When to use Le Présent (The Present Tense)

when to use le présent

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In this French grammar lesson we will learn about when to use Le Présent (the present tense).

Sometimes it can be unclear which tense you should use.

For that reason this lesson was created, so that you can better understand when to use Le Présent.

Le Présent is sometimes also called Le Présent de L’indicatif.

In this lesson you will learn about:

  • when to use Le Présent,
  • how Le Présent is used in sentences in French,
  • how Le Présent Anki files can be downloaded.

Please refer to the French A1 Curriculum to get a better overview of French grammar if you are curious about how Le Présent fits in French A1 grammar.

By the end of the lesson you will know all about when to use Le Présent.

Table of Contents

When to use Le Présent: 5 cases

In French there are 5 cases when to use Le Présent.

These 5 cases will be put forward, explained, and examples will be given.

  1. Current actions or states of being

Il pleut.

It’s raining.

In French you can use Le Présent to talk about actions that are ongoing.

In English the present continuous would be used, but this seperate tense does not exist in French.

The fact that it is raining is an action that is currently happening, thus Le Présent is used.

J’ai faim.

I am hungry.

Le Présent is also used when speaking about states of being.

When one is hungry, that is a state of being.

Therefore Le Présent is used.

  1. Actions in the near future

Mon avion part dans une heure.

My plane leaves in an hour.

Je vous vois demain.

I will see you tomorrow.

In French you can use Le Présent to describe something that will happen in the future.

An action can happen in a few seconds, an hour, or even the next day.

In English you need a future tense to do this. In French this is not necessarily the case.

The future tense exist in French as well, but Le Présent can also be used.

  1. Facts

Les vaccins empêchent les gens de contracter des maladies.

Vaccines prevent people from getting diseases.

La terre est ronde.

The earth is round.

As you can see here are two facts.

Le Présent is used to describe these facts.

  1. Habitual Actions

Je fais toujours les courses le samedi.

I always do the shopping on Saturday.

Je joue au football trois fois par semaine.

I play football three times per week.

Always going shopping on a certain date, or playing football a certain amount of times per week are habits.

When speaking about the habits of people Le Présent is used.

  1. Conditions (si clause)

Si vous voulez, vous pouvez me rejoindre demain.

If you want, (then) you can join me tomorrow.

Si elle réussit, elle peut obtenir une augmentation.

If she succeeds, (then) she can get a raise.

In French, one can make a conditional sentence by using a si clause.

A si clause is an “if…then…” clause.

In English the “then” is optional and this has no equivalent in French.

The order of the si clause does not matter.

Vous pouvez me rejoindre demain, si vous voulez.

You can join me tomorrow, if you want.

Even when the order of the sentence is switched the meaning remains the same.

These are the 5 cases when to use Le Présent in French.

Example Sentences with Le Présent

The final section of this lesson on when to use Le Présent contains example sentences so you can see how this is used in practice.

Here are some example sentences that show when to use Le Présent in French.

Je vous vois demain.

I will see you tomorrow.

J’ai faim.

I am hungry.

Je fais toujours les courses le samedi.

I always do the shopping on Saturday.

Je joue au football trois fois par semaine.

I play football three times per week.

Si tu marques le penalty, nous gagnons.

If you score the penalty, (then) we win.

Mon avion part dans une heure.

My plane leaves in an hour.

La terre est ronde.

The earth is round.

Si elle réussit, elle peut obtenir une augmentation.

If she succeeds, (then) she can get a raise.

Si vous voulez, vous pouvez me rejoindre demain.

If you want, (then) you can join me tomorrow.

Anki File for Le Présent

It is important to do the Anki excercises for this lesson, so that you can better remember what you just studied.

By downloading the Anki File for French A1, you can practice every French A1 lesson that is on Language Atlas.

You can also choose to just get the Anki File for French A1 Verbs. This only has the verbs for French A1.

If you don’t know why you should use Anki, or if you don’t know what Anki is, then please click here.

Anki can be downloaded from here.

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