Devoir – Pouvoir – Vouloir Conjugation Pattern

Irregular French Verbs

In the present tense, the irregular -ir verbs devoir (to have to), pouvoir (to be able to), and vouloir (to want) are conjugated according to a similar pattern:

1. Like boot verbs, these three verbs have two stems: one for the singular and third person plural conjugations, and another for the nous and vous conjugations.

2. The nous / vous stems are the infinitive minus –oir (dev-, pouv-, and voul-, respectively).

3. The stems for the other four conjugations are doi-, peu-, and veu-, respectively, but

  • For the first and second person singular, the ending for devoir is –s, while it’s –x for the other two verbs, and
  • The third person plural keeps the consonant from the middle of the infinitive.
Endings   Devoir   Pouvoir   Vouloir
-s   je dois
tu dois
       
-x       je peux
tu peux
  je veux
tu veux
-t   il doit   il peut   il veut
-ons   nous devons   nous pouvons   nous voulons
-ez   vous devez   vous pouvez   vous voulez
-ent   ils doivent   ils peuvent   ils veulent

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French verb conjugations

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