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Verbe auxiliaire

French Auxiliary Verbs

An auxiliary verb, also known as a helping verb, is a verb that helps to conjugate the compound tenses/moods. The auxiliary verb is conjugated into a particular tense/mood and followed by the past participle of the main verb.

French has two auxiliary verbs: avoir and être.*

For example
  • Passé composé
       Il a mangé. - He ate.
       Il est parti. - He left.
  • Pluperfect
       Il avait mangé. - He had eaten.
       Il était parti. - He had left.
  • Past conditional
       Il aurait mangé. - He would have eaten.
       Il serait parti. - He would have left.

*Most verbs require avoir as auxiliary; only a few dozen have être as the auxiliary. And a few verbs have different meanings depending on the auxiliary verb.