French for Beginners: Lesson 9 – Regular Verbs Ending in “-er” and Pronunciation Tips

Welcome to Lesson 9, tailored for English speakers. In this comprehensive lesson, we will explore regular verbs ending in “-er,” focusing on their conjugation, pronunciation, elision, and silent letters.


  • Master the conjugation of regular -er verbs in the present tense.
  • Understand the concept of elision with verbs starting with a vowel.
  • Learn key pronunciation tips, including silent letters and plural forms.

1. Conjugation of Regular -er Verbs

Regular -er verbs follow a simple conjugation pattern. Remove the “-er” from the infinitive and add the appropriate endings: -e, -es, -e, -ons, -ez, -ent.

Below is the conjugation of “parler” (to speak) with English translations:

Subject Parler Conjugation English Translation
je parle I speak
tu parles you speak
il / elle / on parle he / she/ it speaks
nous parlons we speak
vous parlez you speak
ils / elles parlent they speak

2. Elision with Verbs Beginning with a Vowel

When a verb beginning with a vowel is preceded by a subject pronoun ending in a vowel, elision is necessary. For example:

  • J’écoute (I listen) instead of “Je écoute.”
  • J’admire (I admire) instead of “Je admire.”

📌 Pronunciation Tips

  • Silent Letters: The final “e” in the singular forms and “ent” in the third person plural are silent. E.g., “Il parle” (eel parl), “Ils parlent” (eel parl).
  • Singular vs. Plural: When a verb starts with a consonant, the singular and plural forms sound similar. With a vowel, the liaison in “Ils/Elles” creates a distinct sound. E.g., “Ils écoutent” (eelz ay-koot).
Subject Écouter Conjugation Pronunciation
j’ écoute j’écoute (zheh-koot)
tu écoutes tu écoutes (too eh-koot)
il / elle / on écoute il/elle/on écoute (eel/el/on eh-koot)
nous écoutons nous écoutons (noo zeh-koot)
vous écoutez vous écoutez (voo zeh-koot)
ils / elles écoutent ils/elles écoutent (eel/el eh-koot)

3. Common -er Verbs

Here’s a table showing the pronunciation of common -er verbs:

Verb Pronunciation
parler (to speak) par-lay
aimer (to like, to love) eh-may
regarder (to watch) ruh-gar-day
jouer (to play) zhoo-ay
travailler (to work) trah-vai-yay
habiter (to live) ah-bee-tay

Practice Exercise

Conjugate the verbs listed in different forms, focusing on pronunciation and elision. For example:

  • “Je regarde un film.” (I watch a movie.)
  • “Nous aimons la musique.” (We love music.)

Pronunciation and Translation Exercise

Translate the following sentences from English to French:

  1. They (m) listen to music.
  2. She lives in a big city.
  3. We study French.


Congratulations on completing Lesson 9! You’ve learned the conjugation of regular -er verbs in French and important aspects of their pronunciation. These skills will significantly aid your communication in French. In the next lesson, we will explore different verb groups.