I'm very confused on exactly when you would use apprendre, or apprends. If I were to say "I'm learning French", would it be: "J'apprendre le français" or "J'apprends le français" or neither?

  • As a general note, many languages have the idea of an "infinitive" form of each verb. This is the "dictionary entry" form, meaning the one that isn't conjugated for present tense, past tense, or whatever. So if you're learning in the present tense, that's not the one you want. P.S. Questions like this, as you just start your French learning, can be asked on the Language Learning Stack Exchange more fruitfully.
    – Luke Sawczak
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 17:50
  • 5
    Where are you learning French? It seems to be a terrible method. Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 13:03
  • An equivalent of verb + -ing would be être en train de + verb(infinitif) (used for something you are actually doing), but J'apprends le Français is better
    – AymDev
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 8:46
  • 1
    For your information, "français" doesn't take a capital letter when it's the language, or an adjective. It takes a capital letter only when it's a noun and a person (un Français, des Françaises...). Same with every country/language of course.
    – Destal
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 13:29
  • 1
    @SimonDéchamps Un petit mot on connotation: "For your information", even though it sounds like it would be neutral, rings of repudiation/overbearing (as if one were adding: "I don't know how you could fail to know this, but...") A neutral equivalent might be: "Note that..." or "Please note that..."
    – Luke Sawczak
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 2:32

3 Answers 3


Apprendre is the infinitive verb so if you think of it as how the verb was born in to the world. apprends is conjugated to je so it would be j'apprends le francais here are the present conjugations for apprendre.


tu apprends
il/elle/on apprend
nous apprenons
vous apprenez
ils/elles apprennent

Apprendre is only the infinitive form of the verb to learn, and since we have extensive conjugations for the verbs, you have to conjugate and say:

J'apprends le français.

J'apprendre le français.

Is incorrect.


The infinitive form in English (as given to foreigners learning it at least) is usually presented as "to X", as in "to learn". And it does correspond a lot to how it's used in sentences - for example, you wouldn't say "I to learn English" and you wouldn't say "J'apprendre le Français", but you would say "I want to learn English", as you would say "je veux apprendre le Français".

So in trying to figure out where you use the infinitive vs. a conjugated form of the verb, looking at where you'd use "to verb" in English would be a decent starting point.


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