As a follow-up to this question from years ago, I'm wondering how you would say or write in French phrase variations of ci-gît.

In English, the standard phrase on a grave of course is Here lies... but if you wanted to, like perhaps in the context of some piece of writing like a story or comic, you could still have phrases like "Here once lay" or "Here had lain" or "Here would lie" or "Here will lie" - they're perfectly grammatical, and can be used in their proper contexts without sounding strange at all.

Is that possible in French? In English it would be immediately clear you were referencing the stock phrase Here lies, but if in French gésir can't be conjugated into those other tenses, how could you achieve this?

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    I'm afraid I don't quite understand what you are asking. In the question you link to it is explicitly stated gésir is used in the imparfait. Or are you asking what verb French would use in the specific context of someone lying in their grave, in which case the usual verb would be reposer. The standard phrase on a grave is Ici repose..., and reposer can be used in past & future tenses.
    – None
    Commented Oct 24, 2023 at 9:35
  • I think Graffito's comment is exactly the answer I was looking for! If you make that an answer I will accept it. Dictho's is good too but yours is slightly better. Commented Oct 24, 2023 at 23:17

2 Answers 2


Here once lay ... -> Ici gisait...
Here would lie ... -> Ici devrait gésir ...
Here will lie -> Ici va gésir ...

However, besides the expression "ci-gît", gésir is rarely used, and usually replaced by "reposer" ou "être enterré" (be burried).


Gésir est un verbe défectif que l'on rencontre surtout au présent, à l'imparfait et au participe présent (voir : gisant, gisante). On écrirait dont : ci-gisait... ou plutôt, de nos jours, ici reposait... https://www.cnrtl.fr/definition/g%C3%A9sir

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