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How to Use the French “Manger” Conjugation to Talk about Eating

France is the country that gave us bœuf bourguignon, ratatouille and crème brûlée, not to mention baguettes, croissants and a whole range of other scrumptious pastries and desserts. It’s famous for its delicious cuisine, is home to more Michelin-star restaurants than any other country, and is the birthplace of many world-renowned chefs. When a nation is passionate about gastronomy, it’s vital that you know how to talk about it, and for that, you will need to understand the manger conjugation.

Manger is a regular verb that falls into the first category: -er verbs. This is often thought of as the easiest verb group to learn. If you’ve already come across other group 1 verbs, then you may know that the stem doesn’t change when forming conjugations. However, the exceptions are small spelling modifications which help with pronunciation. “Manger” is one of the verbs that requires a minor alteration to make it sound more fluid, and let’s be honest, more French. This means that the verb stem can be either “mang-” or “mange-”, depending on the letter that follows.

  • When “g” is followed by an “e” or an “i”, it creates a soft sound, like the “s” in “treasure” or the French “je”.
  • When “g” is followed by any other letter, it creates a hard “g” sound, just like the start of the word “game” or the end of the word “thing”.

This is why we leave the “e” at the end of the word when the conjugation requires an ending that would create a hard “g” sound. For example, “nous mangons” doesn’t sound very nice, or very French, so it’s turned into “nous mangeons”.

Manger Conjugation Present Tense (le présent)

While the English language has both the present simple and the present progressive tense, French has just one present tense. You can use the present tense to talk about what you’re eating right now, or things you eat regularly.

Je mange

I eat

Tu manges

You eat

Il/elle/on mange

He/she/it eats

Nous mangeons

We eat

Vous mangez

You eat (formal/plural)

Ils/elles mangent

They eat

When you’re confident talking about eating, you might want to learn the boire conjugation to talk about drinking, too.

  • Tu manges plus d’aliments sucrés ou salés ? – Do you eat more sweet or savory food?
  • Il mange son petit-déjeuner – He’s eating his breakfast
  • Nous mangeons à 20h tous les soirs – We eat at 8 p.m. every night

Manger Conjugation Imperfect Tense (l’imparfait)

To talk about things you used to eat, or to say that you were in the process of eating at a certain time in the past, you need to use the imperfect tense. Take the stem “mange-” or “mang-” and add the usual imperfect endings.

Je mangeais

I used to eat/was eating

Tu mangeais

You used to eat/were eating

Il/elle/on mangeait

He/she/it used to eat/was eating

Nous mangions

We used to eat/were eating

Vous mangiez

You used to eat/were eating (formal/plural)

Ils/elles mangeaient

They used to eat/were eating

  • Je mangeais quand tu m’as appelé – I was eating when you called me
  • Il mangeait des bonbons quand il allait chez sa mamie – He used to eat candy when he went to his Grandma’s house
  • Vous mangiez des légumes à l’école, mais jamais à la maison – You used to eat vegetables at school, but never at home

Manger Conjugation Past Tense (le passé composé)

The French passé composé takes the verb “avoir” and then adds the past participle of the verb in question. When it comes to the first verb group, the past participle is straightforward: we take off the -er and add an “é” to the end of the word.

J’ai mangé

I ate

Tu as mangé

You ate

Il/elle/on a mangé

He/she/it ate

Nous avons mangé

We ate

Vous avez mangé

You ate (formal/plural)

Ils/elles ont mangé

They ate

  • Tu as mangé un paquet entier de céréales, tu m’étonnes que tu ne te sens pas bien – You ate a whole box of cereal, no wonder you don’t feel well
  • Elle a mangé toute son assiette, même les choux de bruxelles ! – She ate everything on her plate, even the Brussels sprouts!
  • Ils ont mangé avant d’aller au restaurant au cas où ils n’aimaient pas les plats – They ate before going to the restaurant in case they didn’t like the dishes

Manger Conjugation Future Tense (le futur simple)

We usually use the simple future tense when talking about the distant future or hypothetical situations in the future. In this tense, each verb stem must end in the letter “r” before adding the future endings. This is easy for the first verb group as the words already end in “r”.

Je mangerai

I will eat

Tu mangeras

You will eat

Il/elle mangera

He/she/it will eat

Nous mangerons

We will eat

Vous mangerez

You will eat (formal/plural)

Ils/elles mangeront

They will eat

  • Je mangerai de la pizza en italie un jour – I will eat pizza in Italy one day
  • Il mangera quand il finira ses devoirs et non pas avant – He will eat when he’s finished his homework, not before
  • Quand je vous invites chez moi, vous mangerez comme des rois – When I invite you to my house, you will eat like kings

Manger Conjugation Near Future (le futur proche)

For situations that are about to take place in the very near future, as well as to show an intention to do something, you should use “le futur proche”, which requires the conjugated verb “aller” paired with an infinitive verb.

Je vais manger

I am going to eat

Tu vas manger

You are going to eat

Il/elle va manger

He/she/it is going to eat

Nous allons manger

We are going to eat

Vous allez manger

You are going to eat (formal/plural)

Ils/elles vont manger

They are going to eat

  • Je vais manger à McDo si tu veux venir ? – I’m going to eat at McDonald’s if you want to come?
  • D’abord, nous allons manger un morceau – First of all, we’re going to have a bite to eat
  • Elles vont manger tout le popcorn avant que le film commence – They’re going to eat all the popcorn before the movie starts

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

The French pluperfect tense is used when you wish to show that one particular action occurred before another action in the past. The pluperfect takes the verb avoir conjugated in the imperfect tense, along with the past participle. In this case, we will use the past participle “mangé” to talk about something we ate before another action took place.

J’avais mangé

I had eaten

Tu avais mangé

You had eaten

Il/elle/on avait mangé

He/she/it had eaten

Nous avions mangé

We had eaten

Vous aviez mangé

You had eaten (formal/plural)

Ils/elles avaient mangé

They had eaten

  • Tu avais mangé le contenu de mon frigo avant mon retour des vacances – You had eaten the contents of my refrigerator before I returned from vacation
  • Elle avait mangé plusieurs huîtres avant de se rendre compte qu’elle était allergique – She had eaten several oysters before realizing she was allergic
  • Vous aviez déjà mangé à Nobu, mais c’était ma première fois – You had already eaten at Nobu, but it was my first time

Manger in the Conditional Mood (le conditionnel présent)

The conditional mood is used when something is unlikely to happen, or only likely to happen if certain conditions are met. Conjugating in this tense is easy if you already know the imperfect tense. That’s right, the conditional endings are the same as the imperfect tense endings. However, the stem is the same as the future stem, ending in the letter “r”, which in this case is the whole verb “manger”.

Je mangerais

I would eat

Tu mangerais

You would eat

Il/elle mangerait

He/she/it would eat

Nous mangerions

We would eat

Vous mangeriez

You would eat (formal/plural)

Ils/elles mangeraient

They would eat

  • Il mangerait toute la nuit si on lui le permettait – He would eat all night long if he was allowed
  • Si vous étiez riche, vous mangeriez du caviar et des truffes – If you were rich, you would eat caviar and truffles
  • S’ils étaient bien élevés, ils ne mangeraient pas avec la bouche ouverte – If they were well-mannered, they wouldn’t eat with their mouths open

Se manger

This reflexive verb can mean “to eat oneself”, but it’s not usually used in the first or second person. Most of the time it’s used in the third person, when it literally translates to “it eats itself”. The more accurate translation is “to be edible” or “to be eaten”. It’s a really useful conjugation to know, as it is extremely common in day-to-day spoken French.

Je me mange

I eat myself

Tu te manges

You eat yourself

Il/elle/on se mange

He/she/it is edible / is eaten

Nous nous mangeons

We eat ourselves

Vous vous mangez

You eat yourselves (formal/plural)

Ils/elles se mangent

They are edible / are eaten

  • Le tartare de bœuf se mange cru – Steak tartare is eaten raw
  • Les bébés ne savent pas ce qui se mange et ce qui ne se mange pas – Babies don’t know what’s edible and what’s inedible.
  • Les fleurs de courgette sont belles, en plus, elles se mangent. – Zucchini flowers are beautiful, what’s more, they’re edible.

Useful Phrases that Use the Manger Conjugation

Seeing as food is a key part of the French way of life, it’s important to have a few helpful phrases under your belt. These commonly used terms will help you understand daily conversations and if you can slip them into conversation, you’re sure to impress the locals.

Une salle à mangerA dining room

Literal translation: Room to eat

  • Nous allons dîner dans la salle à manger ce soir – We’re going to eat in the dining room this evening

Faire à mangerTo cook/to do the cooking

Literal translation: To make to eat

  • Je vais faire à manger pendant que tu fais la vaisselle – I’m going to cook while you do the dishes

Donner à manger To feed / to give food to

Literal translation: To give to eat

  • Elle va donner à manger aux enfants puis elle nous rejoindra – She’s going to feed the children then she’ll join us


Literal translation: Keep to eat

  • Les pâtes sont au fond du garde-manger sur la gauche – The pasta is at the back of the pantry on the left

Note: a “garde-manger” was originally, and can still be used for, a food safe or meat safe, but nowadays it is used more for pantries.

Manger équilibré – To eat a balanced diet

Literal translation: To eat balanced

  • C’est important que les sportifs mangent équilibré – It’s important for sportsmen to eat a balanced diet

Manger un morceau – Have a bite to eat

Literal translation: To eat a piece

  • Il mange un morceau avant son rendez-vous – He’s having a bite to eat before his appointment

Manger à sa faim – Eat your fill

Literal translation: To eat to your hunger

  • C’est un buffet à volonté, tu peux manger à ta faim – It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet, you can eat your fill

Challenge yourself with Clozemaster

Learning the manger 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 forms of the verb manger.

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