The phonetic evolution of the French language brought about considerable transformations in the Latin verbal endings. In a lot of cases the endings, though written differently, are homophonic and for this reason the verbs are used always with the personal pronouns.
According to the pattern of the infinitive
ending, the verbs fall in 3 groups (conjugations):
-ir, -re, -oir
acheter to buy
parler to speak
punir to punish
fournir to furnish
rendre to render
valoir to be worth
In modern French the development of the 2nd and 3rd conjugation is practically frozen, while the 1st conjugation is permanently expanding by new derivatives. The verbs of the 3rd conjugation are described as irregular, while the first two conjugation include only 5 irregular verbs. The auxiliary an modal verbs pertain to the 3rd conjugation. Note that the verbs of the 2nd conjugation were adopted en masse in English (the verbs in -ish)
There are 4 simple tenses in French (the Present, the Past, the Imperfect and the Future). The compound tenses are constructed with the auxiliary avoir to have and the past passive participle; a few intransitive verbs (as venir to come, aller to go, partir to part, mourir to die etc.) and all the reflexive (pronominal) verbs are conjugated in the compound tenses with être to be; in this French is similar to Italian. Moreover, French uses verbal constructions to express immediate intention (aller to go + infinitive), recent accomplishment (venir to come + infinitive).
French has 5 verbal moods -- indicative, subjunctive, imperative, infinitive and potential (or conditional) mood. As compared with Latin, French lost the Future Imperative, but developed the Past Imperative. The Latin present participles were preserved, while the future ones have only sporadically survived as verbal adjectives (like futur future).
The passive voice is formed analytically with the auxiliary être to be and the past passive participle.
The polite address requires the verb to
be used in the 2nd p. pl.
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