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French grammar - To say - the irregular verb dire

To say - the irregular verb dire

The important verb dire means 'to say' or 'to tell' and is a uniquely irregular -RE verb.

It conjugates in the present tense as follows:

je dis - 'I say'

tu dis - 'you (familiar) say'

il & elle dit - 'he/she says'

nous disons - 'we say'

vous dites (highly irregular) - 'you (formal) say' and 'you (plural) say'

ils & elle disent - 'they (male and female) say'

To say 'to talk about (something)' use dire de (quelque chose).

And for 'to say that' use dire que. The subjunctive is not required.

Je dis que je ne peux pas venir ce soir.
I am saying I can't come tonight.
Il te dit « bonjour » - tu ne peux pas l'entendre ?
He is saying 'hello' to you - can't you hear him?
Qu'est-ce que tu dis de ce sujet ?
What do you say about this subject?

sujet (m) means 'subject' or 'toipc'

Il dit que la route est bloquée.
He says the road is blocked.

bloqué (m) means 'blocked'

Nous lui disons tous les jours qu'il doit travailler dur à l’école.
We tell him every day that he has to study hard at school.

dur (adj.adv) means 'hard'

Pourquoi dites-vous ça ?
Why do you say that?
Ils disent qu'il y a des embouteillages sur le périphérique.
They say there are traffic jams on the ring road.

embouteillage (m) means 'traffic jam'

Il dit qu'il se rend compte de son erreur.
He says he realizes his mistake.
Qui leur dit qu'ils peuvent aller sur cette île ?
Who is telling them they can go to this island?

île (f) means 'island'

Il veut dire quelque chose à propos du vol.
He wants to say something about the theft.

vol (m) means 'theft' or 'flight'

Elle dit que nous pouvons commencer.
She says we can start.
Que dites-vous de cette proposition ?
What do you say to this offer?

proposition (f) means 'offer' or 'proposal' or 'proposition'

Qu'est-ce que tu dis de ma cravate ?
What do you say about my tie?
Je me dis souvent que ça va.
I often tell myself that it's okay.
Ça veut dire quoi ?
What does it mean?

A very common why to ask about meaning

vouloir dire means 'to mean'

Il ne faut pas lui dire ça, d'accord ?
Do not tell him that, OK?
Qu'est-ce que voulez-vous dire ?
What do you (formal) mean?
Que veux-tu dire ?
What do you (familiar) mean?
Je veux dire, comment pouvons-nous connaître la vérité ?
I mean, how can we know the truth?

vérité (f) means 'truth'

Ce n'est pas bon - c'est-à-dire, ce ne me va pas.
It's not good - that is to say, it doesn't suit me.

c'est-à-dire means 'that is to say'

Comme on dit - c'est la vie !
As they say - c'est la vie!

Or 'As one says'

Comment dit-on « strange » en français ?
How do you say 'strange' in French?

Or 'How does one say…?' - a common why to ask how to say something.

J'entends dire que les résultats de l'élection sont faux.
I hear that the election results are fake.

entendre dire que means 'to hear that'

élection (f) means 'election'

On entend dire qu'il trompe sa femme.
Rumor has it that he is cheating on (tricking) his wife.

on entend dire que means 'one hears that' or 'the rumor is that'