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137. The verb neuter, or intransitive, expresses : 1st, A state of being; as, Je reste, I remain : 2ndly, An action confined to the subject; as, Je cours, I run: 3rdly, An action passing to an object indirectly, that is, when the verb is followed by a dative or other oblique case; as, Il obéit à son père, he is obedient to his father; Cet aliment nuit à la santé, that food is injurious to health.

138. Reflective Verbs. The original purpose of a reflective verb is to denote an action done to one's self; as, Je me coupe,

I cut myself. Tu te prépares,

Thou preparest thyself. Il se montre,

He shows himself. Nous nous chauffons, We warm ourselves. Vous vous lavez,

You wash yourselres (or yourself). Ils s'habillent,

They dress themselves. Frequently, however, a French verb is used reflectively in a figurative seuse : in this case, it is sometimes rendered in English by a passive verb; as, Cette maison se loue trop cher, That house is let too dear. Cette étoffe se rend à bon That cloth is sold cheap.

marché, Cette règle se trouve dans la That rule is found in the grammaire,

grammar. And sometimes it must be rendered in English by a neuter verb; as,

Je me repens, I repent. Je m'abstiens, I abstain.

139. A unipersonal, or impersonal, verb is used in the third person singular only; as, Il pleut, it rains.

Il grèle, it hails.
Il gèle, it freezes. Il faut, it is necessary.
Il neige, it snows. Il sied, it becomes.
Il tonne, it thunders. Il importe, it matters.

Il éclaire, it liglutens. Il y a, there is or are; etc. The terminations of verbs vary according to their moods, tenses, numbers, and persons.


140. A verb has five moods, or modes:

1. The infinitive expresses action or state in an indefinite manner, and without


relation to number or person; as, aller, to go. 2. The indicative affirms; as, Je chante, I sing; J'ai

I loué, I have praised; Je sortirai, I shall go out. 2ndly, interrogates; as, Suis-je heureux ? am I happy?

3. The conditional affirms with a condition; as, J'écrirais si j'avais des plumes, I should write if I had pens. The conditional is also used interrogatively; as, Seriez-vous heureux si vous étiez chez vous ? Would you be happy if you were at home?

4. The imperative commands, exhorts, requests; as, Va, go thou; Allez, go ye; Revenez, return.

5. The subjunctive is so called from its dependence upon, and subordination to, another verb to which it is united by a conjunction (237.); as, Je souhaite que vous soyez I wish you may be happy.

heureux, Il veut que j'écrive,

He wishes that I should write. Je désire que nous parlions I am desirous that we should français,

speak French. Je doute qu'il vienne,

I doubt whether he will come. Permettez que je lise,

Allow me to read.
Je ne crois pas qu'il pleuve, I do not think that it rains.
Croyez-vous qu'il pleuve ? Do


think that it rains ? Il faut que nous fassions des It is necessary that we improgrès,


TENSES, NUMBERS, AND PERSONS. 141. The Tenses express the time. There are three principal tenses, the present, the preterit or past, and the future.

The Simple tenses are expressed by one word ; as, J'écris, I write; J'écrivais, I was writing; J'écrivis, I wrote; J'écrirai, I shall write, etc.

The Compound tenses are so termed because they are formed with the verbs avoir, to have, and étre, to be,

which are then called auxiliary; as, J'ai lu, I have read; Je suis aimé, I am loved, etc.

For the definitions of the various tenses, such as the indicative present, the past indefinite, the imperfect, the pluperfect, the past definite, the past anterior, the

future, the future anterior, and the tenses of the conditional and subjunctive moods, see the Illustrations of Moods and Tenses, given after the Alphabetical list of irregular verbs.

Verbs have two Numbers, the singular, which speaks of one, as L'enfant lit, the child reads; and the plural, which speaks of more than one, as Les enfants lisent, the children read. Each number has three Persons; the first is the person speaking of himself, the second is the person spoken to, the third is the person spoken of; as, Singular. 1st, Je parle; 2d, Tu parles; 3d, Il parle. Plural. 1st, Nous parlons ; 2d, Vous parlez; 3d, Ils parlent.

CONJUGATION OF VERBS. To vary a verb so as to express all its changes of time, mood or mode, number, and person, is to conjugate it.

To conjugate, that is, to assemble all the forms of a verb, to put them, as it were, under one yoke (jugum) or conjugal tie.

142. French verbs are generally divided into four conjugations, which are distinguished by the termination of the infinitive mood : The 1st ends in ER, as, aimer, to love. 2nd IR, agir,

to act. 3rd


apercevoir, to perceive. 4th

RE, – rendre, to render. 143. Verbs are either regular, irregular, or defective.

A verb is regular when it coincides in all its terminations with one of the four conjugations(194.).

It is irregular when it deviates from the rules by which regular verbs are conjugated (194.).

It is defective when it wants some mood, tense, or person.

Avoir and étre, should be learnt first, on account of their utility as auxiliary verbs.

144. Conjugation of the Active or Auxiliary Derb

Avoir, to have.

PRESENT.—Avoir, to have.
Past.–Avoir eu, to have had.

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PRESENT.-Ayant, having.
Past.-Eu, eue, eus, eues, had. Ayant eu, having had.
FUTURE.—Devant avoir, about to have.

Simple Tenses.

Compound Tenses.

I have.

I have had.

J'ai eu,

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* See the definition of the participle given hereafter.

+ The learner is recommended to repeat this third person of the verb, with the indefinite pronoun on or l'on, through all the tenses, as it occurs very frequently in French conversation.

I had.
Tu avais,
Thou hadst.
Il or elle avait,
He or she had.
Nous avions,
We had.
Vous aviez,
You had.
Ils or elles avaient,

J'avais eu,
I had had.
Tu avais eu,
Thou hadst had.
Il or elle avait eu,
He or she had had.
Nous avions eu,
We had had.
Vous aviez eu,
You had had.
Ils or elles avaient eu,
They had had.

They had.


J'eus eu,

Tu eus,


I had.

I had had.

Tu eus eu,
Thou hadst.

Thou hadst had.
Il or elle eut,

Il or elle eut eu,
He or she had.

He or she had had.
Nous eûmes,

Nous eûmes eu,
We had.

We had had.
Vous eûtes,

Vous eûtes eu,
You had.

You had had.
Ils or elles eurent, Ils or elles eurent eu,

They had had.

Past just elapsed.
Je viens d'avoir,

I have just had.
Tu viens d'avoir,

Thou hast just had.
Il, elle, or on vient d'avoir, He, she, or one has just had.
Nous venons d'avoir,

We have just had.
Vous venez d'avoir,

You have just had.
Ils or elles viennent d'avoir, They have just had.
* Pronounce l'avè, tu avè, il avè. (See the NOTE, page 8.)
of Pronounce J'u, tu u, il u, etc.

I Pupils who commit the verbs to memory, may leave out the idiomatic tenses throughout the conjugations, in the course of their first study. It will, however, he advisable for them to learn these tenses immediately after having attained a competent knowledge of all the regular verbs.

They had.

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