Arriver – to arrive, happen

Arriving at a French Verb

Arriver - French verb
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The French verb arriver usually means "to arrive" or "to happen." It’s a regular -er verb that requires être as its auxiliary verb in compound tenses and moods.


1) Generally speaking, arriver is equivalent to "to arrive."

Par exemple…

Quand vas-tu arriver ?   When are you going to arrive?
Il est déjà arrivé.   He has already arrived.

2) It can also mean "to be on one’s way"

Par exemple…

Attends, j’arrive !   Wait, I’m on my way!
Tiens, il arrive.   Look, he’s here.

Lesson: J’arrive !

3) And "to happen"

Par exemple…

Qu’est-ce qui arrive ?   What’s happening?
Qu’est-ce qui t’est arrivé ?   What happened to you?

Arriver à

1) with a noun = to reach, get to (literally and figuratively)

Par exemple…

On arrivera au sommet dans une heure.   We’ll reach the top in an hour.
Comment êtes-vous arrivé à ce résultat ?   How did you get this result?

2) with an infinitive = to manage to, succeed in

Par exemple…

Je suis enfin arrivé à lui parler.   I finally managed to talk to him.
Il n’arrive pas à obtenir le permis.   He didn’t succeed in getting the permit.

 Related lessons

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Arriver - to arrive, to happen

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