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Top Tips for French Conjugation Practice and the Resources You Need

When learning a foreign language, it’s vital that you understand how and when to use different verbs. There are not only a variety of different tenses to learn, but also different conjugation rules for each verb group. There are several strategies you can use to work on verbs, so let’s check out the best methods for French conjugation practice while avoiding the most common mistakes.

French Conjugation Practice Techniques

Learn one thing at a time

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make as you study the French language is trying to learn all the tenses at once. Learning French can be overwhelming, once you know the past and present tenses you’re then faced with the pluperfect, the subjunctive and the imperative, which can bewilder even the most inquisitive minds.

Instead of trying to memorize each verb table, just start with one tense. Learn the rules for the verb groups in that tense, then look at the most common irregular verbs, which are être, avoir and aller. Once you feel confident with the first tense, instead of progressing to another subject, take time to practice. That way, your brain won’t be overwhelmed and start to get confused. You can do exercises, watch videos and speak out loud until it’s embedded in your mind. Only then, should you move on to the next tense.

Speak and listen

Another huge mistake made by people learning a second language is studying too much! You may be thinking, “there’s no such thing as studying too much”, but I beg to differ. There is an enormous difference between endlessly studying textbooks and rules, and actually putting into practice the things you’ve learned.

Practicing speaking and conversing with another person is one of the best ways to improve your French, including verb conjugations. I know what you’re thinking, you’re not in France, you don’t have the opportunity to practice in real life. Not knowing any native French speakers is no excuse! Thanks to the internet, you can use language exchange apps and bilingual chat rooms to find speaking partners, for example Tandem and HelloTalk. (check out our post for more French learning apps).

Skip the subtitles

The final mistake that French teachers hear far too often is that students watch TV series and movies with French audio… and English subtitles. If you watch with subtitles in your native language or one that you’re already fluent in, then your brain will automatically pick up that language rather than the French you’re trying to learn. This basically means that you’re wasting your time, as you’ll only pick up on a handful of words over the course of several hours.

That doesn’t mean you should skip French TV altogether. Watching TV and movies is a great way to listen to native French speakers, either with no subtitles at all or with French subtitles. That said, watching in French might make it harder to fully understand the storyline, which is why you can choose a movie you already know, dubbed with French audio, so as not to miss any important parts of the plot. Rewatch it, paying close attention to the verbs and how they’re used. Don’t hesitate to pause and repeat difficult conjugations aloud, copying the actor’s pronunciation and intonation.

If you want to discover French culture, you could instead turn to French cinema, also known as the seventh art. Several cinematic movements came from France, so there are plenty of classic and modern movies to choose from.

How do you learn?

Using generic learning techniques won’t maximize your chances of being a conjugation pro. You need to focus on the way that you like to learn to reach your full potential.

  • Visual learners like to take in information visually, with photos, diagrams, graphs and videos. Flashcards and images will be the best tool to help you retain information, as well as slideshows and videos.
  • Auditory learners process information when it is spoken, and should listen to videos, podcasts and engage in discussions. You can practice conjugation by spelling out words or recording yourself, then playing it back. Auditory learners can also benefit from group lessons and partnered learning.
  • Kinesthetic learners like to move and to act. Physical stimulation of the senses and taking an active role in learning is ideal for kinesthetic learning, and should use gestures or objects as a physical representation of the grammar they’re trying to learn. Games will work best for you, either online or in real life, the more physical the better.
  • The final learning type is reading and writing. If you learn best by reading written words and writing them out in exercises or in your own texts, then you’re in luck when it comes to French conjugation practice. You may not benefit from videos and group discussions, but you have many other options that will help you learn quickly and efficiently. For example, you’re probably fond of note-taking and can use that to your advantage, you can also repeatedly write the verb conjugations and read texts that contain the verbs in context to fully understand their usage.

French Conjugation Practice: Offline Resources

In the age of technology, everybody has access to a plethora of learning resources at their fingertips. There are websites and smartphone apps where you can watch videos, download courses and play games, sometimes for a small fee but often at no cost at all. That said, you don’t have to use technology to practice conjugation, in fact, a good old-fashioned pen and paper can work just fine!


When you were in school, did you ever have to write lines as a punishment? It’s a tedious task to make you understand what you did wrong, so that you don’t do it again. This may sound like a bad thing, but the basic idea is good: repetition helps us to learn. Teachers know the importance of repetition for cognitive development, which is why it’s an essential tool in the classroom. To learn French verbs by heart, you can use any kind of repetition exercise. This may be writing down conjugations repeatedly, or saying them out loud over and over again. Depending on your learning style, you could stand in front of the mirror to speak or record yourself and play it back to increase auditory input.

Look, cover, write, check

Using a simple pen and paper, you can practice conjugations using games and writing exercises. Just one idea is an exercise that you can do by yourself called “look, cover, write, check”. Simply write down the conjugations of one particular verb and tense, read them until you think you’ve memorized them, cover them with a piece of paper then write them down. The final step is to check whether you got them right.

Here’s an example with the verb “être” in the present tense:

Je suis

I am

Tu es

You are

Il/elle est

He/she is

Nous sommes

We are

Vous êtes

You are (formal/plural)

Ils/elles sont

They are

  1. LOOK at the list
  2. COVER it up
  3. WRITE the conjugations
  4. CHECK your answers

Repeat this exercise for any verbs or tenses that you’re struggling with for some quick French conjugation practice.

Keep a journal

When learning conjugation, you might get every answer right on tests or quizzes, but struggle when it comes to formulating your own sentences and deciding on the correct tense yourself. That’s where writing comes in handy.

Take the opportunity whenever you can to write down sentences. The best way to do this is to write in a journal at the end of every day, or even at the end of the week if you’re short on time. Write about what you did, using the past tense, what you’re doing right now, in the present tense, what your plans are for the next few days, weeks or months with the different future tenses, as well as your hopes and dreams, in the conditional tense.

This is a great way to practice all kinds of tenses with a huge variety of verbs based on your everyday actions. You can always check your sentences using an online translator, textbook or verb conjugation table, to see where you’re making mistakes and then avoid repeating them.

Read the newspaper

Whether you take an interest in current affairs, international politics, or you like to indulge in a bit of celebrity gossip, there are magazines and newspapers to suit everyone. If you already take the time to read about important world issues or get up-to-date on the latest pop culture news, then you might as well use that time to improve your French. Reading the French language will help you to use verbs in the right context and start to easily recognize when each tense is used. Reading a foreign language can be challenging, which is why it’s important to read about a subject that you’re genuinely interested in.

Read children’s books

Before you start questioning my sanity, hear me out! If you want to read in French then picking up a copy of the latest detective fiction story might be tempting, but are you ready for that? Each literary genre, from romance novels to true crime books, are written in French using the passé simple. This is a tense that baffles even the brightest brainiacs. The tenses you’ve spent time learning are far less frequently used in literature, and the formality of French writing can be perplexing. This is why I recommend reading children’s books. You can find children’s literature for all different ages and levels.

You don’t necessarily need to start with baby books! There are different genres and difficulty levels so you can find the perfect book for you, but with slightly easier French. If you’re really ready to push the boat out, then try teenage books, such as Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings which you might already be familiar with. Don’t forget to write down any words that you come across that you don’t understand, and look them up in a dictionary later to expand your vocabulary.

French Conjugation Practice: Online Resources


Perfect for visual and auditory learners, this website and mobile application takes a natural approach to learning. With a monthly subscription you can use videos, including music videos, movie trailers and news stories, along with interactive subtitles to help you learn French.


Clozemaster uses the simple concept of gap-fill exercises to help you learn all kinds of words. By focusing on Grammar Challenges such as Irregular Verbs or All Verbs, you can practice French conjugation in thousands of different sentences and contexts. It’s ideal for all kinds of learners thanks to its reading and writing exercises as well as audio features. The game-style learning is fun and can be played for just a few minutes or for a few hours.

Le Conjugueur

French conjugation practice requires one thing above all else: knowledge of the verb conjugations. If you need to quickly check how to conjugate a verb in a certain tense, or want to study the whole conjugation table for one particular verb, then having a conjugation app in your pocket will be a lifesaver. Le Conjugueur app can be used both on and offline, just open the app, search the verb and find the tense you’re looking for. All conjugations are displayed clearly, and there are even some additional explanations and rules.

French Conjugation Practice – Conclusion

There is no one-size-fits-all technique for learning French verb conjugations. If you don’t already know your preferred learning style, then why not try a variety of different methods? You’ll soon find out which way suits you best, and you’ll be formulating complex French sentences in no time!

Learn French Conjugation with Clozemaster

Learning French conjugation might seem daunting at first, but don’t worry, it comes naturally with practice.

Test your skills and see what you’ve learned from this article by playing a selection of sentences with conjugated forms of French verbs.

Sign up here to save your progress and start getting fluent with thousands of French sentences at Clozemaster.

Clozemaster has been designed to help you learn the language in context by filling in the gaps in authentic sentences. With features such as Grammar Challenges, Cloze-Listening, and Cloze-Reading, the app will let you emphasize all the competencies necessary to become fluent in French.

Take your French to the next level. Click here to start practicing with real French sentences!

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