French Grammar: Irregular Past Participles

French Grammar: Irregular Past Participles

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French Grammar: Irregular Past Participles
la grammaire française: le participe passé des verbes irréguliers



The past participle is the general equivalent of using [-ED] in English. It can be used in a variety of functions, including compound tenses and as adjectives with the verb ‘ÊTRE’.

Click here to learn about the past participle for regular verbs.

Several commonly used French verbs have irregular past participles.  (Some of these verbs have irregular past participles in English, too!)

atteindre : atteint
to reach / to attain : reached / attained

avoir : eu
to have : had

boire : bu
to drink : drank

comprendre : compris
to understand : understood

conduire : conduit
to drive : drove

connaître : connu
to know : knew

construire : construit
to build : built

courir : couru
to run : ran

craindre : craint
to be afraid of (something) : was afraid of (something)

croire : cru
to believe : believed

cuire : cuit
to cook : cooked

détruire : détruit
to destroy : destroyed

devoir :
to have to / ought to / must / to owe : had to / owed

dire : dit
to say / to tell : said / told

écrire : écrit
to write : wrote

être : été
to be : was

faire : fait
to do / to make : did / made

falloir : fallu
to have to / to need to / must : had to / needed to

lire : lu
to read : read

mourir : mort
to die : died

mettre : mis
to put / to place : put / placed

naître :
to be born : was born

offrir : offert
to offer : offered

ouvrir : ouvert
to open : opened

paraître : paru
to appear / to seem : appeared / seemed

peindre : peint
to paint : painted

plaire : plu
to please : pleased

pleuvoir : plu
to rain : rained

pouvoir : pu
to be able / can : was able / could

prendre : pris
to take : took

produire : produit
to produce : produced

recevoir : reçu
to receive : received

réduire : réduit
to reduce : reduced

rire : ri
to laugh : laughed

savoir : su
to know (facts / information) : knew

souffrir : souffert
to suffer : suffered

suivre : suivi
to follow : followed

tenir : tenu
to hold : held

venir : venu
to come : came

vivre : vécu
to live : lived

voir : vu
to see : saw

vouloir : voulu
to want : wanted

Verbs derived from irregular verbs have the same past participle ending as the irregular verb from which they are derived.


ouvrir (to open) : ouvert (opened) –> couvrir (to cover) : couvert (covered) –> découvrir (to discover) : découvert (discovered)

prendre (to take) : pris (taken) –> surprendre (to surprise) : surpris (surprised)

rire (to laugh) : ri –> sourire (to smile) : souri (smiled)

venir (to come) : venu (came) –> revenir (to come back) : revenu (came back)

When a past participle is used as an adjective with the verb ÊTRE, its ending follows the same rules for agreement as other adjectives – that is, it must agree in number (singular or plural) and gender (masculine or feminine) with the noun it describes.

Compare these two sentences:

Le message est écrit.
The message is written. (“message” is singular and masculine.)


Les notes sont écrites.
The notes are written. (“notes” is plural and feminine.)


J’ai déjà lu ce livre.
I  already read that book.

Ils ont conduit très vite.
They (masculine) drove very fast.

La porte est ouverte.
The door is open.

Nous avons mis les clés sur la table.
We put the keys on the table.

Elle a bu un verre d’eau.
She drank a glass of water.

Les devoirs sont faits.
The homework is done.

Mon chien est mort l’année passée.
My dog died last year.