Conjugate -eter and -eler verbs in Le Présent with 'è'

Verbs ending in -ETER and -ELER such as geler, acheter, congeler ... are semi-regular -ER verbs in Présent indicatif, which means that, even though they take the regular -ER endings of Présent indicatif, their spelling and subsequently their pronunciation vary.

The majority of -ETER and -ELER verbs double the T or L in stem-changing conjugations. To practise these verbs, see the lesson Conjugate -eter and -eler verbs in Le Présent - main rule (ll / tt)

However, some verbs follow a different pattern.

Instead of doubling the T or L, the following verbs add an accent è to the first -e (-eter/-eler) of je/tu/il/elle/on/ils/elles conjugations.

For example, GELER (to freeze):

je gèle
tu gèles
il/elle/on gèle
nous gelons
vous gelez
ils/elles gèlent

Note that the nous and vous forms don't change.

Also note that the accent changes the pronunciation: gèle/gèles/gèlent are pronounced [jell], whereas gelons/gelez are [juh-lon / juh-ley]

Here is another example: ACHETER (to buy):

j'achète
tu achètes
il/elle/on achète
nous achetons
vous achetez
ils/elles achètent

Again, the nous and vous forms don't change, and again the accent changes the pronunciation: achète/achètes/achètent are pronounced [achette], whereas achetons/achetez are [achuh-ton / achuh-tey]

This is the complete list of verbs that follow this rule. There are relatively few and some are very rare, so the ones you're most likely to use marked with *:

-ELER:
agneler - to yean / give birth to a lamb
celer - to conceal
* receler - to conceal / to receive, hold stolen goods
ciseler - to chisel
* démanteler - to dismantle / take down
* écarteler - to quarter
s'encasteler - to be hoof bound
* geler - to freeze
* dégeler - to thaw (out)
* congeler - to freeze [something]
* surgeler - to quick-freeze [something]
* marteler - to hammer
* modeler - to model, to mould [US: to mold]
* peler - to peel (off)
- ETER:
* acheter - to buy
* racheter - to buy again, to acquire, to buy back
bégueter - to bleat (goat)
corseter - to corset
crocheter - to pick (a lock), to crochet
fileter - to thread
* fureter - to rummage, to nose about
* haleter - to pant

 

Consider these other examples:

Le détective démantèle des réseaux criminels, et vous les démantelez avec lui.The detective dismantles criminal networks, and you dismantle them with him.

Elles rachètent sa maison, et vous rachetez la leur.They buy her house back and you buy theirs back.

Tu achètes des bananes et nous achetons des tomates.You buy bananas and we buy tomatoes.

La route gèle en hiver.The road freezes in winter.

Je pèle les pommes de terre et vous pelez les pommes.I'm peeling the potatoes and you're peeling the apples.

Ma grand-mère ne congèle jamais les légumes, mais nous, nous congelons tout !My grandma never freezes vegetables, but we freeze everything!

Ma petite sœur furète partout, mais nous, nous ne furetons jamais.My little sister rummages everywhere, but we never rummage about.

To study other -E(-)ER and -É(-)ER verbs, see Conjugate -é(-)er, -e(-)er verbs in Le Présent (except -eter and -eler)

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Examples and resources

Ma petite sœur furète partout, mais nous, nous ne furetons jamais.My little sister rummages everywhere, but we never rummage about.
Tu achètes des bananes et nous achetons des tomates.You buy bananas and we buy tomatoes.
Ma grand-mère ne congèle jamais les légumes, mais nous, nous congelons tout !My grandma never freezes vegetables, but we freeze everything!
Le détective démantèle des réseaux criminels, et vous les démantelez avec lui.The detective dismantles criminal networks, and you dismantle them with him.
Mes amis pèlent tous les étés !My friends' skin peels every summer.
Elles rachètent sa maison, et vous rachetez la leur.They buy her house back and you buy theirs back.
La route gèle en hiver.The road freezes in winter.
Je pèle les pommes de terre et vous pelez les pommes.I'm peeling the potatoes and you're peeling the apples.
Clever stuff underway!