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French grammar - Subject Pronouns and 'to be' - the verb être

Subject Pronouns and 'to be' - the verb être

The French verb être means 'to be'.

Être is its infinitive (or dictionary) form of the verb. But when used in a sentence its form changes it conjugates. How it conjugates depends who or what is "being" - this is to say, it depends on who or what is the subject of the verb.

Below are the present tense conjugations of être with the singular subject pronouns: je - 'I', tu - 'you', il - 'he' and elle - 'she'.

je suis - 'I am'

tu es - 'you are'

il est - 'he is'

elle est - 'she is'

So suis is the je conjugation of the verb être. Likewise, es is the tu conjugation, est is the il or elle conjugation.

The examples below illustrate how the conjugations of the verb être are used. And new vocabulary is also introduced.

je suis
I am

être ⇒ (je) suis - 'I am'

tu es
you are

être ⇒ (tu) es - 'you are'

il est
he is

être ⇒ (il) est - 'he is'

elle est
she is

être ⇒ (elle) est - 'she is'

Je suis ici.
I am here.

ici (adv) means 'here'

Tu es à l'heure.
You are on time.

à l'heure (adj) means 'on time'

Il est en retard.
He is late.

en retard (adj) means 'late'

Elle est en avance.
She is early.

en avance (adj) means 'early'

Je suis loin.
I am far away.

loin (adj) means 'far away'

Il est proche.
He is close.

proche (adj) means 'close'

Elle est là-bas.
She is over there.

là-bas (adv) means 'over there'

Tu es en retard.
You are late.
Je suis d'accord.
I agree. *OR* I am in agreement.

d'accord means 'agree' or 'in agreement'

Tu es d'accord ?
You are in agreement? *OR* Do you agree?

We can ask a question in French by just raising the tone at the end of a sentence. This is called a 'declarative question'

Il est où ?
Where is he?

means 'where'

Note that in French there is a space before the question mark