French Grammar: The Verb [AVOIR] – Basics

French Grammar: The Verb [AVOIR] - Basics

Creative Commons Image via The LEAF Project


French Grammar: The Verb [AVOIR] – Basics
la grammaire française : le verbe [avoir] – les rudiments

The verb AVOIR means “to have”. It shows possession!

The verb AVOIR also is used for many different kinds of expressions in French.


The verb AVOIR means “to have” (I have, you have, he/she has …). It shows possession!

The verb AVOIR is an irregular verb. Search the LEAF lessons for more information on French irregular verbs.

Here are the conjugations of AVOIR in the simple present tense:


j’AI : I have …

tu AS : you (familiar) are …

il A: he / it has …

elle A : she / it has …

on A : one / we / you / people / they have …

nous AVONS : we have …

vous AVEZ : you (formal / plural) have …

ils ONT : they (masculine or mixed) have …

elles ONT : they (feminine) have …

The verb AVOIR is also used in many different kinds of expressions.


J’ai un livre de français.
I have a French book.

Nous avons bientôt un cours d’anglais.
We have an English class soon.

Tu as les devoirs pour aujourd’hui?
Do you (fam.) have the homework for today?

There are also a number of other expressions that use AVOIR to communicate different types of physical and emotional states.


J’ai vingt ans!
I have twenty years!
(I am twenty years old!)

Mon père a soixante ans.
My father has sixty years.
(My father is sixty years old.)

Mes fils ont deux et quatre ans.
My sons have two and four years.
(My sons are two and four years old.)

Mon amie a trente ans.
My friend (fem.) has thirty years.
(My friend -fem- is thirty years old.)


J’ai faim!
I have hunger.
(I am hungry.)

J’ai soif!
I have thirst.
(I am thirsty.)


Nous avons peur.
We have fear.
(We are scared.)

Il a raison.
He has reason.
(He is right.)

Tu as de la chance!
You (fam.) have luck!
(You are lucky!) 

Elles ont beaucoup froid.
They have a lot of cold.
(They are very cold!)

Vous avez chaud?
Do you all have heat?
(Are you all hot?)

The third person singular form of AVOIR is also used in the expression “Il y a” (there is / there are).  This expression always remains singular – it never changes.

Note that AVOIR is an irregular verb. Check out the lessons on irregular verbs for more details.



Vous avez un stylo?
Do you (formal) have a pen?

Oui, j’ai un stylo bleu.
Yes, I have a blue pen.

Tu as une nouvelle voiture?
Do you (fam.) have a new car?

Non, je n’ai pas de nouvelle voiture.  Ma voiture est vieille.
No, I do not have a new car. My car is old.

Est-ce que vous avez des frères ou des soeurs?
Do you (formal) have brothers or sisters?

Oui, j’ai un frère et une soeur.
Yes, I have one brother and one sister.

Nous avons la classe de français aujourd’hui?
Do we have French class today?

Oui, nous avons la classe de français aujourd’hui.
Yes, we have French class today.

Quel âge avez-vous?
How old are you (formal)?

J’ai quarante ans.
I am forty years old.

Quel âge a votre chien?
How old is your dog?

Mon chien a cinq ans.
My dog is five years old.

Avez-vous faim?  Vous voulez manger?
Are you (formal) hungry? Do you want to eat?

Non, je n’ai pas trop faim, merci.
No, I’m not too hungry, thanks.

Votre chien, a-t-il soif?
Is your dog thirsty?

Oui, il a beaucoup soif.
Yes, he is very thirsty.

Vous avez froid?
Are you (formal) cold?

Oui, j’ai beaucoup froid.
Yes, I am very cold.