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French ER Verbs

Below is a walkthrough for memorising the present tenses for ER verbs in French.


We need to fix all ER verb tenses in a scene so we can visualise it when we need to call on it from memory.

I suggest using your local town. Your town will have everything you need in it so use it as a sponge to absorb your vocabulary. Please make sure you have read the foreign language tutorial found here

We also need to associate ER verbs with an image and EAR is the perfect one!
Present tense makes me think of Christmas (presents!!)



So I have my whole ER Present tense scene based around a giant Christmas tree that is on display in my local town. At the top of the Christmas tree is a giant EAR and there is lots of ear wax dripping out from it!! It’s all messy and sticky under that tree!

So when I think of present tense it will remind me of Christmas, then the tree. If it is a verb ending in ER then I will see the giant EAR at the top of it and then my associated ER verb endings.


We now need to find a commonly used ER verb to use as an example.

Let’s try Manger  – To eat


Je mange ----- I eat

Tu manges ----- You eat (singular)

Il mange ----- He eats

Nous mangeons ----- We eat

Vous mangez ----- You eat (plural)



So now we need to set the scene.
Manger – to eat
We need to memorise the Je, Tu, Il, Nous, Vous, Ils part first and this is how:

I would suggest the number shape system for this. That way you have a definite order to follow and it makes it much easier to recall it later on!

1 sounds like nun
2 sounds like shoe
3 sounds like tree
4 sounds like door
5 sounds like hive
6 sounds like sticks

Ok so you get the idea with number rhyme. The nun is going to be associated with the Je, the shoe is going to be associated with the Tu and so on…

Let’s look at that now:

Number Ending

1 sounds like nun
Je e

2 sounds like shoe
Tu es

3 sounds like tree
Il e

4 sounds like door
Nous ons

5 sounds like hive
Vous ez

6 sounds like sticks
Ils ent

So how do we remember which is which? Well when we do this it is best to memorise the endings to the verb also as we will have the whole tense memorised then.

So at the Christmas tree I see the nun standing there. But what is she doing? She is Shouting out JESUS!! But she is saying it funny… Jesus. The nun is shouting out the Je part loudly but the sus softly!
Now we need to incorporate the “e” of the ending of mange (French part of "I" eat) into our nun image.
So I imagine a large Snail coming up to the nun and starts shouting out Je too!! The idea of the snail as an “e” is because the shell of the snail reminds me of an “e” withthe pattern of it.

So now onto Tu –You and the number rhyme is Two Shoe

So just then I see this giant Shoe kick the snail! (this helps to keep the image moving).

I look up at the giant shoe, and can smell the leather off it! Wow it must be brand new! (helps to anchor the image). So I look at the shoe and it spits at me! Making a spit sounds like Tu – try it and see for yourself! I then turn to the shoe and say to it “Was that you, shoe?” And the shoe replies “yES” getting louder after the y. Try doing it as a whisper, it sounds freaky! Another anchor help.

Number 3 is the “Il” linking with number rhyme 3 - tree.
So I start to walk away from the shoe and walk straight into a tree! I look up and notice that instead of a tree trunk it is a giant fat eel! (the eel reminds me of il - French for He He looks at me and says “Do you mind, I am trying to eat” I look down and notice the Eel is using a knife and fork and eating snails!! The snails remind me of “e”, the ending of the verb.

Number 4, door is linked with Nous.
After walking away from the tree I walk to the entrance of a shop near to where the Christmas tree is… But I can’t open the door. Someone has thrown a cowboy lasso to make a noose (Nous)and it has wrapped around my hand! I can’t grab the door handle! But luckily my friend “the Fonz” (from Happy Days TV comedy!! Fonz reminds me of ons) rescues me!

5 is hive and links with vous which reminds me of Poo as in Whinnie the Poo (the bear, check Google if you are unfamiliar).

So I manage to get into the shop and walk straight over to the sweets section. There I see some lovely looking honey coming straight fresh out of the bee hive!! And who better to be eating all the honey than Poo Bear!! But he is jammed inside the bee hive and I ask him how he got in there. He replies “it was EEEEZZZZZZ” (sounds like easy). This lets you know that the ending for Vous verbs is ez.

I walk past Poo Bear and hear a cracking sound… I realise I am standing on lots of sticks (sounds like 6). I look down and see that there are lots of eels (ils in the bunch of sticks too! Eels remind me of Ils. I ask them what on earth they are doing down there and they respond “We are pitching a tent. Go away!”. The ENT of tent lets you know the ending of the verb for Ils.

This method is easy. It lets you memorise the present tense endings very well. But like everything else you need to go over it again and again. I suggest doing it out once, then after half an hour do it again in your head, then an hour later, then when in bed, then in the morning, then when in bed, then once every couple of days. Believe me after a week or so of this it will stick. But whatever you do DO NOT miss going over it on a regular basis. I know what happens as I have done it myself. I say “Ah, I know it, I don’t need to go over it again!”. This is the time when it get's lost in your memory banks!

Happy memorising!

French Word of the Day






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