The essential guide to French reflexive verbs

A woman with red painted fingernails and wearing a long-sleeved black shirt holds a large mirror at the level of her head, reflecting the very bright blue sky with scattered clouds that we also see all around her.

A reflexive verb is a verb that’s preceded by a reflexive pronoun. These verbs show that someone or something is doing something to/by themself. For instance, Je me réveille means “I wake up.” As you can see, in English we don’t usually use reflexive verbs, although you could say “I wake myself up” for clarification or …


How to use and conjugate the French verb “recevoir”

A girl or woman, whose torso, neck, and arms we see, holds a present wrapped in Christmas paper in her arms.

Recevoir means “to receive” in French. But like many commonly used verbs, it has a few different shades of meaning. Let’s learn more about recevoir! Recevoir conjugation Recevoir is an irregular verb, which means you’ll have to memorize its conjugations. Because the “c” in recevoir must always sound like an “s”, you will need to add a cedilla …


How to Conjugate the Verb pouvoir (can)

view of the Eiffel tower on a sunny day

“Pouvoir” is a powerful verb. Once you know it, you can easily ask people to do something, and express what you can do. Here is how to conjugate and use “pouvoir”. Conjugation of pouvoir (can) I voluntarily chose not to include tenses like “passé simple”, because unless you are interested in French literature, you won’t need …


The ultimate guide to the passé composé (and a handy rule)

Dr and Mrs Vandertrampp

“Please don’t use the passé simple tense in your essay.” This is the first sentence our professor told us, a group of French college students, as we were about to take an exam. “Most French college students don’t know how to use the passé simple properly”, he went on. My professor was right. Most French …


How to use and conjugate the French verb nettoyer

A yellow sponge sits on a soapy oven tray.

Are you one of those people whose house is clean but cluttered, rather than neat and tidy? If so, the French verb nettoyer is for you!   Nettoyer means “to clean” but also has a few more subtle meanings. Let’s learn about this clean-cut verb whose meaning is surprisingly precise. Nettoyer conjugation Nettoyer is an irregular verb …


All about “fuir”, a French verb you don’t need to avoid

A man runs in a field of tall grass or wheat. We see him in the middle ground,the wheat is all around us and at eye level nearly in the foreground.

There’s no need to run away from the French verb fuir! It may look a bit strange, but once you understand its basic meaning, it’s easy to use.  Let’s learn how to conjugate fuir, what it means, and how it differs from its cousin, the verb s’enfuir. Fuir conjugation Fuir is an irregular verb that’s conjugated with …