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French grammar - Irregular -IR verbs - Part I

Irregular -IR verbs - Part I

There are many important -IR verbs that are irregular.

The next few topics will go through these in groups that are irregular in a similar way.

This first group are verbs that end in -MIR, -TIR or -VIR.

For je, tu and il & elle we drop the three-letter endings and add s, s and t.

For nous, vous and ils & elles we drop the -IR and add -ons, -ez and -ent.

Examples of this irregular group are:

dormir - 'to sleep' (-MIR ending)

mentir - 'to lie' (-TIR ending)

partir - 'to leave' (-TIR ending)

sortir - 'to go out' (-MIR ending)

sentir - 'to feel' (-TIR ending)

servir - 'to serve' (-MIR ending)

Examples:
je dors
I sleep

dormir (verb) means 'to sleep'

dormir: drop -mir and add -s je dors

Tu dors très longtemps.
You sleep a very long time.

dormir: drop -mir and add -s tu dors

Le chien - il dort généralement dans la voiture.
The dog - he usually sleeps in the car.

dormir: drop -mir and add -t il dort

Nous dormons sur le lit.
We sleep on the bed.

dormir: drop -ir and add -ons nous dormons

Dormez-vous toujours seul ?
Do you always sleep alone?

dormir: drop -ir and add -ez vous dormez

Elles dorment sous la tente.
They sleep in the tent.

dormir: drop -ir and add -ent elles dorment

tente (f) means 'tent'

je mens
I lie

mentir (verb) means 'to lie'

drop -tir and add -s je mens

Pourquoi mens-tu souvent ?
Why do you often lie?
Chaque fois qu'il parle, il ment.
Whenever he speaks, he lies.

chaque fois que means 'each time that' or 'whenever'

Nous ne mentons pas sur l'accident.
We don't lie about the accident.

mentir sur (verb) means 'to lie about (something)'

Vous nous mentez.
You (formal) are lying to us.
Ils mentent à leurs parents et à leurs professeurs.
They are lying to their parents and teachers.
je sers
I serve

servir (verb) means 'to serve' or 'to be of use' or 'to serve (a purpose)'

drop -vir and add -s je sers

Tu sers de très gros repas !
You (familiar) serve very big meals.
Quand sert-on le thé ?
When do 'they' serve tea? / When is tea served?
Nous servons le thé après le repas.
We serve tea after the meal.
Servez-vous les invités bientôt ?
Are you serving the guests soon?

invité (m) means 'guest'

Mes parents ne servent pas d'alcool aux repas.
My parents do not serve alcohol at meals.

alcool (m) means 'alcohol'

Ça peut encore servir.
It can still be used. / It still might be useful.

Recall thatça is a common way to say 'it' or 'that'