ir verb that takes être as its helping verb in perfect tenses (and therefore agrees with the subject as a past participle in a perfect tense).

Acquérir – To Acquire

  • j’acquiers
  • tu acquiers
  • il acquiert
  • nous acquérons
  • vous acquérez
  • ils acquièrent
  • past participle: acquis

Traffic Signs and Laws

Passé Composé with Être

Most verbs form the passé composé with avoir, however there are a small number of verbs that are always conjugated with être. In a general case, these verbs indicate a change in state or position.

List of Verbs

French Grammar • Transportation
Perfect Past with Être Passé composé avec être
allerJe suis allé au cinéma.I went to the cinema.
venirJe suis venu en France.I came to France.
arriverLe train est arrivé.The train has arrived.
partirElle est partie travailler.She left to go to work.
resterJe suis resté à la maison.I stayed home.
retournerIl est retourné au restaurant.He returned to the restaurant.
tomberJe suis tombé dans la piscine.I fell into the pool.
naîtreJe suis né en octobre.I was born in october.
mourirIl est mort en 1917.He died in 1917.
passerIl est passé devant la maison.It happened in front of the house.
monterJe suis monté au sommet.I climbed to the top.
descendreIl est descendu du train.He got out of the train.
sortirJe suis sorti avec mes amies.I went out with my friends.
entrerJe suis entré dans ma chambre.I entered my room.
rentrerIl est rentré tôt de l’école.He came back early from school.
The verbs that take être can be easily remebered by the acronym MRS. DR VANDERTRAMP:

Moreover, all the pronominal verbs (with se), like se cacher (to hide oneself) or se demander (to wonder), are ALWAYS conjugated with être.

Direct Objects

One must know that these verbs take their conjugated avoir when they are immediately followed by a direct object

  • For Example:
    • Je suis descendu with the direct object “mes bagages”
      • becomes:
    • J’ai descendu mes bagages.
  • Another example:
    • Je suis monté with the direct object “mes bagages”
      • becomes:
    • J’ai monté mes bagages.
  • Yet another example but with ils instead of Je:
    • Ils sont sortis with direct object “leur passeport”
      • becomes:
    • Ils ont sorti leur passeport.

Subject-Past Participle Agreement

When conjugating with être, the past participles of the above verbs must agree with the the subject of a sentence in gender and plurality. Note that there is no agreement if these verbs are conjugated with avoir.

  • If the subject is masculine singular, there is no change in the past participle.
  • If the subject is feminine singular, an -e is added to the past participle.
  • If the subject is masculine plural, an -s is added to the past participle.
  • If the subject is feminine plural, an -es is added to the past participle.
J suis allé(e).Nous sommes allé(e)s.
Tu es allé(e).Vous êtes allé(e)(s).
Il est allé.Ils sont allés.
Elle est allée.Elles sont allées.

Trains and Stations

Taking the Train

The Pronoun Y

Indirect Object Pronoun – to it, to them

The French pronoun y is used to replace an object of a prepositional phrase introduced by à.

  • Je réponds aux (à les) questions. – J’y réponds.
  • I respond to the questions. – I respond to them.

Note that lui and leur, and not y, are used when the object refers to a person or persons.

Replacement of Places – there

The French pronoun y replaces a prepositional phrase referring to a place that begins with any preposition except de (for which en is used).

  • Les hommes vont en France. – Les hommes y vont.
  • The men go to France – The men go there.

Note that en, and not y is used when the preposition of the object is de.


  • Ça y est! – It’s Done!
  • J’y suis! – I get it!
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