Verbs For You, Verbs For Me!

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By Mary Clements

J’aime, Tu aimes, Il aime… Mastering ER verbs in french

One of the topics with which students struggle the most is verb conjugation in French. We get it, there’s so many of them! As you can see from  this funny tik-tok, French does get carried away with conjugations. Fret not, there many rules and tips to help us out and once we learn them, conjugation can become much easier.

But, what do we do if we don’t feel like learning rules? What do I do when my child is too young to even understand what the rules are? This is where repetition and memorization through music and play can come in handy. Most verbs in French have the same ending when they are not conjugated, and they are separated into three groups (ER, IR & RE). Today I will give you tips on how to learn the first group: verbs that will end in ER like: parler, manger, marcher, téléphoner, regarder and many more ! This is the biggest group of verbs in French.

Tip 1: Repetition, repetition, repetition. Alex, one of our tutors, and Mary, both recommend writing down these conjugations several times by hand. This helps our brains make the connections between the verb and the endings so we can nail them the next time we are in class or have a quiz ! Use different colours to help them remember the parts of the verb that stay the same (the root) and the ones that change (the ending). Check out these handy worksheets to practice!

Tip 2: Add rhythm to your learning. When my students struggle to remember the endings to ER Verbs, the song Aimer comes to the rescue. While it uses the verb “aimer” as an example, it provides the endings (and the rhythm) to remember the ending for any other ER verb in French. You can learn the melody and then switch the verb “aimer” for any other of the same group that you may be learning. Can’t remember an ending at the quiz? Sing the song and you will find your way 🙂

Tip 3: Use the verbs in a sentence. Once your child has mastered the conjugations, encourage them to use it in a sentence. You can also go “verb-hunting” while you’re reading. You’d be surprised at how quickly they will find the verbs and get to know them better.

Tip 4: Practice and patience.  We get it, learning conjugations can be hard, so don’t worry if your child doesn’t remember them all on their quiz. Help them observe and learn from their mistakes and, once again, play with them. You’ll be surprised at how fast they can learn 🙂