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“Croire” Conjugation in French: You Won’t Believe It!

The French verb croire means “to believe”. It is used to give an opinion, and to talk about your beliefs and thoughts. Whether you’re brushing up on your skills or just starting out learning French, this guide aims to make navigating the croire conjugation a breeze.

As a French learner, you have no doubt already encountered some common irregular verbs such as savoir or connaître. Irregular verbs do not follow one specific rule therefore their conjugations must be memorized by heart. Croire is another frequently used irregular verb. It shares many similarities with the verb penser, for example “je crois que” is used synonymously with “je pense que”. However, its conjugation is closer to that of voir or boire.

Croire Conjugation Present Tense (le présent)

We use the French present tense to describe current actions, habitual activities, universal truths, and near-future events. It’s also used for instructions and when recounting past events in a lively, conversational manner.

Je crois

I believe

Tu crois

You believe

Il/elle/on croit

He/she/it believes

Nous croyons

We believe

Vous croyez

You believe (formal/plural)

Ils/elles croient

They believe

  • Je crois en toi – I believe in you
  • Tu crois à cette histoire? – Do you believe this story?
  • Nous ne croyons pas à l’euthanasie – We don’t believe in euthanasia

Croire Conjugation Imperfect Tense (l’imparfait)

The imparfait is used for ongoing or habitual past actions, background descriptions, and actions without a definite end. It’s employed for setting the scene when telling a story, describing emotions, and talking about what used to happen regularly. The imperfect endings are always the same, no matter the verb. This includes irregular verbs. However, the stem of the verb changes, in the case of the croire conjugation, we use the stem “croy-”.

Je croyais

I used to believe

Tu croyais

You used to believe

Il/elle/on croyait

He/she/it used to believe

Nous croyions

We used to believe

Vous croyiez

You used to believe (formal/plural)

Ils/elles croyaient

They used to believe

  • Quand j’étais enfant, je croyais aux contes de fées. – When I was a child, I used to believe in fairy tales.
  • Elle croyait toujours ce que disait sa grand-mère. – She always used to believe what her grandmother said.
  • Avant tout ça, elles croyaient en la justice. – Before all that, they used to believe in justice.

Croire Conjugation Passé Composé

The French passé composé is used for completed actions in the past, specific events, and any past action with a clear beginning or end. It’s also used for a series of events. The croire conjugation past participle is nice and easy: cru. Pair this with the present tense of the auxiliary verb avoir to form the French passé composé.

The key difference between the two main French past tenses is that the passé composé focuses on specific, completed events, while the imperfect provides context, background, and describes habitual or ongoing actions in the past.

J’ai cru

I believed

Tu as cru

You believed

Il/elle/on a cru

He/she/it believed

Nous avons cru

We believed

Vous avez cru

You believed (formal/plural)

Ils/elles ont cru

They believed

  • Vous avez cru ce qu’il a dit ? – Did you believe what he said?
  • Nous avons cru qu’il réussirait – We believed that he would succeed
  • Ils ont cru à cette histoire incroyable – They believed this incredible story

Croire Conjugation Future Tense (le futur simple)

The French futur simple is used for formal or distant future events, predictions, and promises. To express what will happen in the future, we take the future stem of a verb, which must end in the letter -r, and then add the usual future endings. The future stem for the croire conjugation is croir-.

Je croirai

I will believe

Tu croiras

You will believe

Il/elle croira

He/she/it will believe

Nous croirons

We will believe

Vous croirez

You will believe (formal/plural)

Ils/elles croiront

They will believe

  • Je croirai en toi, quoi qu’il arrive – I will believe in you, no matter what happens
  • Je vous croirai si vous me jurez sur ma vie que c’est vrai – I will believe you if you swear on my life that it’s true
  • Elle ne croira pas aux fantômes tant qu’elle n’aura pas la preuve de leur existence – She won’t believe in ghosts until she has proof of their existence

Croire Conjugation Near Future (le futur proche)

To form the near future tense, conjugate the verb aller in the present tense, then simply add the infinitive of any verb. The futur proche is used for near future events and actions that are about to happen. It conveys immediate plans or intentions.

Je vais croire

I am going to believe

Tu vas croire

You are going to believe

Il/elle va croire

He/she/it is going to believe

Nous allons croire

We are going to believe

Vous allez croire

You are going to believe (formal/plural)

Ils/elles vont croire

They are going to believe

  • Je vais croire que c’est possible jusqu’à ce que cela se produise – I am going to believe it’s possible until it happens
  • Il ne va pas croire ce qu’on vient de voir ! – He isn’t going to believe what we have just seen!
  • Ils vont croire que tu l’as fait exprès – They’re going to think you did it on purpose

Croire Conjugation Pluperfect Tense (le plus-que-parfait)

This tense is used to talk about actions and events in the past, specifically when one thing happened before another. We must conjugate the auxiliary avoir in the imperfect tense, and then add the past participle of any verb, which we have already discovered for the verb croire is “cru”.

J’avais cru

I had believed

Tu avais cru

You had believed

Il/elle/on avait cru

He/she/it had believed

Nous avions cru

We had believed

Vous aviez cru

You had believed (formal/plural)

Ils/elles avaient cru

They had believed

  • Je ne croyais pas qu’elle avait cru à ses mensonges – I couldn’t believe she had believed his lies
  • Elle avait cru à la vie après la mort pendant toute son enfance, puis elle a cessé d’y croire – She had believed in the afterlife all her childhood, and then she stopped believing
  • Nous avions cru à son innocence jusqu’au verdict – We had believed that he was innocent, until the verdict

Croire in the Conditional Mood (le conditionnel présent)

The present conditional is most often used to express a hypothetical action, linked to a condition. It can also be used to soften the tone of a request or a piece of advice. It is formed by adding the endings of the imperfect tense to the stem of the future tense, ending in -r.

Je croirais

I would believe

Tu croirais

You would believe

Il/elle croirait

He/she/it would believe

Nous croirions

We would believe

Vous croiriez

You would believe (formal/plural)

Ils/elles croiraient

They would believe

  • Je te croirais si tu étais honnête plus souvent – I would believe you if you were honest more often
  • Il croirait n’importe quoi ; il est assez crédule – He would believe anything; he’s pretty gullible
  • Nous croirions à cette théorie s’il y avait plus de preuves – We would believe this theory if there were more evidence

Se croire

The reflexive form of the croire conjugation has two different meanings. Firstly, it can mean you have the impression of something, which is not actually true. This is often used for exaggeration or imagery.

For example:

  • On se croirait à l’école maternelle ici – You’d think we were in kindergarten here
  • Je me croyais aux Caraïbes – I felt like I was in the Caribbean

Secondly, it can mean “to think you are” followed by an adjective. For example:

  • Tu te crois drôle ? – Do you think you’re funny?
  • Cet équilibriste se croit invincible – This tightrope walker thinks he’s invincible
  • Vous vous croyez seuls alors qu’en réalité, vous avez les uns et les autres – You think you’re alone when really, you have each other

10 French Expressions about Believing

1. À croire que – Anyone would think that…

Literal translation: To believe that

  • Mon frère a encore renversé sa boisson, à croire qu’il le fait exprès – My brother has spilled his drink again, anyone would think he’s doing it on purpose

2. À en croire… – According to…

Literal translation: To believe it

  • À en croire les commères, la princesse va se marier – According to the gossips, the princess is getting married

3. Croire dur comme fer à quelque chose – To be firmly convinced of something

Literal translation: To believe hard like iron in something

  • Je crois dur comme fer qu’elle n’est pas celle qu’elle prétend être – I’m firmly convinced she’s not who she says she is

4. Croire en sa bonne étoile – To have faith/be optimistic

Literal translation: To believe in one’s good star

  • Je crois en ma bonne étoile que nous passerons au prochain tour – I have faith that we’ll make it to the next round

5. Se croire en pays conquis / se croire en terre conquise – To think you own the place

Literal translation: To believe yourself in conquered country/land

  • Il vient à peine d’arriver et pourtant il se croit en pays conquis – He has only just arrived, yet he thinks he owns the place

6. Être fondé à croireTo have good reason to believe

Literal translation: To be founded to believe

  • Je suis fondé à croire qu’elle a triché – I have good reason to believe she cheated

7. Se croire sorti de la cuisse de Jupiter – To think you are God’s gift

Literal translation: To believe oneself has come out of Jupiter’s thigh

  • Ces gens se croient sortis de la cuisse de jupiter, mais ils ne sont pas meilleurs que nous – Those people think they’re God’s gift, but they’re no better than us

8. Lieu de croireReason to believe

Literal translation: Place of believe

  • Il y a tout lieu de croire que cet homme est malhonnête – There is every reason to believe that this man is dishonest

9. Se croire tout permis – think you can do whatever you like

Literal translation: To believe that

  • Vous devez respecter les règles ici, ne vous croyez pas tout permis ! – You have to follow the rules here, don’t think you can do whatever you like!

10. Faire croire quelque chose à quelqu’un – To lead someone to believe something

Literal translation: To make believe something to someone

  • On m’a fait croire que tous les articles étaient soldés – I was led to believe that all items were on sale

Challenge yourself with Clozemaster

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