Agreement with Etre Verbs

Agreement with Etre Verbs: Understanding the Rules

When it comes to learning French, one of the most important aspects is mastering verb conjugations. Among the most irregular verbs in French are the etre verbs, which are conjugated based on the subject pronoun in order to convey the verb tense, mood, and voice.

However, what many French learners struggle with is understanding the rules around agreement with etre verbs. In this article, we’ll dive in and explore what agreement with etre verbs is, the rules surrounding it, and some helpful tips to keep in mind.

What is agreement with etre verbs?

Agreement with etre verbs, also known as the subject-verb agreement, refers to the agreement of the verb etre with the subject pronoun that precedes it. When conjugating etre verbs, the verb must agree with the subject in gender and number.

Here’s an example to illustrate this concept:

Je suis (I am)

Tu es (You are)

Il/Elle est (He/She is)

Nous sommes (We are)

Vous êtes (You all are)

Ils/Elles sont (They are)

In the examples above, you’ll see that the verb etre is conjugated differently based on the subject pronoun. For example, the verb suis agrees with the subject pronoun je, which is singular and masculine. On the other hand, the verb sont agrees with the subject pronoun ils/elles, which is plural and can be either masculine or feminine.

Rules for agreement with etre verbs

1. Gender agreement: The verb etre must agree in gender with the subject pronoun that precedes it. For example, je suis (I am) and elle est (She is).

2. Number agreement: The verb etre must agree in number with the subject pronoun that precedes it. For example, nous sommes (We are) and ils sont (They are).

3. Inverted subject-verb agreement: When using inversion, which is when the subject pronoun follows the verb, the verb must still agree in gender and number with the subject pronoun. For example, Est-il fatigué? (Is he tired?). In this example, the verb est is conjugated to agree with the masculine singular pronoun il.

Helpful tips for agreement with etre verbs

1. Practice, practice, practice! The more you practice conjugating etre verbs, the easier it will become to remember the rules for agreement.

2. Pay close attention to the subject pronoun that precedes the verb. Remember that the subject will determine how the verb must be conjugated.

3. Use mnemonic devices to help remember the irregular verbs. For example, the acronym “DR & MRS VANDERTRAMP” can be helpful in remembering the most common etre verbs.

Agreement with etre verbs is an important aspect of French grammar to master. By understanding the rules and practicing regularly, you’ll be able to confidently use these verbs in your spoken and written French.