Why do you say j'ai mangé instead of j'ai manger?

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    Hi and welcome to French Language. Can you add some explanation of why you'd expect j'ai manger? And some background on your French level would be helpful. If you're just starting out it's a different kind of answer than if you're a French speaker wondering about why the language is like this. – Luke Sawczak Sep 9 '17 at 13:47
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    You are most likely confused by past tense and using devoir. In French there are two verb to express have. One verb is devoir which means a requirement or must. Then you have avoir which is used as an auxiliary verb to compound verb tenses like the passé composé, it is also used as have to mean possesion (I have a dog) – Mason H. Hatfield Sep 9 '17 at 17:30
  • j'ai manger doesn't exist. Very simple. – Lambie Sep 11 '17 at 18:16

I might not be an expert, but just thinking logically (and translating literally): J'ai mangé. (I have eaten) "Mangé" meaning "eaten". But when you say "J'ai manger" it would literally be translated as "I have eat", because "manger" is the infinitive.


That's a very basic grammar concept. The past tense (passé composé) of a verb in -er is être or avoir + the past participle, -é.

  • Je suis allé.
  • J'ai mangé. Etc etc

Note the use of the accent on é. It's there for a reason, too.


You don't say "j'ai mange" mais "j'ai mangé". It is the past participle of "manger". J'ai manger* amounts to saying "I have do".


Because the French language has rules!

"Mangé" = "eaten" (= past participle of "eat") in English. "J'ai" = "I have", as in either physical possession or "I have " in the past.

This implies that "J'ai mangé" = "I have eaten"!

The best way of seeing how wrong "J'ai manger" is to consider its best semi-literal translation which is "I must to eat".

"I must eat" = "Je dois manger" (which also means "I have to eat") so there is no translation of your phrase which makes sense in English!

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