Irregular Verbs Ending in -oir

Irregular verbs ending in -oir don't really make much sense at first glance. Some of the singular endings of words end in “x,” while others end in “s,” and none of the endings seem to have any inherent logic. With practice, you'll get used to the endings. These verbs tend to be some of the most widely used words in the French language, so you'll get lots of practice with them.

In addition, you can use some of these verbs with an infinitive to create new and complex sentences, expanding immensely your ability to speak French. As you read over the lists, pay attention to the third person plural ending; it is usually formed differently from the other plural conjugations. It is actually more similar to the singular endings of the conjugated verb. Consider the following irregular verbs ending in -oir.

Table 6-20

The Verb Vouloir (to Want, to Wish, to Will)

Singular

Plural

je veux

nous voulons

tu veux

vous voulez

il/elle veut

ils/elles veulent

Table 6-21

The Verb Pouvoir (to Be Able To)

Singular

Plural

je peux

nous pouvons

tu peux

vous pouvez

il/elle peut

ils/elles peuvent

When the verb pouvoir is used with an infinitive verb, it takes on the sense of the English “can,” as in the following examples:

<tgroup cols="2"> <colspec colname="col1" colnum="1" colwidth="50%" colsep="0" rowsep="0" align="left"/> <colspec colname="col2" colnum="2" colwidth="50%" colsep="0" rowsep="0" align="left"/> <tbody> <tr> <td><p><emphasis>Je peux voir</emphasis>.</p></td> <td><p>I can see. I am able to see.</p></td> </tr> <tr> <td><p><emphasis>Nous pouvons y aller</emphasis>.</p></td> <td><p>We can go. We are able to go.</p></td> </tr> <tr> <td><p><emphasis>Ils peuvent payer les billets</emphasis></p></td> <td><p>They can pay for the tickets. They are able to pay for the tickets.</p></td> </tr> </tbody> </tgroup> </table> <div class="npsb"> <h2></h2> <p>The verb <emphasis>devoir</emphasis> can also carry the meaning of “ought” when translated into English; many people use the word “should” to indicate this case, too. Using <emphasis>devoir</emphasis> is almost like saying you “must” do something, but just a little bit softer in meaning. For example, <emphasis>Je dois voir le film</emphasis> can mean “I should see the film,” “I ought to see the film,” or “I have to see the film.”</p> </div> <p><B>Table 6-22</B></p> <table frame="none" width="100%"> <h2>The Verb Voir (to See)</h2> <tgroup cols="2"> <colspec colname="col1" colnum="1" colwidth="50%" colsep="0" rowsep="0" align="left"/> <colspec colname="col2" colnum="2" colwidth="50%" colsep="0" rowsep="0" align="left"/> <tbody> <tr> <td><p><B>Singular</B></p></td> <td><p><B>Plural</B></p></td> </tr> <tr> <td><p><emphasis>je vois</emphasis></p></td> <td><p><emphasis>nous voyons</emphasis></p></td> </tr> <tr> <td><p><emphasis>tu vois</emphasis></p></td> <td><p><emphasis>vous voyez</emphasis></p></td> </tr> <tr> <td><p><emphasis>il/elle voit</emphasis></p></td> <td><p><emphasis>ils/elles voient</emphasis></p></td> </tr> </tbody> </tgroup> </table> <p><B>Table 6-23</B></p> <table frame="none" width="100%"> <h2>The Verb Recevoir (to Receive, to Get)</h2> <tgroup cols="2"> <colspec colname="col1" colnum="1" colwidth="50%" colsep="0" rowsep="0" align="left"/> <colspec colname="col2" colnum="2" colwidth="50%" colsep="0" rowsep="0" align="left"/> <tbody> <tr> <td><p><B>Singular</B></p></td> <td><p><B>Plural</B></p></td> </tr> <tr> <td><p><emphasis>je reçois</emphasis></p></td> <td><p><emphasis>nous recevons</emphasis></p></td> </tr> <tr> <td><p><emphasis>tu reçois</emphasis></p></td> <td><p><emphasis>vous recevez</emphasis></p></td> </tr> <tr> <td><p><emphasis>il/elle reçoit</emphasis></p></td> <td><p><emphasis>ils/elles reçoivent</emphasis></p></td> </tr> </tbody> </tgroup> </table> <p><B>Table 6-24</B></p> <table frame="none" width="100%"> <h2>The Verb Devoir (to Have To, to Owe)</h2> <tgroup cols="2"> <colspec colname="col1" colnum="1" colwidth="50%" colsep="0" rowsep="0" align="left"/> <colspec colname="col2" colnum="2" colwidth="50%" colsep="0" rowsep="0" align="left"/> <tbody> <tr> <td><p><B>Singular</B></p></td> <td><p><B>Plural</B></p></td> </tr> <tr> <td><p><emphasis>je dois</emphasis></p></td> <td><p><emphasis>nous devons</emphasis></p></td> </tr> <tr> <td><p><emphasis>tu dois</emphasis></p></td> <td><p><emphasis>vous devez</emphasis></p></td> </tr> <tr> <td><p><emphasis>il/elle doit</emphasis></p></td> <td><p><emphasis>ils/elles doivent</emphasis></p></td> </tr> </tbody> </tgroup> </table> <p><B>Table 6-25</B></p> <table frame="none" width="100%"> <h2>The Verb Savoir (to Know)</h2> <tgroup cols="2"> <colspec colname="col1" colnum="1" colwidth="50%" colsep="0" rowsep="0" align="left"/> <colspec colname="col2" colnum="2" colwidth="50%" colsep="0" rowsep="0" align="left"/> <tbody> <tr> <td><p><B>Singular</B></p></td> <td><p><B>Plural</B></p></td> </tr> <tr> <td><p><emphasis>je sais</emphasis></p></td> <td><p><emphasis>nous savons</emphasis></p></td> </tr> <tr> <td><p><emphasis>tu sais</emphasis></p></td> <td><p><emphasis>vous savez</emphasis></p></td> </tr> <tr> <td><p><emphasis>il/elle sait</emphasis></p></td> <td><p><emphasis>ils/elles savent</emphasis></p></td> </tr> </tbody> </tgroup> </table> <!--/gc--> <div id="pagination"><ul><li class="prev"><a href="http://www.netplaces.com/french/subject-pronouns-and-forming-present-tense-verbs/irregular-verbs.htm" title="Irregular Verbs">Irregular Verbs</a></li><li class="next"><a href="http://www.netplaces.com/french/subject-pronouns-and-forming-present-tense-verbs/irregular-verbs-ending-in-ir.htm" title="Irregular Verbs Ending in -ir">Irregular Verbs Ending in -ir</a> </li></ul></div></div> <div id="coda"> <div id="rel"><div class="n5">Related Articles</div><ul> <li><a href="http://www.netplaces.com/french/subject-pronouns-and-forming-present-tense-verbs/irregular-verbs-ending-in-oir.htm" zT="18/1YL/Zn"> Irregular Verbs Ending in -oir - French </a></li> <li><a href="http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/latin/qt/latinendingverb.htm" zT="18/1YL/Zn"> Latin Verbs - Endings </a></li> <li><a href="http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/future_2.htm" 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