French verbs are conventionally divided into three conjugations (conjugaisons) with the following grouping:
Tenses are described under the mood to which they belong, and they are grouped as follows. Other tenses are constructed through the use of an auxiliary verb:
As stand-alone verbs, the conjugation of the two auxiliaries is listed in the table below:
In the present, not only are there stem changes, but the inflections are irregular as well:
In the simple present, not only are there stem changes, but the inflections are irregular as well:
There is no single pattern that is followed by third group verbs, but rather a number of different paradigms. The verb perdre and its endings are frequently presented as an example for the third group conjugations. See the irregular verb section for more details.
The following table shows how the paradigm of an irregular verb is constructed from its principal parts. Note that a few verbs construct the present indicative (especially the singular) differently.
The following table gives principal parts for a number of irregular verbs. There are a number of fair-sized groups of verbs that are conjugated alike; these are listed first. There are some additional irregularities in the present indicative, which are listed below. Nearly all irregularities affect the singular, and are purely issues of spelling. (Stems that are irregular in the sense of being unpredictable by the above rules are given in boldface.)
The following table shows an example paradigm of one of these verbs, recevoir "to receive".
Nine verbs also have an irregular subjunctive stem, used at least for the singular and third plural of the present subjunctive. These verbs can be said to have 11 principal parts, because the subjunctive stem may or may not be used for the first and second plural present subjunctive, the imperative and/or the present participle, in ways that vary from verb to verb.
The following table gives the principal parts for the 11-principal-part verbs. (Stems that are irregular in the sense of being unpredictable by the above rules are given in boldface.)