How do you construct the perfect tense for verbs that take avoir?

The perfect tense is used to describe an action or event that occurred in the past. For example, you would use the perfect tense to express the phrase "I played football yesterday"

The perfect tense is constructed with the subject (I, you, she...) followed by an auxiliary verb and then a past participle.

The majority of French verbs take avoir as the past participle. There is a group of 14 verbs that take être as the auxiliary verb, as well as all reflexive verbs (such as se laver).

Constructing the past participle:

For verbs that end in -er take off the er and add é. For example the past participle of jouer is joué.

For verbs that end in -ir take off the ir and add i. For example the past participle of finir is fini.

For verbs that end in -re take off the re and add u. For example the past participle of vendre is vendu.

The auxiliary verb is used in the present tense so for verbs that take avoir the forms are:


Tu as

Il/Elle a

Nous avons

Vous avez

Ils/Elles ont

These forms are then followed by the relevant past participle. 

For example I played football would be translated as J'ai joué au foot. 

More examples:

Il a fini ses devoirs

Ils ont mangé beaucoup de gâteau

Megan P. GCSE Maths tutor, A Level Maths tutor, A Level Further Mathe...

1 year ago

Answered by Megan, a GCSE French tutor with MyTutor

Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist


£18 /hr

Colombe D.

Degree: Business and Management (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered: French, Spanish


“Hi! I am currently a 2nd year Durham University undergraduate in Business and Management. I am French and did a French baccalauréat. I will go on my year abroad next year and will come back for my fourth year in main Durham! I've been...”

MyTutor guarantee

£18 /hr

Sebastian J.

Degree: Music (Bachelors) - Cambridge University

Subjects offered: French, Music+ 2 more

-Personal Statements-

“About me... Hello! I'm Seb, and I'm currently in the final year of my music degree at Cambridge. I've been doing music since I was 6, both performing and studying, so I guess you could say it's something of a lifelong passion... As we...”

£18 /hr

Giusy U.

Degree: Philosophy and Politics with Study Abroad (Bachelors) - Exeter University

Subjects offered: French, Philosophy+ 1 more


“Hello everyone! My name is Giusy Adriana and I have been there. I understand how hard school and exams can be at times andhow frustratining it can be. Whether you are really struggling to reach your goals or simply want to perfect you...”

MyTutor guarantee

About the author

Megan P.

Currently unavailable: no new students

Degree: Maths and French (Bachelors) - Exeter University

Subjects offered: French, Maths+ 1 more

Further Mathematics

“Maths and French student at the University of Exeter, looking to share my enthusiasm and help you to succeed”

MyTutor guarantee

You may also like...

Posts by Megan

How do you construct the perfect tense for verbs that take avoir?

How do you know whether to use the imperfect or perfect tense?

What is differentiation and how is it done?

Other GCSE French questions

Is there an easy way of telling whether a noun is masculine or feminine?

What's the best way to remember vocabulary?

What is the imperfect tense and how do I conjugate it?

How do you form the conditional tense in French?

View GCSE French tutors


We use cookies to improve our service. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss