Translating Infinitives, Imperatives, and Participles

Traduire les impératifs, infinitifs et participes

Translating impersonal French verb conjugations
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French and English have a number of important differences in verb tenses and moods, which can make translating the various conjugations from one language to the other a bit tricky, as explained in the intro to this lesson: French verb conjugation translations.

Please be sure to keep all of that in mind as you look at the verb donner (to give) conjugated into the impersonal and imperative forms. I can’t list every possible translation, but this should give you a pretty good idea of how all the French and English verb conjugations fit together. For a more in-depth look, click the name of any French verb form for the detailed lesson.


(tu) donne   give
(nous) donnons   let’s give
(vous donnez   give

Past imperative

(tu) aie donné   have given
(nous) ayons donné   let’s have given
(vous ayez donné   have given


The French infinitive donner may be equivalent to

  • to give (English infinitive)
  • give (base form)
  • giving (gerund)

Past infinitive

This French verb form is particularly difficult to attach to a specific English translation; avoir donné is literally "to have given," but is more likely to be translated by giving, having given, about giving ….

Present participle

donnant   giving

Past participle

donné   given, gave

Perfect participle

ayant donné   having given

More about translating French verb conjugations

 Related lessons

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Translating French infinitives and participles

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