French Irregular Verbs Memorization Tools

Valorie Delp
Verb conjugation is not hard.

When it comes to learning French, having some French irregular verbs memorization tools definitely helps. In every language, there are rules and there are exceptions to those rules. Whereas putting the adjective in the wrong place might lead to a funny look, using the wrong form for an irregular verb can lead to a complete communication breakdown! Since verbs are the backbone of sentence structure, it's really important to simply memorize, memorize and memorize. However, you don't have to go it alone--here are a few French irregular verbs memorization tools.

The Most Common French Irregular Verbs: Memorization Tools and Tricks

There are numerous ways that you can memorize irregular verb forms depending on the situation. Most people simply memorize them and as time goes on, they learn to conjugate their verbs correctly (at least most of the time). Here is a list of tips and tricks for French language learners:

Practice Makes Perfect

Those endless worksheets, grammar exercises and homework all pay off when you can construct a whole sentence. Using the language is actually the best way to learn and memorize irregular verbs. Many learners are worried about making a mistake but never fear! Chances are very good that if you approximate even close to what you are trying to say, a Francophone would understand or at least try to understand what you're saying. Think about it this way: have you ever met a foreign exchange student who constructed their sentences a little strangely? Chances are good that no one laughed at them or embarrassed them but instead helped them by correcting their mistake.

Visual Learners

If you find that you pick things up best by seeing them here are a few tricks for you:

  • Write out a conjugation and post it on the fridge or some other place where you are likely to see it.
  • When you are writing sentences, highlight or in some other way mark the irregular verbs used correctly in sentences.
  • Try to find some children's books that have simple sentences so that you can see the verbs in print.

Auditory Learners

If you learn by listening best try these tricks:

  • Find a partner who speaks French a little better than you and is will to help you a little. Listen to how the verb is used in variety of situations.
  • Find a French news source. The more you listen to it, the more you will begin to hear certain phrases and verbs repeated.
  • Speak French as often as possible. This goes for everyone, regardless of learning style, but auditory learners in particular, will find this to be a good method for mastering French irregular verbs.

Kinesthetic Learners

If you have to do it to learn it the absolute best way to learn it is to write it out. Practice writing out the various conjugations and then use them in written sentences. You can also dramatize anything that you're trying to speak--especially when you're first learning. For example, if you want to say I am a student, you can take a finger and point to yourself while saying 'Je suis un étudiant.' Coupling an action like pointing along with a correctly conjugated verb will help to reinforce the idea.

Note Similarities

While irregular verbs don't necessarily follow any pattern, you will notice that there quite a few similarities in their conjugations. For example:

  • Consider the third person plural form of many irregular verbs:

avoir-ils ont
être-ils sont
aller-ils vont

  • Note the second person singular is similar as well:

avoir-tu as
être-tu es

Help! I'm Still Lost!

Okay, so you've practiced and practiced and you're still having trouble or you just need to check and make sure you are right? Thankfully, there are more than a few verb conjugators online to help you in your quest to conjugate your way through the French language!

  • The ARTFL Project--What's handy about this site is not only is there a conjugator into which you can type a verb and have the machine magically spit out conjugations at you, but there's also an English to French dictionary.
  • French has a verb conjucator that includes the verbs in the site's verb encyclopedia--about 1200 in all. While this is small potatoes for anyone who is an advanced student of French, beginners are likely to find this tool very helpful.
  • Verb2Verbe is unique in that you can put the verb in either language and get a screen with full conjugation. Another nifty feature is that you can put the verb in any form. This means that if you see a verb in French, have no idea how to conjugate it and input it as is, you'll discover the entire conjugation for the verb.

Printable Worksheets

Printable worksheets can help you learn and memorize how to use irregular verbs. See the following for practice:

French Irregular Verbs Memorization Tools